Articles Posted in Safety Tips

halloween safety

Trick-or-Treat: The Scary Truth About Halloween Injuries

Many Halloween traditions involve pumpkins, apple cider, and even a scary hayride, but we are going to bet there will be some neighborhood trick-or-treating involved too. And for the more than 41.1 million trick-or-treaters, the majority children ages 5 to 14, who hit U.S. doorsteps in 2017 requesting a Halloween treat, many injuries followed. This year, the attorneys at Levin & Perconti, especially those with young families of their own including Mike Bonamarte, Margaret Battersby Black, Marvet Sweis Drnovsek, AJ Thut, Jaime Koziol Delaney, and Pam Dimo thought it would be helpful to share a few easy ways our blog readers can protect children from injury while trick-or-treating this Halloween night.

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In this “most wonderful time of the year,” our lives are filled with celebration and frequent parties with friends, loved ones, and colleagues. It’s also extremely popular to celebrate the end of a successful year with your co-workers at the office. One popular way to do so is through an office-wide potluck, catered event, or party where co-workers can gather together and take a break from work to relax with one another. It’s important to keep such occasions a time of merriment, so be sure to keep your co-workers safe from food poisoning by following these safety tips.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, there are several ways you can keep your office party safe and food poisoning free. First, it is important to keep hot the dishes that are supposed to be served hot. These dishes are always best served immediately after cooking or reheating. If serving a hot dish at an office party, take the food straight from the oven and place it in an insulated bag or hot food carrier. Also, if you cannot serve this hot dish as soon as you arrive to the party, return it to the oven. You can also chill the item and heat it later using a microwave or oven. Second, just as hot dishes need to be kept hot, cold food needs to be kept cold. These dishes should remain in a refrigerator for as long as possible. When transporting these dishes, place them in a cooler with plenty of ice keeping them at a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder. Third, it can also help to use several smaller platters. When you have a large dish, you can take a portion of it to a smaller platter that is ready to be consumed, and keep the remainder of the larger dish hot or cold as needed. Lastly, is it always important to keep track of the time. Know how long items have been sitting out, and discard whatever has been out for over two hours. This is especially important to follow for perishable foods like meat, eggs, and casseroles. After two hours, bacteria can grow in food in a high enough quantity to make your co-workers ill.
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With the holiday season in full swing, local retail stores are especially busy. Crowds are large in this busiest shopping season of the year, especially for all the latest trends in fashion, technology, and the always popular toys for the little ones. In the time-old tradition of wrapping up new toys in shiny paper and bows under the tree, the youngest members of the family look forward to Christmas morning where they run to the tree in their pajamas and tear open the paper to discover new toys they have been gifted for being good little girls and boys. Year after year families look forward to this morning where they can sit around the tree and enjoy this time with their child loved ones in the family.

While we buy these toys for our youngest loved ones to bring them fun and joy, it is also important to know whether these toys will instead do the exact opposite and put these little ones in harm’s way instead. Unfortunately, there are many toys on the market currently that could actually bring danger to children and cause them injury, instead of providing the amusement and joy we intended to bring them. This is especially disheartening because these young people do not know to look out for dangers nor do they have the mental maturity to grasp a danger when one is before them. Instead, they trust that the toys they play with will not harm them.

Our lawyers care about keeping children safe from harm and in aiding parent/guardian consumers in protecting their young ones. That is why we choose to blog about potentially dangerous toys that are currently on the market and dangers to look out for. Under product liability law, it is the legal responsibility of a store and manufacturer to provide safe goods to consumers. This means that they must inspect products for defects and dangers, remove dangerous goods from the market, and warn consumers of discovered dangers. Where consumers are injured as a result of a store or manufacturer failing to do any of the above, the consumer can hold the store and manufacturer accountable for their injuries and suffering in a product liability lawsuit.
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Several weeks ago we turned back the clocks to “fall behind” for Daylights Savings’ end. However, the progression of the autumn season means that it is getting darker earlier and earlier each day as we quickly approach winter. Fewer daylight hours mean less time on the road with light and more time in the dark so drivers need to use extra caution when driving in darker conditions.

In addition to darker conditions, Illinois drivers must also be on the look-out for deer who are more active from October to December due to dropping temperatures, increased hunting and mating season. Deer are easily scared and often active during darker times of the day, so drivers must be vigilant to avoid collisions with these animals. Deer commonly dart into roads in front of cars and even to stop in the middle of the road when scared, hence the colloquial phrase “a deer in the headlights.” Because of this, it is not uncommon for deer-related motor vehicle accidents to occur in Illinois.

According to an article by the Benton Evening News, about four in every five crashes occurs on rural roadways, and almost 80% occur at twilight or nighttime. Furthermore, about 40-50% of deer related accidents occur during the months of October, November, and December. Both the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources have announced that crashes involving deer are thankfully on the decline in Illinois. However, even though these numbers are lower, deer-related crashes are still a frequent problem for Illinois drivers. The data has shown that motor vehicle crashes from deer have dropped from 15,495 in 2012 to 15,334 in 2013, resulting in an overall 1% decrease.
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All around Chicagoland neighborhoods, fall is in the air, as are the fall harvest-themed holidays of Halloween and Thanksgiving. With these holidays comes the popularity of decorating gourds and pumpkins and cooking many pumpkin-flavored baked goods like pies, breads, and cakes. However, to decorate pumpkins or cut them open for baking can require significant skill and dexterity with knives of the larger and sharper variety. It is for this reason that we share these safety tips with our readers so that they can be aware of the dangers associated with pumpkin-carving and utilize this knowledge to prevent personal injury or injuries to others
Consumer Reports describes how every October, pumpkin carving accidents result in hand injuries at four to five times the normal rate. Hospitals commonly see cuts, puncture wounds, and lacerations that have caused damage to nerves, tendons, and joints.

To prevent such injuries, Consumer Reports advises following some safety tips. First, never let young children carve a pumpkin. Children under the age of 14 should never be handling knives to carve the pumpkin. If they want to participate with this tradition, instead let them draw the pattern with a marker or clean out the inside of the pumpkin. Second, to prevent injury to all parties involved, make sure you are using the right tools. There are specialty tools available to purchase specifically meant for pumpkin-carving, including sawing, poking holes, and scooping. Using an instrument that is small helps for better control versus a large knife. Next, it’s always important to have a good working environment. Be sure to carve your pumpkin in a clean and well-lit area. Never carve in a rush either, and make sure you have plenty of time as this can be a time-consuming task. Lastly, do your decorative work before taking the top off of the pumpkin. In this way, you will be preventing yourself from putting your hand inside of the pumpkin while cutting it, thus reducing your vulnerability to injury.
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It is no doubt that motor vehicle accidents are extremely dangerous and can cause serious personal injuries or death. For that reason it is important that we take steps to best protect ourselves and passengers, and that cars are equipped with safety devices and that products can be purchased to increase the safety of our vehicles. This means protecting passengers of all ages and sizes, especially those who are very young and vulnerable.

A recent study by Consumer Reports has informed parents and guardians of some of the best features to look for when purchasing a child safety seat. The article by ABC 7 elaborates on the report stating that children are safest when seated in a rear-facing car seat until they reach the age of two. With a newborn, start out with an infant car seat which provide the best fit. Many children will outgrow these seats early though, so then you will need to upgrade to a larger size to continue to keep your child safest. Infant seats will display the height and weight limits on their labeling, so it is very important that parents and guardians pay attention to these labels to know if the child is still in the appropriate height and weight limits. If they are too tall and/or heavy, the seat no longer protects them as it should, and the child needs a larger seat to keep safe.
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Fall is getting into full swing in Chicagoland, and it’s a favorite time of year for many. With the summer heat winding down and giving us enjoyable 70 degree days, there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy the weather and observe the changing Midwest foliage. With the arrival of autumn, that means a favorite holiday of many is soon arriving: Halloween.

Halloween is a fun holiday for people of all ages, both children and adults. However, because the day of the actual holiday is a fun celebration for our youth, it is important to know and understand safety practices to keep everyone free from dangers and injuries. With so much celebrating, activities, and parties going on at the same time with people out and about outdoors, accidents can easily happen, especially if people are not being as vigilant as they should be. Such a busy and exciting time is no time for negligence, but with extra attention to safety, accidents and injuries can be avoided.

According to a report by the website Emergency Care For You by the American College of Emergency Physicians, many dangers and injuries can be prevented or avoided with the knowledge of safety practices. It is estimated that 41 million children go trick-or-treating in the United States, and the risk of a child being hit by a car is about four times higher on Halloween than any other night of the year. In addition to motor vehicle accidents, other common child injuries include eye injuries from sharp objects and burns from flammable costumes. It is advised that children have constant adult supervision while trick-or-treating and that these adults act as good role models by acting safely and promote that the children act in safe manners. Adult supervisors should make sure that the children stay on sidewalks, keep off streets, and obey all traffic signals. Furthermore, adults should encourage the importance of group safety and keep children and adults together in a group. Because costumes can also be hazardous, costumes that can cause children to trip should be avoided. This means avoiding costumes with baggy pants, long hems, high heels, etc., or costumes that obstruct vision. It is also helpful to avoid dark-colored costumes to increase visibility or by adding reflective tape to costumes and taking a flashlight along. Also, all candy should be inspected before consumption, and avoid all candy that is not in an original wrapper.
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It’s almost Independence Day, and if one thing is for sure, it’s that Chicagoans sure know how to celebrate. From backyard barbeques to parades to the Taste of Chicago and fireworks over Lake Michigan, there are celebrations, events, and festivals galore in the Windy City to celebrate our nation’s birthday. However, with celebrations also needs to come responsibility. Even though this time of year is enjoyable for people of all ages, caution needs to be taken and vigilance for safety should be high, particularly around fireworks.

While fireworks displays can be beautiful and an entertaining way to celebrate the holiday, it is important to remember that these are not toys but dangerous where not handled properly. Many times people may not remember that these are in fact are explosive devices and can cause serious personal injury if not handled properly, such as burns or facial injuries. These accidents can happen to people of all ages who do not exercise safety practices with fireworks, but particularly children who are not old enough or mentally mature to recognize and appreciate the dangers of these explosives or realize that they are not toys.

Injuries and accidents involving fireworks are not uncommon either. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, every year approximately 200 people go to the emergency room every day in the month of the Fourth of July. There are several parts of the body that are more prone to fireworks injuries than others. The most injured area of the body are the hands at fingers with 41% of injuries, with it being worthy to note that this is the part of the body that comes into contact with a firework when we light it. If we do not pull away from the firework soon enough when lighting, pick up a firework that is still lit, or use a faulty firework, this area of the body is easily prone to injury. The next most injured areas of the body are heads, faces, and ears at 19%, torsos at 15%, legs at 13%, eyes at 12%, and arms at 1%. It is also scary to think that the second most injured part of the body consists of some of our body’s most vital organs, such as our eyes and central nervous system of the brain.
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There is not much that is more enjoyable than jumping into a cold pool on a hot summer’s day. While swimming is a great way for families to get outdoors and enjoy the summer months, when swimming pools pose great dangers for adults and children when they are not properly maintained or lack the appropriate life-saving equipment required by law. When drowning deaths occur as a result of poorly marked swimming pools or improper pool maintenance, families can hold wrongdoers accountable through swimming pool lawsuits.

Just this past weekend, four young children died in the Chicago area in swimming pool accidents. The Chicago Tribune reports that one child died at a relative’s home, another at a country club swimming pool, and two others in a water-filled pit in Gary. These tragic accidents highlight the dangers that swimming pools pose to children and importance of parents and pool owners doing their part to ensure a safe summer for everyone. Serious injuries or fatalities can occur when pools are not operated, secured, or properly maintained. Oftentimes pool accidents lead to death when victims are deprived of oxygen, but victims who survive may be faced with life-altering brain injuries from which they require lifelong medical care and support. We also know that others may suffer serious and debilitating spinal cord injuries in diving accidents.

What can pool owners and operators do to help ensure a safe and enjoyable summer for family, friends and patrons? One common cause of drowning is unclean and murky pool water which can hinder a swimmer’s visibility to guardians, lifeguards, and others sharing the pool. Owners should keep pool water properly balanced and clean to ensure visibility for swimmers and guards alike. At public pools and water parks, overcrowded facilities make it difficult for swimmers to move around and can cause swimmers to be pushed and held underwater. Pool operators can remedy this by setting and enforcing strict capacity limitations. Another important issue is inadequately marked shallow and deep ends. Deep ends should be marked to provide knowledge of water that is above wading level, and shallow ends should be marked so people know not to dive and avoid head injury.
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With summertime in full swing, many Chicagoans are excited to take their motorcycles out of storage and enjoy the open air. Our attorneys agree that this should be a safe and enjoyable time for all to take advantage of the warm summer weather, and for that reason is why we wish to address motorcycle safety issues and concerns with our readers. By abiding by safety as a motorcycle rider, or by being aware of safety concerns as someone who drives a passenger vehicle, we can all be safer both operating or around motorcycles.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation website discusses important issues for many motorcyclists. For instance, many drivers of passenger vehicles comment after being involved in accidents with motorcycles that they never even saw the motorcyclist next to them. For this reason, it is important that motorcyclists stay visible to other drivers, and that other drivers maintain a vigilant look-out for them. This means that both drivers and motorcycle operators should keep a safe distance between them and all other vehicles on the road.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation also acknowledges that the summer season is the busiest for motorcycle riding and the most important time to address safety concerns. In their safety publication called “Pretend You Are Invisible”, they address the issue of how many drivers do not notice motorcycles because they are distracted or simply lack expectation that a motorcyclist will be present. As our readers know, as vigilant as you may be, you can never stop another driver from acting negligently, so it is important that motorcyclists practice defensive driving skills to best protect themselves. By acknowledging and accepting that they can’t be seen, or pretending they are invisible as the article is titled, motorcyclists are much more cognizant and aware of ever-present dangers and constantly on alert. In addition to this vigilance, motorcyclists should do all they can to make themselves obvious to other drivers, such as wearing bright clothing and a light colored helmet, always having their headlight on, and using their high beam when they can.
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