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Safety tips for folks of all ages

Here's some injury-related news gleaned over the past few months:

Mattress risks

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued warnings on several companies that claim to offer baby mattresses that prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The companies in question claim on their Web sites that parents can even put the babies to sleep on their stomachs using their products.

Safety for home offices

After an initial flap in the press, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has affirmed that it will not be inspecting home offices for violations of health and safety standards, nor does it expect employers to attempt to conduct home inspections.

Hazardous products via auction Web sites

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has taken steps to make it easier for consumers to protect themselves from dangerous products being sold online. Online auction giants like eBay and will link to CPSC's Web site and prominently post guidance for consumers to help them get information about recalled products. The focus of the initiative is tools, exercise equipment, household items and children's products, including toys.

Recall of infant swings

Graco Children's Products has provided new safety restraints for about 7 million infant swings after six deaths and many fractures, concussions and entrapments. The injuries occurred when parts were missing or the restraints were not used and infants slid down in the seats, becoming tangled in the restraints. The restraint systems on the older swings consisted of only a waist belt and a hinged or removable tray that served as a restraint. Graco has offered a free new safety restraint, including a buckle that assures the crotch strap is used each time the waist belt is buckled, so that infants are securely fastened into the swings.

Impulsive children have more injuries

The Center for the Advancement of Health describes a study in which 59 children were evaluated at ages 33 months, 46 months and again at 6 years. A standard battery of tests assessed inhibitory control and extroversion. At 6 years of age, those who scored high on the latter and low on the former overestimated their physical abilities and experienced more injuries requiring medical attention. The conclusion is that injury-prevention programs should target these children, but it fails to suggest what should be done.

Preventing falls in senior citizens

The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control has recently released suggestions for preventing fall injuries among senior citizens. Suggestions range from placing phones where they can be reached after a fall to the removal of throw rugs and objects on the floor, wearing sturdy shoes, improving lighting and placement of cords and wires, and using non-slip mats in tubs and showers.

Alton Thygerson, professor of health sciences at Brigham Young University, is the National Safety Council's first aid and CPR author and technical consultant. For more information, the National Safety Council First Aid Handbook by Thygerson is available in local bookstores.