Articles from our Morgantown Personal Injury Law Office about Safety Issues, Insurance Law, Auto Accidents, Personal Injury Claims, and Other Legal Issues in West Virginia. Questions? Call 304-594-1800 or after hours, 304-216-6695 today.
The most amazing thing happened along I-30 this week when a tractor-trailer sideswiped car also traveling down the the interstate, tearing the door off the vehicle and causing the car to flip. The driver, a mother, and her baby were ejected from the vehicle. Her car seat was soon found, but the infant wasn’t in it.
A short time later, a good samaritan who was searching the area heard some noises from some piles of hay alongside the highway. He continued his search, and found that an eight-month-old baby was sitting up in the bottom of a drainage ditch, holding out her arms to be picked up. She wasn’t screaming, wasn’t crying… merely waiting.
The drainage ditch was about 25 feet from the roadway. It is imagined that the baby rolled down the hill after the semi hit the car and caused the accident, and landed in the drain, sustaining only a scratch on her forehead. It took three firefighters to get her out.
The mother and four other people were taken to the hospital for more serious injuries.
Miracle Baby After Rescue
Police confirmed that the child was not properly restrained in the car seat at the time of the semi-truck accident and that the car seat was also not properly installed.
The driver of the truck was cited for an improper and unsafe lane change.
Car Seat Safety
Miracles can and do happen, but you can’t count on a miracle to save your child in the event of an accident. Make sure your baby is properly secured in the car seat, and that the seat itself is securely fastened into your vehicle.
Tips For Keeping Your Little Ones Safe:
Read the car seat instruction manual and the portion of your vehicle’s owner’s manual on car seat installation. Every car seat needs to be installed using either the lower anchors of the LATCH system or the seat belt to secure it in place. If you choose to use a seat belt to install your car seat, pay close attention to how to lock your seat belt in the vehicle owner’s manual. Because every car seat and vehicle is different, it’s important to follow all instructions carefully.
Place the car seat in the back seat of your vehicle and follow the manufacturer’s installation directions.
The car seat must be secured tightly in the vehicle. It should not move side-to-side or front-to-back more than 1 inch when pulled at the belt path.
If it is a forward-facing seat and has a top tether strap, connect it to the tether anchor and tighten. This step is very important as it limits forward head movement in a crash.
If it is a rear-facing seat, make sure the car seat is installed at the correct recline angle. Most car seats have built-in angle indicators or adjustors that help with this step.
Learn More About What You Should Do After a Collision
The Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act aims to amend West Virginia state law so that physician-supervised patients with an authorized chronic or debilitating medical condition can cultivate plants and possess up to an ounce of usable marijuana for medical purposes. The measure also allows for the establishment of five compassion centers to dispense medical cannabis to qualified patients. The proposal to legalize medical marijuana in West Virginia seems destined to die in committee this year, but now is the time to consider how to better protect children. Bills of this type are gaining traction across the country, and we will likely see this come up for debate again in WV in 2014.
Certain safety measures have been included in House bills 2230 and 2961 which govern highway and workplace safety, but based on Colorado’s experience since legalizing cannabis use for medical purposes, some definite safeguards need to be in place to protect the children of our state.
Since the legalization of medical marijuana in Colorado, 14 children ages 8 months to 12 years old have been hospitalized for accidental ingestion of toxic amounts of pot in the past two years. Though according to many medical professionals, it is nearly impossible for an adult to overdose on marijuana, children must be protected as much as possible from attractive forms of the delivery of this drug (such as suckers, gummy worms, or brownies — though I’m not sure why adults need these forms of delivery for their medicine) — primarily through the common sense of adult users, and secondly, through child-safe packaging and clear reporting and tracking for marijuana poisonings.
Already included in HB 2230 for the protection of drivers: “Operating, navigating, or being in actual physical control of any motor vehicle, aircraft or motorboat while under the influence of marijuana, except that a registered qualifying patient or visiting qualifying patient may not be considered to be under the influence of marijuana solely because of the presence of metabolites or components of marijuana that appear in insufficient concentration to cause impairment.”
Addition safeguards in HB 2230 address hazardous work environments in West Virginia such as heavy equipment operations, coal mines, and gas well drilling sites: “An employer is not required to allow the ingestion of marijuana in any workplace or to allow any employee to work while under the influence of marijuana,” and for the protection of employees: “A registered qualifying patient may not be considered to be under the influence of marijuana solely because of the presence of metabolites or components of marijuana that appear in insufficient concentration to cause impairment.”
Tamper-proof Packaging Needed for Medical Cannabis:
An April 1, 2013, article by Michael Booth of the Denver Post focuses on the accidental ingestion of medical marijuana by children leading to ER visits which has spurred new debates about safe packaging.
From early 2005 to late 2009, Children’s Hospital Colorado had exactly zero emergency-room visits by kids who had ingested marijuana. In the following two years, when medical marijuana became legal in Colorado and federal officials backed off prosecution, it had 14.
Pioneering studies of ER charts by Colorado doctors show looser pot laws leading to childhood poisonings, often from mistakenly eating tantalizing “edibles” like gummy worms or brownies.
“We’ve seen a dramatic increase in pediatric exposure,” said Dr. George Wang, a Children’s ER doctor who also works with Denver Health’s Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center.
Safety packaging, as in other medicines, “is a supplement to careful parenting that has been shown to work,” said Wang’s colleague, Dr. Michael Kosnett. “There are solutions available right now.”
And the marijuana industry agrees, up to a point, but argues that the tamper-proof packaging would greatly increase the cost of producing these goods and would add to landfill problems.
Serious Medical Consequences for Small Children
There are serious medical consequences for small children, though, even while marijuana advocates say an adult “overdose” of pot is nearly impossible.
Prescribed dosages of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana products used to control nausea from chemotherapy, is between 4 and 12 milligrams for children ages 2 to 4, based on body surface area. Some “edibles” have 300 milligrams of THC, Kosnett said.
The researchers say individual safety packs would be best, but the current recommendation of all items leaving the store in one secure package is “better than nothing.”
Because there is no clear reporting category for marijuana poisonings, doctors have to cull through files to count cases. Presbyterian/St. Luke’s, which operates Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, said it does not track similar cases.
The cases studied at Children’s included decreased levels of consciousness and breathing trouble. Children can also vomit from ingesting too much of a strong substance and aspirate the vomit.
Child-ingested pot is also dangerous because ER doctors aren’t looking for it as a cause of any symptoms they see, Wang said. That can lead to invasive and expensive diagnostic efforts, such as a spinal tap or CT scan, if parents are embarrassed or scared to mention the true cause.
“When children get admitted to the ICU, that’s serious,” Kosnett said. Symptoms may appear similar to meningitis, for example.
Safety packaging and parental prevention should be noncontroversial, said Dr. Robert Brockmann, president of the Colorado Academy of Family Physicians, especially as newly legal recreational use will greatly expand the supply.
“None of that information is being disseminated when it’s dispensed,” Brockmann said. “It’s like liquor or prescription medications, or anything else you don’t want your kids to get into.”
Kosnett likens the social moment to that of the 1970 U.S. Poison Prevention Packaging Act, which launched many of the safety containers now ubiquitous in medical and chemical markets. One standard for packages, Kosnett said, is that no more than 20 percent of 5-year-olds be able to open a container within 10 minutes.
Such measures have cut pediatric poisonings in various categories by 40 to 90 percent over the decades, he said.
Submitted by the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, West Virginia Injury Lawyers. Free books and downloads for WV accident victims — Call us today: 304-594-1800 for your free copy of Righting the Wrong: WV Serious Injury Guide; Collision Care: WV Auto Injury Guide; or Beside Still Waters: WV Fatal Injury Guide for Families.
Two Upshur County teenagers are dead following an early Saturday morning accident on Interstate 79 in Harrison County on March 30, 2013.
Emergency officials say the two teens were thrown out of the car when the driver lost control and hit a guard rail. The accident happened at about 4:00 a.m. The car flipped several times after hitting the guardrail. Speed may have been a factor.
The girl was in critical condition at Ruby Memorial Hospital at one point over the weekend, but Harrison County authorities say she died from her injuries.
The accident happened at Mile Marker 128, between the South Fairmont and Saltwell Road exits, of I-79.
A Message for the Friends of these Teens:
Could these lives have been saved if they had used seatbelts? Why did this happen and how could it have been prevented? Do you realize that 78% of all people ejected from vehicles suffer fatal injuries (die)? This could have been you.
Wearing a seatbelt is not only a good idea, but it is also the law. On Thursday, March 28, 2013, the West Virginia House of Delegates voted to make failure to buckle up a primary offense (you can get pulled over just for this) and will owe a $25 fine if caught not wearing your seatbelt. This bill is now moving through the senate. Up until now, not wearing a seatbelt has been a secondary offense. Supporters of this landmark decision highlight the facts that in WV alone, seatbelt use could result in 14 lives being saved, 146 serious injuries avoided, and over 32 million dollars in medical costs saved every year, not to mention averting the inestimable suffering of the accident victims, their family, and friends which is always the result of these crashes.
Think about it! Your parents are right about seatbelts. Buckle up — because we love you.
Submitted by the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, West Virginia Injury Lawyers. Free books and downloads for WV accident victims — Call us today: 304-594-1800 for your free copy of Righting the Wrong: WV Serious Injury Guide; Collision Care: WV Auto Injury Guide; or Beside Still Waters: WV Fatal Injury Guide for Families. We are glad to answer your questions.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been designated as the signature injury of the recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and as a result many injured soldiers and their families suffer in silence. In response to the need, the US military is now funding new research and has established multiple centers for those soldiers with traumatic brain injuries to receive effective therapies to rebuild and reroute their neurological pathways in the hope returning to work and building a better future.
Though most of the traumatic brain injury cases we handle are the result of vehicle and work accidents, hazardous military duty and sports activities also often lead to traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Injury to the brain is usually the first injury to occur, and the last to be diagnosed. Thanks to new funding by the US military and the NFL, more hope, treatments, and tests are available to help heal the wounds.
Symptoms of TBI involve a wide range of symptoms including vomiting, persistent headaches, sensitivity to light, memory loss, mood disorders, inability to focus, slow reaction time, dizziness, depression, blurred vision, and loss of balance.
On the leading edge of TBI research are studies concerning the use of Omega-3 fatty acids and new cognitive therapies designed to reroute and stimulate neurological pathways where healthy parts of the brain can compensate by learning to handle new functions. Rest augmented by a battery of mental exercises involving memory drills, math, and hand-eye coordination can help a brain accomplish neuroplasticity, a term which means that the brain repairs, regenerates, and reconnects.
In January of 2013, the results of the examination of the brain of the former NFL player, Junior Seau, were published indicating that Seau’s brain was found to be clearly damaged by the repeated blows inherent to football. Prior to his death by suicide, he had been diagnosed with degenerative brain disease. Results of an NIH study of Seau’s brain revealed abnormalities consistent with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a severe problem experienced by dozens of top football players.
The NFL may be facing thousands of lawsuits right now from former players who say that they were not protected or informed enough about the result of concussion. In response, The NFL, both directly and in partnership with the NIH, Centers for Disease Control and other leading organizations, is supporting a wide range of independent medical and scientific research that will both address CTE and promote the long-term health and safety of athletes at all levels.
PET Scans and Chemical Markers Can Identify Progression of Brain Diseases in Athletes
More and more, researchers have speculated a connection between sports-related concussions and mild traumatic brain injuries with the development of degenerative brain diseases later in life – most notably chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Previously, the only way to confirm a connection between repetitive brain injury and these debilitating brain conditions was through an autopsy.
But now, there may be a new way to identify or track the progression of these brain diseases while a current or former athlete is still alive.
For the first time, researchers from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) have utilized positron emission tomography (PET) scans and a newly developed chemical marker called FDDNP to do brain imaging tests on five retired NFL players. The new imaging technique ultimately revealed the buildup of the abnormal tau protein, which has been associated with repetitive head trauma, as well as the onset of Alzheimer’s.
New Research Indicates Omega-3 May be Part of the Answer
Brain Health Education and Research Institute was founded by Dr. Michael Lewis in 2011 to pursue educational and research endeavors to further knowledge of natural and nutritional ways to improve brain health. The initial focus of the Institute is educating providers and the public on the use of omega-3 fatty acids for the prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of the brain prior to or following an injury such as traumatic brain injury or concussion. With Dr. Lewis’ 30-plus years of military experience, a special emphasis is working towards improving the care and outcomes of our military personnel and veterans who have experienced psychological or physical trauma to the brain.
Dr. Lewis is a pioneer in the use of omega-3 for concussion and TBI – a simple, yet profound concept. Everyone is different, but his theory is if the basic building blocks of the brain aren’t present, the brain is going to have a more difficult and longer time putting the pieces back together. Here is something essential to know:
According to Dr. Lewis, there is no cure for concussion and TBI. All medical providers can do is optimize the conditions to help the brain do the healing. That is what using omega-3’s will do. It provides a tool, the basic building block, for the brain’s healing.
Omega-3 Aids Brain Recovery of Randal McCloy, Survivor of the Sago Mine Disaster
Neurosurgeon Dr. Julian Bailes is often at the cutting edge of the latest treatments for people with brain injuries. Former NFL players and other notable people with brain injuries—including Randal McCloy Jr., the sole surviving miner in the 2006 Sago Mine disaster in West Virginia—have received his care. Dr. Oz talks with Dr. Bailes about how he used omega-3 fatty acids, a common nutritional supplement, to aid in Randal’s brain recovery.
On January 2, 2006, the nation was captivated by efforts to rescue 13 men who were trapped in the Sago coal mine explosion. While news sources initially reported that all 13 men were alive, tragically it was only Randal who survived. After more than 40 hours of exposure to carbon monoxide, Randal was entrusted into the care of many doctors, including Dr. Bailes. “He’s had a massive heart attack from the carbon monoxide exposure, he was in kidney failure, liver failure, he was dehydrated, he was hypothermic and he was in the deepest of coma,” he says. “We didn’t have anything promising.”
Soon though, Dr. Bailes says he and the other doctors were confident they could save Randal’s life, but it was uncertain if his brain would recover from its extensive injuries. Randal was given three hypobaric oxygen treatments, but Dr. Bailes says there was no drug available that could help repair his damaged brain. “Since there was no drug to do it … why don’t we give him what his brain was made from in the first place, when he was an embryo in his mother’s womb?” Dr. Bailes says. That substance was omega-3 fatty acids. “Omega-3 fatty acids—EPA and DHA—[are] what people commonly would call fish oil, but we gave him a super variety in extremely high doses, up to 19 grams a day that we delivered to him in a liquid form through his tube that was in his stomach,” he says.
As Randal’s brain functions started to improve, Dr. Bailes recorded his findings and now says people suffering from minor to severe brain injuries can benefit greatly from omega-3s. “Consider this as a nutritional supplement, if you will, for their recovery, which I think has very profound effects on the brain,” he says. While Randal was the first known person with brain injuries to be treated with omega-3s, Dr. Bailes says he won’t likely be the last. And, Dr. Bailes says everyone can benefit from the supplement—in fact, he says he takes 800 milligrams of algae-based DHA a day.
Randal McCloy has gone on to live a normal life in a small town in West Virginia and has become the father of two children since the Sago coal mine disaster.
US Army Funds Three-year study of Omega-3’s Effect on Brain Health
Research published last year by Brain Health Education and Research Institute’s Michael Lewis, MD, in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry reported that active-duty military with lower blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids were 62% more likely to have committed suicide compared to those with higher levels. In October 2012, the military announced they are funding a three-year study to do just that. In cooperation with the NIH, researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina led by Bernadette Marriott, Ph.D., a professor in the Clinical Neuroscience Division of the Institute of Psychiatry, will test whether omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils can relieve the anxieties and quiet the suicidal thoughts plaguing many combat veterans.
“The potential good versus the potential extraordinarily low risk and low cost make this a type of intervention that can be – if findings are warranted – rolled out extremely fast and on a large scale,” said Dr. Ron Acierno, a co-investigator on the project at USC. “Omega-3s are among the primary fatty acids in the brain… They’re responsible for the neural generation and neural repair – for new neurons to be made and for broken ones to be fixed.”According to Dr. Hibbeln, “Research conducted in our lab [at the NIH] during the last 20 years points to a fundamental role for omega-3 fatty acids in protecting against major depression, substance abuse and other problems. Here we hope to be successful in understanding if omega-3 may play a role in reducing the risk of severe suicidal behaviors among U.S. military veterans.”
If research by the Army and Cleveland Clinic is successful, then diagnosis for brain injury could include an inexpensive blood test. Medical researchers are developing a test that will determine the presence of a protein that is released into the bloodstream after a person suffers a brain injury.
Researchers are currently testing their findings by analyzing the blood of college football, hockey, and soccer players to even diagnose concussions. Current methods of diagnosing brain injury involve the use of a CT scanner. These scans are expensive and may also fail to detect slight bleeding and other signs of a brain injury.
The military has also ordered nearly 50,000 sensor helmets with the ability to measure the severity of blows to the head and to detect possible concussions. The NFL is partnering with the military to place similar sensors in the helmets of professional football players.
Research indicates that the potential for serious lifelong traumatic brain injury is increased greatly if a subsequent head injury occurs a short time after a concussion, so a quick and inexpensive means of determining mild brain injuries could be a lifesaver for military personnel, workers, children, and sports participants.
Jeff Robinette, Experienced Brain Injury Litigation Attorney
As a lawyer who has helped victims of TBI navigate and receive substantial settlements from insurance companies, my great hope for these injury victims is that they would be able to move forward with their lives and receive the best care and treatment available. Kudos to those who are at the forefront of this helpful new research designed to overcome TBI and help those people function in a manner close to that of their pre-injury selves.
Submitted by the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, West Virginia Injury Lawyers. Free books for WV accident victims — Call us today: 304-594-1800 for your free copy of Righting the Wrong: WV Serious Injury Guide; Collision Care: WV Auto Injury Guide; or Beside Still Waters: WV Fatal Injury Guide for Families. We are glad to answer your questions.
More than 90 million people will be traveling home for the holidays this week. Getting your vehicle ready to travel is one of the most important ways to keep yourself and your family safe and to avoid mishaps along the road.
You certainly want to prepare. Check the Internet to see what the weather forecast is in the area that you’ll be traveling. You may want to leave a little earlier to avoid bad weather, or you may want to allow yourself more time for traffic or the possibility of snow on the roads… use your good common sense. Fill your windshield wiper fluid and tires to recommended levels. If you know you will be driving through snow, throw in some ice melt, kitty litter, or gravel for traction.
If you do break down, the time it takes a towing company to get to you might be longer than usual. They see a huge jump in accidents close to the holidays. You may have to wait an hour or two before help arrives, so prepare for that by making sure that your gas tank is full and be sure to pack extra blankets and food.
Other things to remember are to make sure you don’t always count on your GPS; have a backup plan for directions. If your windshield looks like it has streaks on it it’s probably time to change your wiper blades. And finally, slow down.
Submitted by the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, West Virginia Injury Lawyers. Free books for WV accident victims — Call us today: 304-594-1800 for your free copy of Righting the Wrong: WV Serious Injury Guide; Collision Care: WV Auto Injury Guide; or Beside Still Waters: WV Fatal Injury Guide for Families. We are glad to answer your questions.
Don’t let fire ruin your family Christmas. Fire hazards greatly increase when decorating for the holidays; about one-third of home fires and home fire deaths occur during December, January, and February. Fire is an expense you can’t afford this Christmas, potentially costing irreplaceable lives and an average of $35,000 damage per house fire.
Main Causes of Fire Calamities include: Connecting multiple extension cords together, putting up holiday lights without inspecting them for frayed cords, letting your tree dry out after it is decorated in the home, creosote buildup in chimney, and leaving a burning candle unattended.
Top Winter Fire Hazards:
Cooking calamities. Keep an all-purpose or Class ABC rated fire extinguisher nearby to get a kitchen fire under control.
Space heaters: Avoid setting up a space heater too close to curtains, furniture or holiday decorations. Keep at least three feet of clear space around it and set it up on the floor.
Children playing with fire: Never leave children unsupervised with ignition materials such as matches or lighters.
Burn only wood in the fireplace: Trash, cardboard boxes or Christmas trees burn unevenly and may cause a dangerous flash fire.
Take care with candles: Make sure candles are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down. Never leave the house with candles burning.
Holiday lights: Inspect each year for frayed wires, bare spots or broken sockets before putting them up. Turn off holiday lights before leaving the home or going to bed.
Counterfeit electronics: Look for CSA or UL certification marks that indicate the product was tested and met the product safety standards.
Electrical outlets: Don’t overload your electrical outlets with too many lights or decorations.
Electrical cords: Never bundle electric cords together or run under rugs or carpet.
Christmas trees: Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches. Regularly give the tree plenty of water.
Dirty chimney: Most chimney fires are caused by the buildup of creosote, a highly combustible byproduct of burning wood. Have it inspected and cleaned annually.
Dirty fireplace: Put embers in a metal container and set them outside to cool for 24 hours before disposal.
Wishing you a safe and Merry Christmas from the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, West Virginia Injury Lawyers. Free books for WV accident victims — Call us today: 304-594-1800 for your free copy of Righting the Wrong: WV Serious Injury Guide; Collision Care: WV Auto Injury Guide; or Beside Still Waters: WV Fatal Injury Guide for Families. We are glad to answer your questions.
The West Virginia texting bill passed the Senate earlier this month and is now in the House. This legislation will make texting or talking on a hand-held cell phone while driving a primary offense.
A seat belt bill will also be up for a vote in the Senate this week. This bill would make not wearing a seat belt a primary offense. Current state law makes seat belt non-use a secondary offense. Kanawha County Senator Corey Palumbo has been working on this bill for several years with the goal of reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries on West Virginia roads each year. Thirty-five states have already implemented similar seat belt laws.
If you are in a major crash, you have about a 25% chance of survival without a seatbelt compared to a 52% rate of survival if you are wearing a seat belt.
Three members of a McDowell County, West Virginia family were injured on Sunday, October 9, 2011 in a pit bull attack. The family pet was chained in the backyard of their Welch, WV home when it broke loose and attacked a three year old girl. Her grandfather and mother rushed to help the child and were viciously attacked. The three year old and grandfather suffered serious injuries and the pit bull was put down.
In 2009, a three-day old baby boy in Hardy County, WV was viciously attacked and killed by the family’s pet pit bull. The pit bull refused to release the newborn infant during the struggle to save the baby.
Devastating events such as these ought to cause West Virginians to reconsider the wisdom in choosing dogs such as the pit bull as family pets. Typically, 77% of dog injuries are caused by dogs familiar to the victim, and most occur close to, or in, the owner’s home. Selective breeding practices that emphasize aggression and tenacity in such breeds work to increase these dogs’ negative impact on communities.
Pit Bulls only account for two percent of the dog population, but account for one-third of dog bite fatalities. Because of Pit Bulls’ record of mauling, serious injuries, and deaths, many countries worldwide ban or regulate ownership of this breed. Many US cities and towns also have passed legislation restricting ownership and increasing penalties on owners whose dogs are responsible for attacks.
Every forty seconds, someone in the United States seeks attention for a dog bite, approximately 800,000 per year. Most of the victims are children, and most (77%) are bitten on the face. In addition to the trauma of having been attacked by a vicious dog, almost $165 million annually is spent treating dog bites. In 2010, the average cost of a dog bite-related hospital stay was $18,200, approximately 50 percent higher than the average injury-related hospital stay.
West Virginia has a strict liability dog bite statute for dogs running at large, but a one-bite rule under other circumstances.
Dog bites can inflict cuts, lacerations, abrasions, crushing wounds, punctures, fractured bones, infection, and disfiguring scars, especially on the face. Dog owners have a legal responsibility to control their animals. In recent years, several owners of these dogs have been criminally prosecuted in homicide cases. Sadly, many victims of traumatic dog bites go uncompensated and personally incur the full cost of the injury resulting from a dog owner’s negligence.
Approximately 24 children under the age of 14 die from carbon monoxide poisoning each year, with an additional 3,500 emergency room reported injuries, according to the National SAFE KIDS campaign (www.safekids.org).
Young children are especially vulnerable to the effects of carbon monoxide (CO) and may show symptoms sooner than a healthy adult. Because of their smaller bodies, children process CO differently than adults and may be more severely affected by it. In addition to death, carbon monoxide can cause severe learning disability, memory loss, and personality changes.
Carbon Monoxide, the Silent Killer
Often called “the silent killer,” Carbon monoxide is an invisible and odorless gas that is produced when burning any fuel, such as gasoline, propane, natural gas, oil, wood, and charcoal. Carbon monoxide causes illness by decreasing the amount of oxygen present in a person’s body.
CO poisoning can often be mistaken for other illnesses, such as the flu. The most common symptoms include headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and confusion. In severe cases, the person may lose consciousness or die. Often, other people in the place of business or household will exhibit similar symptoms.
To decrease the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in your home, install CO detectors outside every bedroom. Install the detectors at least 15 feet from a source of CO to eliminate nuisance alarms. Hardwire detectors if possible, and check every six months. Do not heat your home or camper with your stove top or use a camp stove, grill, or generator inside your home or camper. Do not leave a car or motorcycle running in your garage even if the garage door is open. Install a CO detector in your boat cabin; CO can accumulate anywhere in or around a boat. Have your fireplace, stove, and furnace checked regularly by a professional.
Sometimes carbon monoxide poisoning is caused in part by the negligence of a landlord, repair technician, or faulty piece of equipment. Landlords and professional service technicians are held to the highest standards of accountability for the safety of those they serve.
West Virginia landlords are required to maintain a leased property in a condition that meets requirements of applicable health, fire, and safety housing codes. West Virginia mandates in W.Va. Code Section 29-3-16a that any residence built after 1998 be equipped with carbon monoxide detectors. The federal government, through the International Residence Code (ICR) 315.2, further mandates carbon monoxide detectors must be installed in any one or two family home that either has a fuel-fired appliance or heating unit , or is attached to a building containing such appliance, if any work is planned for that home that requires a building permit.
If CO poisoning is detected, vacate the area immediately and seek emergency help. Avoid re-entry until the fire department deems it safe.
Despite West Virginia’s anti-bullying law, a Federal Government survey shows we have one of the highest rates of bullying in the country? Texting, Facebook, and bussing activities contribute to the increase in bullying activities. Symptoms of bullying can be fear of school, stomach pains, headache, and difficulty paying attention in class, unexplained injuries, and torn, damaged, or missing belongings.
What to do:
Talk with your child: Ask your child, “How are things going at school?” “What do you think about the other kids in your class?” “Does anyone get picked on or bullied?”
Teach your child to ask for help. Let your child know that if they are bullied, it is not their fault. They should not feel ashamed to ask their parent, teacher, or other adult for help.
Talk to school officials: When teachers, principals, playground monitors, bus drivers, and guidance counselors are aware of the problem, they can become part of the solution.
Support your children in activities that interest them: Loners are more likely to be picked on, so provide opportunities to develop skills, talents, and healthy relationships.
This is a legal advertisement of the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC.
Source: Connected Kids: Safe, Strong, Secure (Copyright 2006 American Academy of Pediatrics). For more information: www.robinettelaw.com