‘Early Matters’ Initiative Kickoff, A Success!

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Early Matters initiative is made up of 50 local leaders in the nonprofit, business, education, and philanthropic sectors.

Collaborative for Children is proud to announce its participation in the Early Matters coalition, which aims at improving early education issues in Houston over the next 10 years.

Dozens of businesses, including Texas-based HEB, as well as local school districts and philanthropic organizations have come together to raise awareness to the need to improve early childhood standards in the state.

Carol Shattuck, CEO of Collaborative for Children said, “We are thrilled to be a part of Carol resizethis growing coalition who sees the tremendous importance of investing early in young children and the long term impact of such an investment on Houston’s workforce of the future.”

During a press conference on the first day of school at Sylvan Rodriguez Elementary School, Greater Houston Partnership President and CEO Bob Harvey spoke of the need to improve pre-K guidelines, “Unfortunately we know from experience that perhaps as many as 60% of the children arrive ill prepared and ill equipped.”

Dr. Bob Sanborn, President and CEO of Children at Risk added, “For a lot of our high poverty children there’s no learning until they get to school, which is one of the reasons we’re talking about pre-K programs.”

On Sept. 26, a summit coordinated by Early Matters will be held at Rice University targeting business leaders, elected officials, philanthropic and community leaders to release a report on the state of early education in our region and presenting a plan for addressing the need to improve quality and expand access to high quality early education to more young children in our region. Gen. Colin Powell and businessman George Kaiser are two of the speakers. We hope this event will expand the circle of those who are ready and willing to work on this issue in our community!

Yesterday’s Early Matters launch was well-received by local media. You can check out reports from KPRC Local 2, Fox 26 News , Houston Chronicle, News 92 FM, Houston Public Media and HISD’s News Blog.

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Campaign Aims at Preventing Child Heatstroke Deaths

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“Where’s baby? Look Before You Lock” campaign – Every year, dozens of children and babies get left in hot cars and die from heatstroke. It could happen to anyone. Even you. So, be extra careful and always check the backseat before you walk away. #checkforbaby

The summer’s rising temperatures serve as a somber reminder to avoid leaving children alone in a hot vehicle.

In 2013, 44 children died of heatstroke in the United States. The year before, 34 lost their lives to the same cause, and so far this year (as of August 4, 2014), 20 children have died. Many of these cases are the result of an accident committed by the victim’s own parents or caregivers.

Leaving a child in hot conditions for too long can have horrific consequences, including permanent injury or even death. Children are especially vulnerable to hot conditions, causing them to overheat up to five times faster than an adult. A child dies when his/her body temperature reaches 107 degrees.

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Photo courtesy: Administration for Children & Families – Reggie McKinnon is now an advocate for child car safety, following the death of his young daughter. Payton Lynn McKinnon died in 2010, when her father accidentally left her in the family car.

At a recent press conference in Washington, D.C., a father shared his tragic and heartbreaking experience. On March 8, 2010, Reggie McKinnon (photo above and video below), of Florida, lost his youngest child when he accidentally left her in his car all afternoon. When McKinnon returned to his car after work, he realized he dropped off 17-month-old Payton at child care.

McKinnon shared his misconception about child heatstroke cases. “I used to think this happened to drunks, uneducated people or drug addicts,” he said. “This can happen to anyone. There is no demographic. Doctors, lawyers and rocket scientists have had this happened to them.”

McKinnon is now partnering with advocacy groups across the country to bring awareness to the issue.

“This pain can sometimes pull you right to your knees with no warning,” McKinnon told local media. “I made a promise to my sweet Payton Lynn that I would do everything I could to prevent this horror from ever happening to another child.”

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“Where’s Baby? Look Before you Lock” campaign

In order to reach out to more parents and caregivers, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched the “Where’s Baby? Look Before you Lock” campaign.

The NHTSA wants parents to follow these three crucial guidelines to prevent hot car deaths:

  1. Never leave a child alone in a car
  • It’s never OK to leave a kid unattended in a vehicle, even for
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    “Where’s Baby? Look Before you Lock” campaign

    a few minutes, and even if the car is on.

  • Leaving the windows open will not prevent heatstroke.
  • Don’t let children play alone in a vehicle.
  1. Look before you lock
  • Always check the backseats of your car before you lock it and walk away.
  • Keep a stuffed animal or another item that reminds you of your child in his/her car seat when it’s empty. Move it to the front seat as a reminder when your child is in the backseat.
  • If someone else is driving your child, or your daily routine has changed, always check that your child made it safely.
  1. Take action if you see a child alone in a car
  • Don’t wait more than a few minutes for the driver to return
  • Don’t worry about getting involved in someone else’s business — protecting children is everyone’s business.
  • If the child is not responsive or is in distress, immediately:
    • Call 911
    • Get the child out of the car
    • Spray the child with cool water (not in an ice bath)
    • Check for signs of heatstroke:
      • Red, hot, and moist or dry skin
      • No sweating
      • Rapid or weak pulse
      • Nausea
      • Confusion or strange behavior
    • If a child is responsive:
      • Stay with him/her until help arrives
      • Have someone else search for the driver

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“Where’s Baby? Look Before you Lock” campaign

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“Where’s Baby? Look Before you Lock” campaign

Keep Safety in Mind While Celebrating 4th of July

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Have a happy and safe 4th of July! Photo courtesy: digitalfreephotos.net

Summer is in full swing, and as you make plans for the upcoming 4th of July holiday weekend – there are several things to keep in mind to ensure your family stays safe.

Heat exhaustion. Temperatures in Houston are creeping into the mid-90s, and it won’t be long before we’re dealing with the triple digits. Outdoor activities must be accompanied with plenty of hydration. Failing to do so can lead to overheating, which can be potentially dangerous. Children under four years old are at a higher risk.

Heat exhaustion symptoms include headaches, nausea, loss of consciousness, and minimal sweating. If a loved one is experiencing overheating symptoms, make sure they rest, move to a cooler place, and drink cool water or sports drinks. The Mayo Clinic recommends you call 911 if body temperature reaches 104°F (40°C) or higher.

Stay cautious while hitting the pool this summer. Photo courtesy: freedigitalphotos.net

Stay cautious while hitting the pool this summer. Photo courtesy: freedigitalphotos.net

Swimming. If taking a dip in the pool to stay cool, make sure everyone knows how to swim well. The summertime is the perfect time to enroll in a water safety or CPR/AED course. Check with your local YMCA or Red Cross for more information.

The American Red Cross recommends children use a buddy system with an adult. Young children are not to be left alone with other children near a pool, and while supervising little ones, do not let your guard down or allow distractions take your attention.

If your child is not an experienced swimmer, have him/her wear a life jacket near the water. In the case that a child should disappear from your presence, check the water first, as seconds count in preventing serious injury or death.

Courtesy: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Fingers and hands are the most-injured body parts by fireworks. Courtesy: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Fireworks. No 4th of July celebration is complete without fireworks. Before purchasing fireworks, make sure they are legal in your city or neighborhood. Fireworks are illegal in Houston city limits as well as parts of Harris County. If you’re illegally caught with fireworks, you can face a fine between $500 and $2,000 for each individual firework.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, small fireworks, such as bottle rockets and sparklers, hurt approximately 1,000 children under five years old during the 30 days surrounding the 4th of July.

If your city does allow the use of fireworks, make sure your family follows safety guidelines by CPSC. Young children are never to be allowed to play with or ignite fireworks. Children under nine years old account for 20% of firework-related injuries.

Courtesy: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Firework injuries by age. Courtesy: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Experts also recommend to not position any body part directly over a firework when lighting the fuse. More than half of injuries related to fireworks are burns. At 41%, hands and fingers account for the most injured body parts. Additionally, the head, face, and ears make up for one in five of injuries.

The safest way to enjoy fireworks may perhaps be by attending one of a number of 4th of July celebrations around Houston. The Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau has compiled a list of family-friendly activities around the city.

Summer safety kit. If heading out of town, the Texas Children’s Hospital recommends packing a summer safety kit with several essential products that may come in handy in a trip.

Purchase a sunscreen with a strong SPF, and apply it 15 minutes before going outside. Sun block must be replied every two hours when swimming or sweating. Make sure to be aware if your child is sensitive to high SPF.

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If you’re planning a family trip, make sure to pack a summer safety kit. Photo courtesy: freedigitalphotos.net

Keep other first aid essentials, such as antibiotic ointment and bandages for scratches and cuts. Also include children’s pain medication for minor aches and pain. Carry insect repellent with DEET as an active ingredient. However, use the lowest-strength DEET possible, and avoid insect repellents that contain citronella, which tends to be less effective. If your child does get bit by insects, make sure you have an anesthetic to relieve itching. Also pack all necessary items for children with special needs, such as inhalers and testing equipment.

If you’re staying home for Independence Day, check out our Pinterest page for plenty of 4th of July-inspired activities.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!