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Driving-325Remember how exciting it was to get your driver’s license as a teenager? I do. It was exhilarating. But now, as the parent of two teenage drivers, my excitement for them is often overshadowed by anxiousness and worry.

As parents, we want to protect our kids. When it comes to driving, the best way to do that is to demonstrate how to be safe behind the wheel. Lead by example, and teach your teenage driver these important rules:

1.   Turn off your cell phone. It’s not safe to call or text when you drive.

2.    Always keep your headlights on.

3.    Don’t speed.

4.    Minimize distractions, like eating or changing the radio station.

5.    Practice defensive driving. Have your teen imagine different scenarios and how they would handle them.

6.    Never drive when you are upset.

7.    Never drive with anyone who has been drinking or using drugs. This may seem obvious to your teen, but it’s worth repeating.

8.    Know exactly what to do in the event of an accident, and talk about it with your teen.

Under Oregon law, for the first six months that your teen has their license, they are NOT allowed to drive with passengers under 20 years old unless they are a member of the driver’s immediate family. You can read more on the state’s provisional license requirements and restrictions in the Oregon Parent Guide to Teen Driving. This is a good resource.

In addition, here are some steps you can take as a parent to help protect your young driver:

1.    Delay car ownership. Kids who must ask their parents’ permission to use a vehicle reduce their risk of getting into an accident by half.

2.    Make sure your teen is driving a safe vehicle, one that is easy to maneuver, with airbags and good tires. Bigger, heavier cars are also safer for young drivers.

3.    Discourage driving after 9 pm until your teen is more experienced on the road. Oregon law already bans driving between midnight and 5 am for the first year your teen is licensed (with a few exceptions).

4.    Every time your child leaves the house, remind him or her to drive safely. It’s important for them to hear those words repeatedly.

5.    And my favorite tip: Pray for their safe return! I always do.

Having regular conversations about safety, practicing driving together and leading by example will go a long way in ensuring your teen makes smart decisions behind the wheel.

God bless all of us parents whose kids are new drivers. Emotionally, it may be one of the most difficult phases for moms and dads, as children transition to young adults. It definitely requires a leap of faith!

150706LawnMowerSafetyA common question parents ask this time of year is: When is my child old enough to mow the lawn? Before a child takes on that job, ask yourself: Does he or she exhibit the maturity, good judgment, strength and coordination that the job requires?

In general, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children should be at least:

·      12 years of age to operate a walk-behind power mower or hand mower safely
·      16 years of age to operate a riding lawn mower safely

Before allowing your child to mow the lawn alone, show him or her how to do the job safely. Be sure to supervise your child's work until you are sure that he or she can handle it alone.

When mowing, be sure to follow these safety tips:

·      Ensure that children are indoors or at a safe distance from the area you plan to mow.
·      Clear the mowing area of any objects, such as twigs, stones and toys that could be picked up and thrown by the lawn mower blades.
·      Make sure your mower is in good condition and protective guards, shields, the grass catcher and other safety equipment are placed properly.
·      Wear sturdy closed-toe shoes with slip-proof soles, close-fitting clothes, hearing protection and safety goggles or glasses with side shields (especially when mowing near gravel).
·      Do not pull the mower backward or mow in reverse unless absolutely necessary. If you must mow in reverse, look for children or objects behind you.

Tagged in: Safety Teens Tweens

Posted by on in News
141008EPA foodallergies-smDoes your child have serious food allergies? Here are some steps to ensure they are safe at school:

  1. Submit an updated, written Food Allergy Action Plan. Take one to school to keep it on file there, and share it with your child’s teacher and front office staff.
  2. Discuss the food allergy with the cook at school. Even if you pack lunches for your child, the chef will appreciate knowing students who have a problem with food allergies.
  3. Take a fresh EpiPen to keep at school. Bring the EpiPen Jr., or EpiPen for bigger kids, and be sure multiple staff members are trained in the proper use.
  4. Have a conversation with your child. Talk to your children about the food(s) they must avoid, and review common symptoms of their allergic reaction. Be sure they are not afraid to tell their teacher if they think they ate a dangerous food, or if they are having symptoms of an allergic attack.
  5. Consider buying your child a Medic Alert bracelet to alert others of their serious food allergy.

Every child should feel safe and comfortable at school. Kids with food allergies need an extra level of protection. If you have questions about food allergies and your child, please contact us at Eugene Pediatric Associates.
140916EPA asthma-smDoes your school-aged child have asthma?  If so, now is the time to take steps to be sure the asthma is controlled as the school year gets rolling.

Your pediatricians at Eugene Pediatric Associates urge you to:

  1. Take an updated, written Asthma Action Plan to school and review it with your child’s teacher and front office staff so they know how to handle the asthma. See us if you need an updated written plan.
  2. Take a fresh Ventolin (rescue) inhaler to school for your child.
  3. Be sure your child gets a flu shot this September or October. Influenza illness is especially dangerous for kids with asthma.
  4. Talk to your children and review the symptoms they feel when an asthma attack is starting, and be sure they are comfortable asking their teachers for help when they don’t feel good. 
  5. Watch our instructional video on www.eugenepeds.com about proper technique using asthma wet inhalers.  

Asthma is a chronic and potentially serious health condition. But with proper management, it will not stop your child from living a long, healthy and active life.

Posted by on in News

140114EPA driverstatisticsThe per-mile crash rate for teenage drivers is three times higher after 9:00 pm compared with during the day.

Some of the reasons include teens:

  • have more difficulty and less experience driving at night than during the day.
  • are more sleep deprived.
  • are more likely to drive recreationally at night, which often involves alcohol.

For teenagers, the risk of being in a crash also increases when they transport passengers. The fatality risk of drivers who are 16 to 17 years old is 3.6 times higher when they are driving with passengers than when they are driving alone, and the relative risk of a fatal crash increases as the number of passengers increases.

Teenagers tend to take more risks while driving partly because of their overconfidence in their driving abilities. Young, novice drivers are more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as speeding, tailgating, running red lights, violating traffic signs and signals, making illegal turns, passing dangerously and failing to yield to pedestrians.

How can you avoid your own teen joining these troubling statistics?

  • Make sure your teens take drivers' education.
  • Remind them about safe practices behind the wheel.
  • Don't take risks yourself when you drive with them, as you model poor behavior for them if you do.