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Top Ten List of Most Dangerous Toys of 2017

12-13-17    

Safety word

In the frenzy of shopping for Christmas gifts, remember to think about child safety. Don’t assume that a toy is safe just because it is on the toy store shelves. There are a range of popular toys that can seriously injure or even kill children.

There are thousands of avoidable toy-related injuries each year. The toy industry does not always put children’s safety before profits.

Every year before Christmas, a non-profit organization known as the World Against Toys Causing Harm (W.A.T.C.H.) compiles a list the most dangerous toys on the market based on a review of the most recent childhood injury and fatality statistics.

Their top ten most hazardous toys for 2017 are:

1. Fidget spinners contain small parts that can be a choking hazard to children

2. Pull Along Pony, which has a 19-inch cord, raises concerns of strangulation in children of all ages

3. Heel Wheels are strapped to kids’ shoes as roller skates, but pose a burn risk because they include ‘real sparking action’.

4. Slackline, a toy meant to hang between tow trees, can lead to severe injury and death.

5. The Wonder Woman sword could potentially cause blunt-force and bodily injuries.

6. Itty Bittys Baby Stacking Toy includes small and larger rings that pose a risk of strangulation and suffocation.

7. The Oval Xylophone includes a wooden stick that may cause bodily injury.

8. ‘Zombie Strike’ crossbow raises the risk of eye and face injuries with its pressurized pull back lever.

9. The Spider-Man drone includes multiple rotating blades that can lead to eye and other bodily injuries.

10. Brianna Babydoll is a potential choking hazard as it includes small accessories.


Avoid Common Hunting Injuries—Take a Safety Course

09-04-17    

Almost one half of hunting related injuries occur during the short gun deer hunting season. A wide variety of injuries occur during hunting activities. While many are minor, serious injury with potential long-term disability or even death may result.

The most common hunting injuries are:

  1. Tree stand injuries
  2. Knife or arrow penetration
  3. Misfire/shooting accidents
  4. Slips and falls
  5. Weapon malfunction including blocked barrels, wrong ammunition, gun wear, bad arrows, unclean guns
  6. Overexertion/hypothermia
  7. Animal related injuries

The good news is that hunting accidents are one of the few categories of fatal accidents that have been in decline over the past two decades. Mandatory Hunter Safety Classes are credited for this trend.

Most states DNR’s offer hunter safety courses during late summer and early fall prior to the start of hunting seasons. Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources offers both instructor led and online courses for adults and a home study course for kids 12 and under. Click here to find the right course for you and your family.

Volunteer instructors schedule the instructor led courses, which usually are completed in a weekend. There are also trapper education courses. Once you complete a course, you can get certified by passing a test. The courses are free and the certification cost is $15. Learn when and where it is legal to hunt the game you want, hunting safety, and the safe handling of firearms.

Even the most experienced hunter can learn something new at one of these courses!


Don’t be a Statistic: Follow These Best Tree Stand Safety Practices

08-29-17    

One out of three hunters will fall from a tree stand in his or her hunting career. Tree stands are popular because they are an fun and effective way to hunt, but every year, hunters are seriously injured and killed from tree stand falls. Follow these basic safety tips to stay safe during the hunting season:

  • The Ohio Department of Natural Resources recommends a Full Body Safety Harness (FBSH) and a climbing safety strap whenever your feet leave the ground.
  • Take a free tree stand safety course online.It only takes 15 minutes and it meets industry standards recognized by Treestand Manufacturer’s Association (TMA). Tree stand safety has evolved over the years-stay on top of best practices.
  • Do not use a single-strap or waist-type harness.  These were once considered safe, but they can cause strangulation in the event of a fall.
  • Most accidents occur when climbing up or down from a tree stand so always use a climbing strap and never climb with anything in your hands. Instead, use a haul line to raise and lower equipment.
  • Inspect your tree stand and harness for damage prior to each use. If a fall occurs, the harness should be replaced.
  • Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission for recalls on your old tree stand or safety equipment.
  • Always carry a cell phone or other means of emergency communication while out on a hunt, and let someone know the location where you will be hunting, and when you plan to return.

A Real Lifesaver: Choosing the Right Life Jacket for You

06-30-17    

Two people wearing life jackets in a kayak

According to the Ohio Division of State Parks and Watercraft, of the twelve boating-related fatalities which occurred in the state throughout 2016, eleven victims were found to not be wearing a personal floatation device. While floatation devices can be a nuisance with bulky padding and constricting straps, the fact remains, they can save you from drowning. Life jackets have long been the most viable, safe, and cost-effective floatation device available, and for personal watercraft riders, water-skiers, and children under the age of 10 on small vessels, Ohio law requires that life jackets be worn at all times. But do not despair-modern technology has offered up a breadth of alternatives to the traditional, cumbersome jacket model. Below are the important specs for all the major types, as well a few tips for putting your prospective purchase to the test:

Pick your Type:

Type I: Offshore Life Jacket

Pros: Extremely durable and highly buoyant, Type I jackets are intended for rough or otherwise intractable waters where rescue may be delayed. Also, they are designed to help unconscious wearers to float on their backs.

Cons: Cumbersome, not comfortable to wear for long periods of time

Type II: Near Shore Buoyant Vest

Pros: Sufficient buoyancy to support most boaters’ needs, especially in commonly-trafficked, relatively tame conditions where rescue will be expedient. Many Type II jackets also help unconscious wearers to back float.

Cons: While less cumbersome that Type I, Type II jackets are not meant to endure rough conditions or prolonged floating. Also, some models do not support unconscious wearers.

Type III – Flotation Aid

Pros: Lightweight, flexible and breathable

Cons: Most do not help unconscious floaters; not intended for inclement conditions.

Pick Your Style:

Inherently Buoyant

Pros: Require little to no maintenance, always performance-ready, approved for wearers of all ages

Cons: Less comfortable, occupy more space than alternatives

Inflatable

Pros: Depending on the model, Inflatable jackets are either meant to be filled manually or to inflate automatically upon contact with water. This feature makes them extremely compact and space-efficient.

Cons: Some, particularly self-inflated models, require assembly on the part of the wearer and are thereby more prone to malfunction. For this reason, they are forbidden from use on children and are not recommended for unskilled swimmers.

Hybrid

Pros: This alternative is meant to combine the safety and reliability of inherently buoyant models with the comfort and discretion of the inflatables. Their enhanced sleekness makes them an easy adjustment for reluctant jacket-wearers.

Cons: While they are available in child sizes, frequent maintenance checks are necessary to ensure their effectiveness.

Guarantee Your Fit

Even if a jacket is Coast Guard approved, failure to fit the device properly to one’s body can be just as dangerous as not wearing one at all, particularly in the case of small children wearing oversized jackets. There is an easy test to help determine whether a device is right for you: After inspecting the label to ensure the jacket is appropriate for your weight, properly secure all buckles so the garment fits snugly. Have another person pull lightly at the top of the arm openings as you hold your arms over your head. If the jacket bunches up over your face, obstructing your vision or breathing in any way, find a smaller size.


Staying Safe on the Water: Courses for Novice and Experienced Boaters

06-20-17    

two kids wearing life jackets in water

Whether you are a novice boater or someone who has been on the water for years, you can surely learn something new from the Power Squadron’s Safe Boating Courses. The US Power Squadrons offer online and classroom courses and seminars for both novice and experienced boaters on a variety of topics-from basic seamanship and boat handling to boat systems maintenance to piloting and navigation. The two-hour seminars focus on a range of skills, and best of all, you can mix and match the courses to suit your needs. There are also courses for more comprehensive and in-depth, building a natural progression of knowledge. The courses typically run between 6 and 8 weeks.

Certifications

The Boat Operator Certification (BOC) Program certifies USPS members at various levels of proficiency.Each level requires achievement of prior levels, completion of seminars, and the demonstration of essential skills on the water.The skilled certifications are conducted by qualified certifiers from the USPS. Certifications may save you money on insurance premiums and are a great way to establish your boating credentials if you want to run a charter.

Mansfield’s Power Squadron

Our local power squadron is an active member in District Seven of the United State Power Squadron. The fraternal boating club offers boating classes to the public, conducts free safety vessel checks for boaters, and promotes safe boating in every way possible. The local club is offering America’s Boating Course and advanced courses in the classroom beginning in September 2017.

Boating Safety for Kids

The Spirit of America offers youth education programs for middle school aged kids. Blending the fun of safe boating with educational opportunities, the unique program provides participants experiential learning on the water. There are summer programs right here in Mansfield the week of July 24, 2017 at the Mansfield Sailing Club on Clear Fork Lake for children in grades 6-8. Students will receive hands on instruction in power boats, sail boats, canoes, kayaks, paddle boards and personal watercraft after completing the Ohio Boating Education course. Cost of the program is $50.00.

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