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August 26, 2014

Study Suggests Arizona More Lenient on Potential Sex Offenders

An alarming new study indicates that the crime of soliciting sex from a minor in Arizona carries a shorter sentence than other serious offenses. A study conducted by the anti-sex trafficking group Shared Hope International and Arizona State University is raising some important questions about existing legislation. Soliciting sex to minors in Arizona is a […]

 

 

Scottsdale Attorney and Child Safety Advocate with Tips on Home Safety

Arizona Parents all seek to Ensure Children’s Safety at Home

Despite every parent’s best efforts, the home is still a dangerous place. Making sure that the home is safe for children is a goal of every parent including Scottsdale Attorney Shane L. Harward. Since he has represented numerous families in claims involving children’s injuries in Arizona, including defective baby and toddler productclaims, he has seen some of the injuries that can happen in homes even when parents are diligent. Below is a list of ideas for how you can make your home a safer place and what you can look for when your child is visiting someone else’s home, is at daycare, school, or is entrusted to another guardian.

Emergency Preparedness for Child Safety in Arizona

The following tips are meant to help you safely secure your home but there is always a chance that your child will be injured despite safety measures. Before an injury occurs, you should first be prepared for that moment.

  • First aid and disaster readiness: Have a first-aid kit readily available that is used only in cases of emergency. Also, have canned food, three days’ worth of water, a flashlight and other equipment ready in case of a major disaster that may disrupt normal routines for your family.
  • Hospitals: Become familiar with hospitals in your area and the directions to them. In the event of a minor emergency, you may elect to drive your injured or ill child to the hospital rather than waiting for paramedics to arrive.
  • Pest control: Before your child becomes the victim of a dangerous animal attack or pest bite, make sure that your home is defended from some of Arizona’s most dangerous pests. The Sonoran desert is home to black widows, scorpions, bees, wasps, hornets, and numerous venomous snakes: sidewinders, Arizona coral snakes, and, of course, several varieties of rattlesnake. Depending on where you live in Arizona, you may never see any of these pests. However, you must be aware that scorpions are especially resilient and widely distributed throughout Arizona including the most urban areas of Phoenix. These types of pests can gain access through very small fissures and holes in your home’s foundation and can also make their way inside through pet doors and faulty screens. Contact a certified pest control specialist to have the proper safety measures in place. While scorpion stings, spider bites, or snake attacks can be discomforting to adults, such an incident can be life-threatening to a child.
  • Emergency information: Have emergency contact information like the name and number of pediatricians, allergy information and other crucial details such as pre-existing medical conditions posted in your home—perhaps on the refrigerator. Babysitters, family members and firefighters or paramedics should have easy access to this vital information about your children in case of an emergency.
  • Fire safety: Discuss a plan for escaping your home if a fire is detected. Have a fire extinguisher available and be familiar with its operation. Make sure fire alarms are tested regularly.

Pool, Spa and Water Safety in Arizona

Always maintain direct observation of children whenever they are around water. Summer safety is particularly related to water injuries but even in winter months, pools and spas steal lives each year in Arizona. Swimming and water safety should always be a top priority since so many children in Arizona drown each year in the state. Be sure that pools and spas are completely unavailable to young children unless adult supervision is present. Gates, security doors and pool alarms must be in place and well-maintained in order to prevent drowning.  Also, make sure that pet doors are impassable for children. Dogs and cats are not the only ones who can fit through these small doors.

Bathtubs and very small bodies of water—even partially filled sinks and buckets of water—can also pose extreme risk to children. One distracted moment has led to countless tragedies for Arizona parents; be sure that you are vigilant about child safety around water and that other parents and guardians are reminded of the importance of water safety.

Stair Safety for Infants and Toddlers

Children suffer broken bones, facial fractures, severe lacerations and even death as the result of falling on unsecured stairs. If you have stairs in your Arizona home, make sure that a small child or toddler cannot try to crawl or walk on them without direct supervision.

Safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs should be affixed to the wall as opposed to held in place by pressure.  Do not use any kind of gate in which a child’s head or limbs can get entrapped. The gate must also be high enough that a child could not possibly climb over it. Though most gates are fairly easy to install, do not hesitate to contact a certified professional to install the gates for you. The peace of mind will be well worth the minimal cost.

Furniture Related Accidents

Young children have a tendency to climb on anything that has handholds. This may include dressers with drawers that can be opened to create “stairs.” Bookshelves are also an attractive target because they can be used as ladders. To prevent accidents, make sure that safety latches are installed on furniture with drawers so that they are difficult to slide open for a child. Also, make sure that bookshelves and other heavy furniture are securely anchored to the wall. Minimize the possibility of a furniture tip over that could crush a child.

Poison Prevention and Prescription Drug Safety

Dangerous prescription drugs in medicine cabinets; beauty products; cleaning materials and even alcoholic beverages can lead to extreme illness and death. Children may ingest only a small amount of a chemical that may not be harmful to an adult but still suffer catastrophic difficulties. Even cabinets that seem out of a child’s reach can pose risks; children can be resourceful in climbing to get access to dangerous substances. Make sure cabinets have child safety latches and that dangerous chemicals and substances are impossible for a child to access. Also, be aware of what is placed in the trash and whether or not disposed of material poses a threat to a child.

Electrical Dangers and Kitchen Drawer Risks

Each year Arizona emergency room physicians treat numerous children for electrical shock that result from tampering with electrical outlets and appliances. Occasionally a child will chew on an active electrical wire causing injury. Or they may access a kitchen utensil or other metal object and insert it into an electrical outlet. Electrical shock from the outlet can seriously injure or even kill a small child. Outlet plugs should always be in place making it impossible for a child to tamper with the electricity.

Furthermore, if a child has access to kitchen utensils, they may be able to tamper with an unsecured electrical source but they can be harmed in other ways as well. A child with a knife or a fork can blind, scar, or even kill themselves. Make sure to install safety latches on all kitchen drawers to prevent catastrophe.

The above is far from an exhaustive list of how Arizona homes can be made safer for children: Firearm safety, window protections, home alarms and other precautions could also be included and still not create a definitive list. There are many dangers in the home that can only be minimized rather than eliminated. However, the safety measures that you take at home can make a significant difference. Children should be equally protected at school and while visiting other homes.

If your child has been injured or made ill as the result of an adult guardian’s negligence or irresponsible behavior, call Scottsdale Child Injury Lawyer and Child Safety Advocate Shane L. Harward at 480-874-2918. Your child deserves to be safe no matter where they are.

 

 
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Shane Harward Law Offices of Shane L. Harward PLC

10575 North 114th Street
Suite 103
Scottsdale, Arizona 85259

Telephone (480) 874-2918
Facsimile (480) 588-5063

By Appointment Only:
4809 East Thistle Landing Drive
Suite 100
Phoenix, Arizona 85044

Telephone 602-384-4638

Mailing Address:
Post Office Box 12877
Scottsdale, Arizona 85267