Because of all the publicity, you might naturally think that most underage drinking deaths are related to driving while intoxicated. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) wants parents to know that the dangers of underage drinking are even greater off the roadways.
MADD analyzed 2010 data from the FBI, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on deaths related to underage alcohol use.
What they found may surprise you. The study showed that only 32 percent of underage drinkers died from traffic related deaths. 68 percent were from other causes. Researchers found that 30 percent died from homicides, 14 percent from suicide, 9 percent from alcohol poisoning and 15 percent from other causes.
"As parents, we are definitely aware of the dangers of drinking and driving," says MADD national President Jan Withers. "I think we're not as educated about all the dangers that drinking before age 21 can be related to. And they're very, very real."
Child health experts agree that talking with your child about alcohol use should begin before they are at the age where temptation and availability are present. That can range anywhere from pre-teen to college age. Its never too late to have that discussion.
Sometimes parents mistakenly believe that if a child is introduced to alcohol drinking in the home that its much safer for them. They believe that their kids are in a controlled environment and not on the road afterwards. But as the analysis shows, being on the road isnt the only concern parents should be thinking and talking about.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that one-quarter of people ages 12-20 (9.7 million children) reported drinking within the previous month. Among those who did not illegally buy booze themselves, 21.4 percent were supplied alcohol from parents, guardians or other adult
The holidays are filled with joy, family, friends and presents. A popular present many families give themselves is a new TV. The old TV is sometimes regulated to the bedroom or guest room. While many of the newer models are lighter than the older ones, they can still crush a young child. Too often these TVs are not anchored well and sit on an eye-level stand.
A new report issued by The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) notes that 43,000 people have been injured by falling TV sets, with 59% of injuries being children.
CPSC urges parents of young children, to anchor their TV sets properly to help prevent these injuries. "We know that low-cost anchoring devices are effective in preventing tip-over incidents. I urge parents to anchor their TVs, furniture and appliances and protect their children. It takes just a few minutes to do and it can save lives," said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum.
Between 2000 and 2011, 349 people were killed due to TVs or furniture falling on them. Sadly 84 % of those deaths were children younger than 9 years old. Many of the injuries were caused when the television set fell directly on the childs head.
Public education had helped lower these statistics over the years, but the numbers in 2011 showed a sharp increase. In 2009 there were 27 deaths reported, in 2010 the number was slighter higher at 31 deaths and in 2011 the numbers jumped to 41. The size of televisions are also increasing, its not uncommon for sets to be 60 to 80 inches wide.
Reports show that many television related fatalities occur in bedrooms rather than living rooms. Many of the older and heavier sets are put in the bedroom and not secured.
A related study published in 2002 had found that the majority of television-tipping related accidents occur when toddlers are left unsupervised around the television sets.
New furniture and televisions are exciting and we can get in a hurry setting them up " be sure to secure
I cannot stop thinking about the horrific tragedy in Newtown Connecticut. As a parent, my heart is broken for the families in Newtown whose children, brothers, sisters and mothers were killed. There really are no words to express the emotions we all have.
At the same time, I worry about the many children who have seen or continue to see the images of this massacre. Unfortunately, there continue to be mass shootings and tragedies that monopolize the news on air, online and in print making it hard to shield young children. The news never stops and these events are all too common.
But a parent's job continues to be to try and make sure that children feel safe and secure. Although it seems to be harder and harder to do these days, parents must continue to protect their children both physically and emotionally. This means telling your child to wear their seat belt, lock the door when you leave the house, wear your bike helmet, and to never play with matches...the list goes on and on.
It also means having age appropriate discussions with your children about stranger danger, weather related disasters and now school lockdowns. The discussions surrounding this latest national tragedy should be tailored to the age of the child, but regardless of their age, I think the discussion should always end with, mommies and daddies are here to love and protect you and that will never change.
There is no way to process this tragedy nor is there a guide as to how to go forward. Despite all of the news stories there are no answers, but only questions as to why?
Hug your children, maybe grab an extra kiss and be thankful for your family. Let us also say a prayer for the community of Newtown, both those who were lost and for the living, for their grief is unimaginable.
The "Brady Campaign" looks at the effectiveness of gun laws around the U.S. The latest ranking lists Kansas and Missouri tied at 39th overall.