Entries in Auto Safety (2)


Halloween Allergies You May Not Have Considered

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- All the Halloween sweet treats, fun costumes, and spooky decorations are fun for parents and kids, but those same holiday staples can be truly frightful when it comes to children's allergies.

Allergy specialists say food allergy triggers are their biggest concern on Halloween, but there are other items that can cause dangerous reactions in children.

"The most common childhood allergies are peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, eggs and milk, and these are certainly in a lot of candies," said Dr. Scott Sicherer, professor of pediatrics at the Jaffe Food Allergy Center at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.

One of the most important things to do is to check what's in the candy. That's especially true, allergists say, if candy or treats don't have ingredients listed on the labels or have no labels at all.

If parents suspect their children may have food allergies, they should avoid any candy or baked goods with unknown ingredients. Children should also be taught to politely decline homemade treats.
Parents should also carry emergency medication with them, such as an epinephrine auto-injector and antihistamines.

The ACAAI considers costumes another potential Halloween hazard.

"Watch out for nickel in costume accessories, from cowboy belts and pirate swords to tiaras and magic wands," the academy warns. "Nickel is one of the most common causes of allergic contact dermatitis, which can make skin itchy and spoil trick or treating fun." Parents should also check costume labels in case of latex allergies.
They also recommend washing old Halloween costumes in hot water if they are going to be re-used.     
Kids may be excited about their Halloween transformation into vampires or zombies, but some of the makeup they use could trigger skin allergies.

Face paints should wash off easily, and hypoallergenic makeup is the best option, according to the National Jewish Medical Center.

Children prone to red, itchy skin or eczema should not wear any kind of greasy face paint.

The ACAAI recommends using better-quality theater makeup, and also suggests testing makeup on a small area of skin before Halloween, since it can take a few days for an allergic reaction to occur.

And while fog machines can help create some scary holiday fun, they can also be dangerous for some children.

The chemical can irritate the airway, similar to smoke and other air pollutants.

Finally, although part of the holiday fun is all about the thrill of feeling scared, those emotions can lead to breathing problems in some children. Being out in the cold air and running from house to house can trigger asthma.

But just because some elements of traditional Halloween could bring about respiratory problems, that doesn't mean kids and adults can't have fun as long as they're prepared, experts say.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Women Drivers at Greater Risk in Car Crashes, Says Study

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A new report by the American Journal of Public Health finds that female drivers are at a greater risk of injury or death when involved in car crashes, because seat belts and other life-saving devices installed in cars are not designed for their bodies.

The report said that on average, women are shorter, lighter, tend to sit in different positions and drive newer passenger cars when compared with men. Because of these factors, the odds of a woman sustaining an injury while wearing a seat belt were 47 percent higher than for men wearing seatbelts.

One reason safety systems are designed more for the male population is that men are three times more likely to be involved in a car crash that leads to serious or fatal injuries. In recent years, however, there has been an increase in female drivers getting into these types of accidents.

Although Clarence Ditlow of the Center for Auto Safety says that the study had the right concept, it doesn’t apply to today’s vehicles. The researchers focused on crashes (and cars) between 1998 and 2008. All of the cars used in the study were an average of six years old.

“The average life of a car is around 12 years,” said Ditlow. “The study would have a lot more value if it were limited to 2000 and later model year vehicles to make sure all vehicles had female friendly airbags,” he said. Since new 2012 models are coming out now, some of the cars used in the study are almost 20 years old.

“There wasn’t even a dynamic side impact test standard in effect in 1992,” said Ditlow.

Ditlow also said that while the study did highlight the disparity between the risks for male and female drivers, that’s something the government and industry have been working on over the past three decades.

The authors of the study said in a statement that “female motor vehicle drivers today may not be as safe as their male counterparts; therefore, the relative higher vulnerability of female drivers…when exposed to moderate and serious crashes must be taken into account.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio