Thick Winter Coats Can Make Car Seats Unsafe

You want the best for your child. You don’t want them to be cold so you bundle them up to keep them warm (Reminds me of the definition of a sweater… something you have to put on when Mom is cold!).

That’s all fine and good when they’re playing outside but when it comes time to put them in their car seat, those extra layers could present a safety hazard.

The harnesses on a car seat is designed to function when it is tight up against your little ones’ body. Anything, including that nice thick down coat, that sits between the harness and your child’s body can hinder the proper functioning of the car seat.

Watch the video from to learn more


Fall is the Time to do a Safety Check on your Vehicle

A little maintenance on your car now can make a huge difference when that first cold spell or snow storm hits. It can also save you a lot of money.

Here are some things you need to check and take care of it repairs and maintenance is needed:

  1. Check the brakes
    You should inspect your brakes at least once a year; more often if you tend to hit the brake pedal a lot and hard. Some of the warnings signs you need to pay attention to are mushy pedal feel, squeaking noises when you push on the brake pedal,  brake warning light coming on and the car pulling to one side when you apply the brakes.
  2. Check the Tires
    Worn tires aren’t going to give you the traction you need on ice or snow. Make sure that the tread on the tire is good enough by putting a penny in the groove. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace the tire. Check for uneven wear and get an alignment if necessary. Check the tire pressure regularly and get your tires rotated every 6,000 miles to save your shock absorbers.
  3. Check the Windshield Wipers
    You’ll know when your windshield wipers need to be replaced because of the streaks on your window or when an inspection shows cracks or tears. Also make sure you check your windshield fluid regularly. Use only washer fluid as water will freeze in cold weather and be useless.
  4. Check the Battery
    That first cold morning isn’t a good time to find out that your battery needs to be replaced.  Check the battery terminals, they should be clean and free of corrosion
  5. Check the Headlights
    There has been a lot of debate about when you should turn your headlights on but studies have shown that your vehicle is more visible, even during the day, when your lights are on so make it a rule to turn them on when you start the car regardless of the weather. Also make sure that your headlights are properly aimed. Incorrectly aimed headlights not only create blind spots for you, as the driver but can also blind other drivers.

All of these checks take very little time but they can save you a lot of time and money later. Regular maintenance can save you from having to pay for costly repairs down the line and also keep you and your loved ones safe throughout the winter.

Ice, Snow and Sleet Safety


With winter on the way, here are a few reminders concerning safely walking in ice, snow and sleet…

Walking on Ice… and other slippery surfaces

  • No matter how well the ice & snow are removed from campus streets & sidewalks, people will encounter slippery surfaces when walking outdoors in the winter.
  • Many cold weather injuries are the result of falls on ice-covered streets and sidewalks.
  • Getting around in icy conditions calls for planning, caution, and a little common sense.

What to Wear

  • Dress warmly and wear boots with non-skid soles. (Avoid plastic and leather soles.)
  • Wear a bright scarf or hat or reflective gear so drivers can see you.
  • Keep warm, but make sure you can hear what’s going on around you.
  • Whatever you wear, make sure it doesn’t block your vision or make it hard for you to hear traffic.
  • During the day, wear sunglasses to help you see better and avoid hazards.

How to Walk

  • Plan ahead and give yourself enough time.
  • When walking on steps, always use the handrailings and plant your feet firmly on each step.
  • When walking on an icy or snow-covered walkway, take short steps and walk at a slower pace so you can react quickly to a change in traction.
  • Bending your knees a little and taking slower and shorter steps increases traction and can greatly reduce your chances of falling.
  • It also helps to stop occasionally to break momentum.
  • Approach cleared streets & sidewalks with caution. Look out for “black ice.”
  • Dew or water vapor can freeze on cold surfaces, forming an extra-thin, nearly invisible layer of ice that can look like a wet spot on the pavement.
  • It can happen early in the morning or in areas shaded from the sun.
  • A heavy backpack or other load can challenge your sense of balance.
  • Try not to carry too much—you need to leave your hands and arms free to better balance yourself.
  • Be prepared to fall and try to avoid using your arms to break your fall.
  • If you fall backward, make a conscious effort to tuck your chin so your head won’t hit the ground with full force.
  • When entering a building, remove as much snow and water from your boots as you can.
  • Notice that floors and stairs may be wet & slippery—walk carefully.
  • Use special care when entering and exiting vehicles. Use the vehicle for support.

Where to Walk

  • Walk on sidewalks if possible.
  • If sidewalks are covered with snow & ice, one option is to walk along their grassy edges for traction.
  • If you must walk in the street, walk against the flow of traffic, as close to the curb as you can.
  • Taking shortcuts through areas where snow & ice removal is not feasible can be hazardous.

Avoid Areas with Falling Ice

  • As if there wasn’t enough danger of falling on ice, you must be aware of ice that might fall on YOU!
  • Watch out for: Icicles hanging from eaves, sheets of ice on sloping roofs, and tree branches covered with ice.
  • They can fall quickly and silently.

Dealing with Traffic

  • Before stepping off the curb, make sure all cars and trucks have come to a complete stop.
  • Due to poor road conditions, motorists may not be able to stop or slow down for pedestrians.
  • Be on the lookout for vehicles sliding in your direction.
  • Vehicles should yield to snow removal equipment in streets and parking lots.


Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald (

Winter Safety Tips (Part 4)

Today we round out our four part series on winter safety. Monday we looked at general winter safety tips, Tuesday we looked at skiing and snowboarding safety tips, Wednesday was new year’s day, then yesterday we looked at sledding and snowmobiling safety tips. Today we finish off with staying safe while having fun in the snow.

Unfortunately, today’s post is going to make me look like somewhat of a party-pooper because I’m going to have to tell you not to do a lot of things that most of us probably doing.

1. Do not construct snow forts with roofs or dig tunnels in the snow. The simple truth is that snow can start to melt and the snow above can collapse on the child. Snow forts that have only wall around them are okay.

2. Do not allow children to play on or around the piles of snow from snow plows. The hills of snow are tempting but that snow got there because it’s part of the plows’ route and the plow will probably be back. That pile obscures the drivers view and might result in a child being buried in snow and suffocating.

3. When playing with snowballs, children should never throw snowballs at each other. Snowballs can contain rocks or pieces of ice which can be extremely dangerous, especially if they hit a child in the eye.

4. Be aware of icicles and snow on the roofs. Many people are injured each year by icicles that break off, falling on those below. Snow can also slide off the roof and bury anyone under the eaves. Teach children to play well away from danger areas which may include power lines where icicles can also accumulate.

5. Be aware of ice that covers trees and branches, weighing them down. Ice covered branches are responsible for a lot of injuries each year. Do not allow children to go out and play when there is a danger of ice bringing down trees limbs or power lines.

Winter isn’t the favorite time of year for most adults but for children, especially when it snows, it can become a whole new world of fun and adventure. Making sure that children are properly supervised and taught to recognize dangerous conditions can help keep outdoor fun from turning into a trip to the ER.

Winter Safety Tips (Part 1)

Well, for better or for worse, winter is here and with winter come a number of dangers that don’t exist the rest of the year. This week we’re going to look at some winter safety tips for every and any winter activity you might be involved in.

Today we’ll look at some general safety tips relating to cold, frostbite, clothing, etc….

1. When sending your children outside to play, make sure that they are always in pairs or in groups. This tip is, of course, one that is good practice no matter what the weather is like but it is especially important when temperatures drop and/or if there is snow on the ground. Snow drifts and cold temperatures can make for dangerous conditions for a child playing alone.

2. Make sure that children are staying warm and dry. Check on them often and have them come in regularly to warm up. This is especially crucial for very small children who don’t have as much body mass and fat to protect them from the cold. Smaller children’s body temperature can drop rapidly and, because they might not be as aware as older children about when to come inside, they are in greater danger of hypothermia and frostbite.

3. Teach children to be aware of their surroundings at all times. Make sure they understand the snowplows and snow blowers can be extremely dangerous because of the amount of snow that they move. A small child can very easily and quickly be completely buried by either if the operator does not see them.

4. Never send children outside to play when temperatures fall below zero Fahrenheit.

5. Make sure that children are aware of the dangers that metal, especially metal poles pose. Any body part with moisture can freeze to metal objects (We’ve all seen the movie “The Christmas Story” and while it may make for good comedy, all to often kids do actually stick their tongues on metal poles and it’s not a lot of fun getting them loose).

6. Make sure that children understand that they need to come inside to change and warm up if they get wet, especially in their boots because of the dangers of frostbite.

7. Think “Layers” when going outside in winter weather. Layers provide pockets of air between the layers which provide better insulation. They also allow for the removal of one layer at a time if the child is too hot.

Tomorrow… Skiing and snowboarding winter safety.

Flu Season is early and Winter Illness Awareness

Get Set for Winter Illness Season

In much of the Northern Hemisphere flu season has began about a month early. With people now spending more time indoors this is prime time for colds, influenza (flu), and other respiratory illnesses. While contagious viruses are active year-round, fall and winter are when we’re all most vulnerable to them. This is due in large part to people spending more time indoors with others when the weather gets cold. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates medicines and vaccines that help fight winter illnesses.

National Influenza Vaccination Week Is Dec. 2-8

December 2-8 is National Influenza Vaccination Week. An annual flu vaccine is the single best way to prevent this serious illness. Get yours now!

CDC established National Influenza Vaccination Week in 2005 to highlight the importance of continuing flu vaccination through the holiday season and beyond. All around the country, events will include press briefings, radio interviews, health fairs, flu clinics and education opportunities to emphasize the importance of flu vaccination.

This holiday season, remember it’s not too late to protect yourself and your loved ones from flu.

Don’t fall for the myth that it’s too late to vaccinate against the flu once the Thanksgiving holidays are over. As long as flu viruses are spreading and causing illness, vaccination can provide protection against the flu. According to the latest CDC Flu activity report, influenza levels are currently increasing across the country. And since flu activity doesn’t usually peak until February in the United States and can last as late as May, it’s important to vaccinate now if you haven’t already.

Colds and Flu

Most respiratory bugs come and go within a few days, with no lasting effects. However, some cause serious health problems. Although symptoms of colds and flu can be similar, the two are different.

Colds are usually distinguished by a stuffy or runny nose and sneezing. Other symptoms include coughing, a scratchy throat, and watery eyes. No vaccine against colds exists because they can be caused by many types of viruses. Often spread through contact with mucus, colds come on gradually.

Flu comes on suddenly, is more serious, and lasts longer than colds. The good news is that yearly vaccination can help protect you from getting the flu. Flu season in the United States generally runs from November to April.

Flu symptoms include fever, headache, chills, dry cough, body aches, fatigue, and general misery. Like colds, flu can cause a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, and watery eyes. Young children may also experience nausea and vomiting with flu.

How Flu Spreads

Person to Person

People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.

(To avoid this, people should wash their hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick should not be shared without washing thoroughly first. Eating utensils can be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with water and soap and do not need to be cleaned separately.)

Period of contagiousness

You may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Some persons can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those persons may still spread the virus to others.

Prevention Tips

Get vaccinated against flu.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • More than 200,000 people in the United States are hospitalized from flu-related complications each year, including 20,000 children younger than age 5.
  • Flu-associated deaths number in the thousands each year. Between 1976 and 2011, the estimated number of flu-related deaths every year ranged from about 3,000 to about 49,000.

Flu vaccine, available as a shot or a nasal spray, remains the best way to prevent and control influenza. The best time to get a flu vaccination is from October through November, although getting it in December and January is not too late. A new flu shot is needed every year because the predominant flu viruses may change every year.

All people 6 months of age and older should be vaccinated. However, you should talk to your health care professional before getting vaccinated if you

  • have certain allergies, especially to eggs
  • have an illness, such as pneumonia
  • have a high fever
  • are pregnant

Flu vaccination for health care workers is urged because unvaccinated workers can be a primary cause of outbreaks in health care settings.

Certain people are more at risk for developing complications from flu; they should be immunized as soon as vaccine is available. These groups include:

  • people 65 and older
  • residents of nursing homes or other places that house people with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma, and heart disease
  • adults and children with heart or lung disorders, including asthma
  • adults and children who have required regular medical follow-up or hospitalization during the preceding year because of chronic metabolic diseases (including diabetes), kidney dysfunction, a weakened immune system, or disorders caused by abnormalities of hemoglobin (a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen)
  • young people ages 6 months to 18 years receiving long-term aspirin therapy, and who as a result might be at risk for developing Reye’s syndrome after being infected with influenza (See aspirin information in the section “Taking OTC Products.”)

Note that only one vaccine is needed for the 2012-2013 influenza season. This year’s seasonal flu vaccine protects against three strains of influenza, including the H1N1 flu virus.

Also, a vaccine specifically for people 65 years and older is available this year. Called Flu zone High-Dose, this vaccine induces a stronger immune response and is intended to better protect the elderly against seasonal influenza.

This vaccinewhich was approved by FDA in early 2012was developed because the immune system typically becomes weaker with age, leaving people at increased risk of seasonal flu-related complications which may lead to hospitalization and death.

Wash your hands often. Teach children to do the same. Both colds and flu can be passed through coughing, sneezing, and contaminated surfaces, including the hands.

CDC recommends regular washing of your hands with warm, soapy water for about 15 seconds.

FDA says that while soap and water are undoubtedly the first choice for hand hygiene, alcohol-based hand rubs may be used if soap and water are not available. However, the agency cautions against using the alcohol-based rubs when hands are visibly dirty. This is because organic material such as dirt or blood can inactivate the alcohol, rendering it unable to kill bacteria.

Try to limit exposure to infected people. Keep infants away from crowds for the first few months of life. This is especially important for premature babies who may have underlying abnormalities such as lung or heart disease.

Practice healthy habits.

  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Exercise. It can help the immune system better fight off the germs that cause illness.
  • Do your best to keep stress in check.

Also, people who use tobacco or who are exposed to secondhand smoke are more prone to respiratory illnesses and more severe complications than nonsmokers.

Already Sick?

Usually, colds and flu simply have to be allowed to run their course. You can try to relieve symptoms without taking medicine. Gargling with salt water may relieve a sore throat. And a cool-mist humidifier may help relieve stuffy noses.

Here are other steps to consider:

  • First, call your doctor. This will ensure that the best course of treatment can be started early.
  • If you are sick, try not to make others sick too. Limit your exposure to other people. Also, cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and throw used tissues into the trash immediately.
  • Stay hydrated and rested. Fluids can help loosen mucus and make you feel better, especially if you have a fever. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated products. These may dehydrate you.
  • Know your medicine options. If you choose to use medicine, there are over-the-counter (OTC) options that can help relieve the symptoms of colds and flu. If you want to unclog a stuffy nose, then nasal decongestants may help. Cough suppressants quiet coughs; expectorants loosen mucus so you can cough it up; antihistamines help stop a runny nose and sneezing; and pain relievers can ease fever, headaches, and minor aches.
    In addition, there are prescription antiviral medications approved by FDA that are indicated for treating the flu. Talk to your health care professional to find out what will work best for you.

Taking OTC Products

Be wary of unproven treatments. It’s best to use treatments that have been approved by FDA. Many people believe that products with certain ingredientsvitamin C or Echinacea, for examplecan treat winter illnesses.

Unless FDA has approved a product for treatment of specific symptoms, you cannot assume that the product will treat those symptoms. Tell your health care professionals about any supplements or herbal remedies you use.

Read medicine labels carefully and follow directions. People with certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure, should check with a health care professional or pharmacist before taking a new cough and cold medicine. Some medicines can worsen underlying health problems.

Choose appropriate OTC medicines. Choose OTC medicines specifically for your symptoms. If all you have is a runny nose, only use a medicine that treats a runny nose. This can keep you from unnecessarily doubling up on ingredients, a practice that can prove harmful.

Check the medicine’s side effects. Certain medications such as antihistamines can cause drowsiness. Medications can interact with food, alcohol, dietary supplements, and each other.

The safest strategy is to make sure your health care professional and pharmacist know about every product you are taking, including nonprescription drugs and any dietary supplements such as vitamins, minerals, and herbals.

Check with a doctor before giving medicine to children. Get medical advice before treating children suffering from cold and flu symptoms. Do not give children medication that is labeled only for adults.

Don’t give aspirin or aspirin-containing medicines to children and teenagers. Children and teenagers suffering from flu-like symptoms, chickenpox, and other viral illnesses shouldn’t take aspirin.

Reye’s syndrome, a rare and potentially fatal disease found mainly in children, has been associated with using aspirin to treat flu or chickenpox in kids. Reye’s syndrome can affect the blood, liver, and brain.

Some medicine labels may refer to aspirin as salicylate or salicylic acid. Be sure to educate teenagers, who may take OTC medicines without their parents’ knowledge.

When to See a Doctor

See a health care professional if you aren’t getting any better or if your symptoms worsen. Mucus buildup from a viral infection can lead to a bacterial infection.

With children, be alert for high fevers and for abnormal behavior such as unusual drowsiness, refusal to eat, crying a lot, holding the ears or stomach, and wheezing.

Signs of trouble for all people can include

  • a cough that disrupts sleep
  • a fever that won’t go down
  • increased shortness of breath
  • face pain caused by a sinus infection
  • worsening of symptoms, high fever, chest pain, or a difference in the mucus you’re producing, all after feeling better for a short time

Cold and flu complications may include bacterial infections (e.g., bronchitis, sinusitis, ear infections, and pneumonia) that could require antibiotics.

Remember: While antibiotics are effective against bacterial infections, they don’t help against viral infections such as the cold or flu.

Information provided by Center for Disease Control. and FDA

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald, Safety and Security Manager for Plateau

Top 5 Causes of Winter Driving Accidents

Top 5 things to remember…to ensure a safe ride home for the holidays

It’s the week before Christmas and all through the office, employees excited about the upcoming holiday. Everyone ready to head to their cars and home for the long holiday weekend! It’s exciting…family, friends, gifts, last minute shopping, long weekend, too much food, too much drink, too much snow shoveling and more!

There is a lot to look forward to but you won’t be able to enjoy any of it if you don’t get home safe. With sugar plumps dancing in your head It’s easy to get distracted during the holiday season. It’s also the worst time of year to not pay extra attention while on the roads.

Whether you drive along a congested highway, a small country road or a city street under construction, chances are you or your fellow employees may have witnessed an accident this morning. Driving is something that almost every employee does on a daily basis…whether it’s business-related travel during the workday, commuting to and from work, or during off-duty hours. But regardless of when, where, or why an employee is behind the wheel, when an injury occurs, there is a devastating impact on Plateau.

We want you to get home safe and enjoy the holidays so before you leave today or tomorrow read this list and check it twice!

The “BIG 5” of driving mistakes which are behind the majority of accidents. Avoiding these five mistakes could prevent most motor vehicle accidents, injuries, and deaths:

–Not paying enough attention to driving (Distracted Driving)
–Following too closely or tailgating
–Driving too fast—or too fast for the conditions (I.E. Weather, Lighting or Roads)
–Failing to obey traffic signs and signals
–Backing up unsafely (Parking lots)

The main focus of 2011’s Driving Safety  is on distracted driving. Distracted driving has been recognized over the past several years as one of the major safety issues on America’s roads. The transformation of cell phones into mini-wireless computers has become the number one distracting force on the road and has led to a shockingly high number of collisions, injuries, and deaths. Add to that all of the other distracting activities that a driver can engage in and it is a wonder anyone is watching the road at all. A study by the National Safety Council shows the following:


Behavior Increased Crash Risk
Texting 23 Times
Reaching for a Moving Object 9 Times
Dialing a Cell Phone 6 Times
Driving Drowsy 4 Times
Looking at an External Object 3.7 Times
Reading 3.4 Times
Talking on a Cell Phone 4 Times
Applying Makeup 3 Times

Ten simple steps can prevent most traffic accidents. NHTSA also urge you to promote these 10 positive steps for responsible driving:

Plan your route. Try to avoid congested roads, roads under repair, dangerous intersections, and other spots where accidents often occur.
Maintain your vehicle. Safe vehicles are routinely maintained and repaired, and visually inspected before each trip.
–Pay attention to your driving. Eyes should be on the road, hands on the wheel, and mind on the driving-not drinking, eating, applying cosmetics, reading the paper, etc.
Minimize distractions. That means phones, the radio, conversations with passengers, kids and so on.
Know your surroundings. Know where you’re going and what the hazards might be along your route.
Share your space. Respect the right of way of other vehicles and pedestrians. Be a careful, defensive driver.
Watch your speed. Keep within the speed limit, and adjust your speed to traffic and weather conditions.
Keep your distance. Under normal conditions, maintain a distance of 3 seconds behind the car in front on the highway and add a additional second at night, in bad weather, feeling drowsy or when road conditions are bad.
Signal your intentions. Use your flashers to let other drivers know when you’re going to turn. Use hand signals or pump your brakes to let other drivers know when you’re slowing down or preparing to stop.
Always wear a seat belt. Seat belts save lives and prevent or minimize injuries. Everyone in the vehicle, including passengers in the back seat, should wear a seat belt-even for short trips and local driving.

Distracted or drowsy driving takes a deadly toll on the nation’s roads. In a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Transportation Research Council which concludes that in nearly 80 percent of crashes or near-crashes drivers are distracted or drowsy just before the accident. According to the study, distracted driving contributes too many more accidents than previously thought.

The study also finds that 20 percent of crashes are caused by drowsiness and that drowsiness often occurs in the morning or during the day when you’d think drivers would be wide awake. The study concludes that drowsy driving increases an employee’s risk of having an accident or near-crash on the road by four to six times.

Here are some tips to help employees deal with drowsy driving:

–Have something to eat before you leave the house. Food in your stomach will give you energy and help keep you alert.
–Have a healthy energy snack like a yogurt or piece of fruit before you leave home or work.

–Sunflower seeds, crushed ice or snack on something crunchy to keep you awake and stimulated.

–Caffeine will work for short trips but it does were off long term.
–Pull over, get out, walk around a little, and have a cup of coffee if you feel drowsy while driving.
–Ask a passenger to take over driving if you’re too tired to drive.
–Leave your car and take public transportation, ride with co-worker, or call family member or friend to come pick you up from work if you feel like you’re too tired to drive safely.

Lastly with icy and snowy conditions. Clean your car off right and don’t cut corners

I know it’s cold, and you want to cut corners and get in your warm car, but don’t give your car a quick brush down. Get all windows, hood and roof…make sure you have perfect visibility and all ice is removed. Driving in poor conditions is hard enough, don’t make it any harder.

Remember is you are traveling contact the state road condition number before you start.

Information provided by NSC  and NHTSA.


Today’s blog post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald
Safety and Security Manager for Plateau