Can We Prevent School Shootings?

Can We Prevent School Shootings?

The March 2018 shooting at southern Maryland’s Great Mills High School has spurred action among Maryland legislators. In early April 2018 they passed legislation that would improve safety in our state’s schools. The bills provide either school resource officers or police coverage for the Maryland public high schools that don’t have any. In all, local jurisdictions gain $10 million for this purpose. The bills also require lockable classrooms and age-appropriate drills for dealing with active threats in our public schools. State Senator Steve Waugh, R-St. Mary’s, whose district includes the Great Mills High School, noted, “We have really done something very important for the state.” The Great Mills Confrontation A male student used a handgun to shoot a 16-year-old female he knew on March 20, 2018. An armed deputy joined in. By the time it was all over, the girl had suffered critical injuries, a 14-year-old boy was injured, and the 17-year-old shooter had sustained fatal wounds. The Maryland attack came hard on the heels of the February Parkland, Florida, tragedy, when 14 students and three adults died. The school superintendent for St. Mary’s County and for Great Mills High, J. Scott Smith, spoke out after the shooting, saying, “If[…..]

It’s Fun Until Someone Gets Hurt: Trampolines and Injured Children

Maryland Trampoline Injury Attorney

It sure looks fun, and who doesn’t want to fly through the air? Trampolines have an irresistible pull on many children; and often Maryland parents buy them because they don’t think they’re that dangerous and, besides, it will keep the kids occupied. Very often trampolines are dangerous and can result in injured kids’ needing emergency surgeries. A nine-year-old was seriously injured at a trampoline park in Hagerstown in March, reports the Herald Mail. The child was flown from the site to Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. A 3-year-old Florida boy was put in a cast from the waist down in July after suffering an injury at a trampoline park in Tampa, according to the Associated Press. The park promoted trampoline use by toddlers, though medical experts say that users shouldn’t be that young. The child broke his thigh bone, which may have been caused by repetitive pressure from jumping on the trampoline. The cast is expected to be on for six weeks. Older kids can get hurt, too. An 18-year-old Florida resident suffered a broken neck after playing dodge ball at a trampoline park in December. He was transported to a Pensacola hospital where it was found two[…..]

Who’s Driving the Bus?

Maryland Drivers Are Ignoring School Bus Safety

On November 1, 2016, Southwest Baltimore was the site of a deadly school bus crash. After that crash, federal investigators decided that an audit of how the city screens school bus drivers was needed. The call for an audit occurred in April, 2017. But as of July, 2017, that audit has not even started, according to state and city education professionals. However, bids from auditors will be requested, said the state’s Department of Education spokesman, William Reinhard, now that the school district has said they will pay for the audit. Investigators have described the need for the audit as “urgent.” It was one of several safety recommendations that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) requested after the crash. What Happened in the Crash? Glenn Chappell, the 67-year-old school bus driver, first rear-ended a Ford Mustang. After that, he veered into oncoming traffic, striking a Maryland Transit Administration bus. In that Nov. 1, 2016, crash, Chappell and five people on the MTA bus were killed. Fortunately, no students were riding the school bus at the time. Chappell had been in five previous school bus crashes between 2011 and 2015. During at least two of them, he had passed out. Chappell was[…..]

Psychological Issues Arising from Cerebral Palsy

Maryland Child Injury Attorney

Cerebral palsy, or CP, arises from some type of brain injury or malformation that can occur either while in the womb, during birth, or after birth. CP actually describes a group of disorders that impair movement control, known as “palsies.” CP is a not-uncommon childhood chronic disability that develops by the age of two or three. The difficulties of dealing with a permanently disabled child can be almost unsurmountable for any parent. But problems with CP don’t stop with the physical aspects; CP can also affect mood and behavior. Frustrations and Challenges Kids are kids. They want to play, enjoy fun times with friends, and fit in with their peers. But the daily challenges and frustrations of living with CP can upset children and make day-to-day living hard for everyone in the family. Some of the reasons are internal to the CP child, and some involve the greater society in which they live: Children with CP can have brain damage that affects the pathways and neural networks carrying emotional messages. These networks can be damaged or disrupted in ways that interfere with a healthy regulation of emotions. Physical problems can mean a manifestation of emotional issues. Think about it—if you[…..]

Mercury: An Old Problem is New Again

Child Injury Attorney

Those of us of a certain age may remember mercury thermometers. What wasn’t fully appreciated those many years ago was that mercury is a deadly neurotoxic poison that no one should handle or inhale. A few decades ago, mercury thermometers, thermostats, and other mercury-containing items vanished from use, especially in our schools. Or did they? Believe it or not, mercury may be turning into a problem in our schools again. What Is Mercury? Three forms of mercury can create health risks. They are elemental mercury, inorganic mercury, and organic mercury. Elemental mercury, also known as quicksilver or liquid mercury, is commonly found in: Glass thermometers Fluorescent light bulbs, including CFLs Electrical switches and thermostats Medical equipment School science labs (sometimes). Inorganic mercury can be located in: Chemistry labs Batteries Disinfectants (sometimes) Folk remedies (sometimes) Red cinnabar, a toxic ore of mercury that formerly was used in pigments and jewelry. Organic mercury appears in: Older topical antiseptics such as mercurochrome (merbromin). The FDA banned this substance long ago. Fish that have eaten methylmercury. Burning coal fumes. Elemental mercury is responsible for most of the toxicity problems in schools. Harmful and Available It is not terribly difficult to purchase elemental (liquid) mercury[…..]

Just Crummy for Our Kids

Crumb Rubber at Playground

You may have heard about crumb rubber turf being used on artificial turf fields and playgrounds. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) endorsed its usage until recently. Now, the EPA has ended its long-standing promotion of recycled tires because of increasing concerns that crumb rubber poses health risks to people. The debate over crumb rubber turf’s safety rages despite the lack of clear guidance or definitive scientific studies regarding its dangers. But parents are worried because of cases of cancer that have cropped up. What Is Crumb Rubber? Crumb rubber is the name given to any material created by reducing scrap tires and other products into tiny granules. These granules can contain steel, glass, or rock along with the rubber. Crumb rubber provides extra cushioning and resiliency for athletic fields and playgrounds, and it can seem like a big improvement over plain dirt and rocks. It’s used in thousands of schools, parks, and stadiums. A debate exists over whether crumb rubber turf is safe, despite the fact that no formal research has linked the rubber to cancer. The turf industry claims that many studies show no health risk. Dr. Laura Green, an MIT-educated toxicologist who has worked for[…..]

A Do-Over to Prevent Tip-Overs

Furniture Tip Over

You may have read about IKEA offering free wall-anchoring repair kits for their chests and dressers after two children died. In all, IKEA recalled about 27 million items. The fact is, every 24 minutes a tip-over accident involving a TV or other furniture injures a child in the U.S. That’s one child dying every two weeks from a tip-over tragedy. Because of this problem, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has started the Anchor It! campaign in order to educate parents and other caregivers about the dangers of tip-overs and how to prevent tip-over tragedies. A Significant Problem IKEA isn’t the only manufacturer selling furniture that could tip over and injure or kill a child. Another 2015 recall includes Pali. For those who buy in the secondhand market, older recalls include: Million Dollar Baby (Bexco) Natart Chelsea Guidecraft Ameriwood (sold by Walmart). If you own any furniture by these manufacturers or sellers, we urge you to investigate further and to secure your furniture before heartbreak occurs. Wider Problems But there are bigger problems than furniture alone. Tip-overs are not limited to dressers and bookcases: 65 percent of fatalities involved large-screen TVs. When a TV falls, the force exerted can[…..]

Liquid Nicotine — A Little Can Be Lethal

Liquid Nicotine

Would you leave a bottle of bleach within the reach of a toddler? Parents know to store household chemicals behind locked cabinet doors or on a high shelf, aware and wary of accidental poisonings that befall curious children. And yet, too many parents are leaving containers of significantly more toxic and enticing liquids where children can get their hands on them. Bearing pictures of candy canes, juicy fruits and sweets, and lacking childproof caps, bottles of liquid nicotine for refilling e-cigarettes are fatal temptations. Comparing the toxicity of liquid nicotine and bleach, Henry Spiller, Director of the Central Ohio Poison Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, asked, “Would we be concerned if a child drank an entire bottle of bleach? Concerned yes, corrosive elements yes, but fatal? Highly unlikely. A child would not voluntarily drink even 8 ounces of household bleach because of the smell and taste and large amount they would need to drink to prove lethal. In comparison, a child could easily consume even a teaspoon of liquid nicotine and have it prove fatal.” In December 2014, a one-year-old in upstate New York died after ingesting liquid nicotine at his home. He was found unresponsive and rushed to a[…..]

High School Athletes Feel The Burn, Pay The Price

Football helmet

When we think of chemical burns, we’re most likely to associate them with workplace accidents. Or at least we assume a direct link between the user and the dangerous substance. But a recent incident in Silver Spring, Maryland, shows that chemical burns can be sustained by people who weren’t even aware that they were coming in contact with a potentially hazardous chemical preparation. In September, the Springbrook High School football trainer directed the building services staff to disinfect the locker room because of a suspected staph infection. What was intended to protect the students from staph turned out to cause another serious health issue, forced the school system to replace a good portion of its football equipment, and exposed it to liability for the injuries sustained by about 15 football players. The pro-active measure took a wrong turn when the cleaning staff used the disinfectant Virex II 256 to spray not only the locker room floors and walls but also the players’ helmets and shoulder pads. During the next practice, several players felt a burning sensation on their chest and back. Nevertheless, the practice continued for three hours. By the next morning, the Silver Spring school administration and coaching staff[…..]

Get A Seat Check

Child car safety

Child Passenger Safety Week, sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is Sept. 14-20. During this time period, everyone who transports children — whether they’re your own children or grandchildren or kids from the neighborhood — needs to be aware of how to keep them safe as passengers. Before you even turn the key in the ignition, everyone needs to be restrained in the type of device appropriate for their age and size, and that imposes a duty on the adult driver to be aware of the parameters for each style and to know how to correctly install it in the vehicle. Maryland’s current law requires that children under 8 must ride in an appropriate child restraint, unless the child is 4’9″ or taller. From birth up to age 2, children should ride in a rear-facing car seat, in the back seat. From age 2 until at least age 5, they should ride in a forward-facing car seat, in the back seat. From age 5 until the vehicle’s seat belts fit properly, they should be buckled into a booster seat, preferably in the back seat. Motor vehicle crashes are the second-leading cause of death for children aged 4 to[…..]