The Richland Hospital and Clinics considers the public safety of our patients and visitors. We offer the following series of Health & Safety Tips to educate families about ways to improve safety while at home, away from home and in a motor vehicle.


Bicycle Safety


Bicycling Accident Facts

  • Children between the ages of 10 and 14 have the highest death rate.
  • Nine of ten bicycling deaths involve collision of the bicyclist with a motor vehicle, and most involve head or neck injury.
  • Male riders have a higher injury and death rate.
  • Most injuries occur during warm months and in the afternoon or early evening.
  • Children are often seriously injured when they ride out of a driveway, side street, or alley into the path of a motor vehicle.
  • Falls from bicycles are very common and they may result in serious head injuries or fractures.
  • Stunt riding, double riding and clothing entanglement also contribute to injury. The quality of the riding surface affects the likelihood of a fall.

Bicycle Accident Prevention

  • Bicyclists, especially child bicyclists, should be separated from motor vehicle traffic whenever and wherever possible.
  • All cyclists should wear a helmet. Most serious injuries and deaths are due to head injuries.
  • Carry infants in a special protective carrier that shields and restrains the child.
  • Avoid riding in the street or on the road (children).
  • Obey traffic rules when riding on the road (older children and adolescents).
  • Avoid riding after dark. If you do ride in the dark, add lights to your bike and wear reflective clothing.
  • The bike should be the correct size for the rider.

Bicycle Helmet Checklist

Buy a helmet that meets the safety standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the Snell Memorial Foundation.

Always do the following to ensure a proper fit:

  • Place the helmet directly over the forehead.
  • Tighten the chinstrap to keep the helmet from slipping forward or backward.
  • Only two fingers should it under the chinstrap.

    * Wearing a helmet correctly is vitally important to the ability of the helmet to work. Wear the helmet regularly. This is the single most effective protection against brain injury.

Choking & Suffocation


  • Choking is most common among children younger than 4 years of age, with the peak occurring in the first year.
  • Round, firm food products (e.g., pieces of hot dog, candy, nuts, raw vegetable, and grapes) are the most common airway-blocking agents in early childhood.
  • Another choking hazard are small objects like round or pliable toys (e.g., small balls, uninflated balloons, pop tops, safety pins, and coins).
  • Older children and adults usually choke on meat.
  • Suffocation can occur when the child is trapped in an airtight space or when the child’s airway is constricted from the crib outside, as in hanging.
  • Crib strangulation occurs when the baby’s body slips between the bars and the head, too large to follow, is trapped. Slat spacing for cribs should be 2 3/8 inches or less to prevent this. Old cribs must be measured to assure slat spacing is safe.

Children are also suffocated inadvertently:

  • In drapery, toy or clothing cords.
  • When lids fall on them as they peer inside a toy chest.
  • When they are trapped between the frame and mattress of a bed or in the folds of a mesh play pen.
  • When their nose and mouth are covered in a pillow, bean bag, or waterbed.
  • When, unattended, they slip out of a high chair.
  • Inside plastic bags.

Choking & Suffocation Prevention Tips

  • Learn what to do if your child chokes.
  • Avoid food and nonfood objects on which children are likely to choke.
  • Avoid cords in children’s environments which pose a hanging risk.
  • Purchase age appropriate toys so that toys for young children do not have small parts.
  • Ensure a safe sleeping environment for infants (e.g., crib slat space no more than 2-3/8 inches, no soft enveloping surfaces).
  • Avoiding entrapment hazards (old refrigerators, plastic bags, grain bins, etc.).
Fall Prevention


Facts About Falls

  • Falls are the most common cause of nonfatal injury.
  • Falls are an important cause for brain injury.
  • Falls are common at all ages, but peak incidence of medically treated falls is 1 year of age.
  • Most injuries that occur on playgrounds are the result of falls.
  • Baby walkers are associated with a very high risk of falls.
  • Falls associated with recreation are common in childhood and adolescence from skateboards, bicycles, horses, or play ground equipment.

Fall Prevention Safety Tips

  • Choose not to use a baby walker.
  • Guard stairways with gates for infants and toddlers.
  • Use restraining belts on baby furniture (e.g., high chairs, changing tables).
  • Stay in constant attendance of babies or children on high surfaces (e.g., changing tables and sofas).
  • Install screens in your home that cannot be pushed out or window guards on all open windows above the first floors.
  • Use protective clothing and equipment (e.g., helmets, knee/elbow pads) for recreational activities.
  • Use side rails on bunk beds.
Firearm Safety


Firearm Risk Facts

  • Children have a uniquely high risk of being shot.
  • The most common scenario for unintentional shooting is for one child to shoot another at home with a gun kept by the parents, for family safety.
  • A gun in the home is much more likely to kill a family member than an intruder.
  • Children cannot be trusted to handle a gun safely, even though they quickly acquire the mechanical skill and strength to fire one.

Firearm Safety Tips

  • Guns and children should be nowhere near each other.
  • If you as a parent choose to own guns, they should be locked away, unloaded, and stored separate from ammunition.
  • If you choose to allow older children to learn to shoot, it should be under the strictest training and supervision.
  • Trigger locks are available and inexpensive.
  • Remove all firearms and ammunition from your home if you have a suicidal adolescent.
Pediatric Injury Prevention


Many pediatric injuries can be prevented. The key? Educate yourself and the people that provide care for your children. Then take action to make your home and vehicle safe for your children.

Two Child Injury Classifications

Unintentional: Injuries resulting from events such as falls, motor vehicle crashes, and drowning.
Intentional: Injuries resulting from violent events, such as suicide, homicides, and assaults such as sexual assault, domestic violence, and child or elder abuse.

Five Leading Causes of Injury In Wisconsin

  • Motor Vehicle Crashes
  • Falls
  • Suicide by Firearms
  • Unintentional Poisoning
  • Homicide by Firearm

Is Your Home Safe?

Below are some questions to think about when testing your home for safety.

  • Do you turn the handles of cooking utensils on the stove inward?
  • Are electrical appliances away from the sink and children?
  • Do you have a working smoke alarm?
  • Does your family have a Fire Safety Plan and do you practice fire drills?
  • Do you have a working carbon monoxide detector?
  • Is the play room safe for your children?
  • Are toys age appropriate?
  • Are all household chemicals and medications kept locked and out of reach of your children?
  • If you have firearms in your home, are they locked and stored in a safe place?
  • Do you protect your children from second hand smoke?
  • If there are smokers in the household, do you keep all smoking supplies in a locked cabinet or on a high shelf and avoid smoking in the presence of children?
  • Are you aware of the serious risks that result from ingesting button batteries or magnets?
  • Do you keep all remote control devices, car key-fobs, and other devices with button batteries out of the reach of children?
  • Are you up-to-date on your understanding of crib, car seat, and high chair safety?

What about auto safety?

  • Do you wear your seat belt at all times?
  • Are you using child restraints for the children who ride with you? Are they installed properly?
  • Do you avoid consuming alcohol when you will be driving?
  • Are you aware that some medications will affect your ability to drive safely?
  • Do you avoid smoking when children are present in the vehicle?

Home & Car Safety Resources


Button Battery Ingestion Resources

  • National Battery Ingestion Hotline (202-625-3333)
  • Safe Kids Worldwide™ Battery Safety Tips

Car Seat Safety Resources

Heat Related Illness Prevention


The heat can have a serious effect on our body and can be fatal. It is important to take preventative measures in hot weather or interior conditions.

  • Practice heat safety measures when you are physically active in hot weather. This is especially important for outdoor workers and military personnel. Avoid strenuous activity in hot, humid weather or during the hottest part of the day (between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.) Use caution during your physical activity in the heat if you have health risks.
  • Drink plenty of water before, during, and after physical activity. This is very important when it’s hot out and when you do intense exercise. Fluids, such as rehydration drinks, juices, or water, help replace lost fluids, especially if you sweat a lot.
  • Drink on schedule. Two hours before exercising, drink 24 fl oz of fluid. Drink 16 fl oz of fluid 15 minutes before exercising. Continue drinking 8 fl oz of fluid every 15 minutes while exercising.
  • Drink rehydration drinks. They are absorbed as quickly as water, but also replace sugar, sodium, and other nutrients. Eat fruits and vegetables to replace nutrients.
  • Check your urine. Urine should be clear to pale yellow, and there should be a large amount if you are drinking adequately. You should urinate every 2 to 4 hours during an activity when you are properly hydrated. If your urine output decreases, drink more fluids.
  • Do not spend much time in the sun. If possible, exercise or work outside during the cooler times of the day. Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing in hot weather, so that your skin can cool through evaporation. Wear a wide-brimmed hat or use an umbrella for shade.
  • Stay cool as much as possible. Take frequent breaks in the shade, by a fan, or in air-conditioning. Cool your skin by spraying water over your body. Take a cool bath or shower 1 or 2 times a day in hot weather.
  • If you have to stand for any length of time in a hot environment, flex your leg muscles often while standing. This prevents blood from pooling in your lower legs, which can lead to fainting. To prevent swelling (heat edema), wear support hose to stimulate circulation while standing for long periods of time.
  • Do not drink caffeine or alcohol. They increase blood flow to the skin and increase your risk of dehydration.
  • Staying physically fit can help you acclimate to a hot environment. Before you travel or work in a hotter environment, use gradual physical conditioning. This takes about 8 to 14 days for adults. Children require 10 to 14 days for their bodies to acclimate to the heat. If you travel to a hot environment and are not accustomed to the heat, cut your usual outside physical activities in half for the first 4 to 5 days. Gradually increase your activities after your body adjusts to the heat and level of activity.
Poisoning Prevention Tips


“New research reveals medications are now the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths among children,” according to a Safe Kids Worldwide™ March 20 Press Release. The press release states “While the death rate among children from poisoning has been cut in half since the late 1970s, the percentage of all child poisoning deaths due to medications has nearly doubled, from 36 percent to 64 percent.”

The good news is that there are many steps that can be taken to help protect children from accidental poisoning.

Tips For a Safer Home – DO’s

  • DO keep all medicines and supplements out of reach of children by keeping all medicines in a locked box or on a high shelf.
  • DO use child-proof caps on all medicines in your home. Many pharmacies have collection dates when old or unused medications can be turned in for disposal.
  • DO store all household cleaners, detergents, bleach, and drain cleaners on a high shelf, preferably in a locked cabinet or cupboard. Some cosmetics are dangerous as well, so store those out of reach of children.
  • DO store bug killers, fertilizers, and fuels in a locked cabinet in the garage or on a high shelf.
  • DO program the Wisconsin Poison Center phone number into your phone in case of emergency: 1-800-222-1222.

Tips For a Safer Home – DO NOT’s

  • DO NOT store medicines in a purse or diaper bag. Talk with grandparents and care providers about the importance of keeping medications out of purses that children may gain access to.
  • DO NOT take medicines in front of children. Children want to do the same things adults do.
  • DO NOT call medicine “candy”.
  • DO NOT remove medicines from their original containers.
  • DO NOT remove cleaners, detergents, bug killers, fertilizers, etc. from their original container.


Safe Kids Worldwide™ downloadable PDFs*



CALL POISON CONTROL (800) 222-1222*We would like to thank Safe Kids Worldwide™ for their permission to offer these PDFs on our website.

Prescription Abuse Prevention

Prescription Drug Abuse Facts

Prescription drug abuse and misuse has become a very serious health issue in the community that the Richland Hospital and Clinics serves. Abuse of prescription drugs is finding it’s way into our schools and community homes; disrupting lives, creating high risk behavior, and putting the health of our community’s young people in particular, at risk.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified prescription drug abuse as an epidemic. Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) show that nearly one-third of people aged 12 and over who used drugs for the first time in 2009 began by using a prescription drug non-medically.

Some individuals who misuse prescription drugs, particularly teens, believe these substances are safer than illicit drugs because they are prescribed by a healthcare professional and dispensed by a pharmacist. Addressing the prescription drug abuse epidemic is a top priority for public health and will help build a stronger community.

Drug induced deaths from 1997 through 2007 were second only to deaths resulting from motor vehicle accidents.

Medication Safety Tips

  • Put medicines up, away and out of sight. Ensure that all medicines, including vitamins and adult medicines, are stored out of reach and out of sight of children. In 86% of emergency room visits for medicine poisoning, the child got into medicine belonging to an adult.
  • Consider places where kids get into medicine. Kids get into medication in all sorts of places, like in purses and nightstands. In 67% of cases, the medicine was within reach of a child, such as in a purse, left on a counter, on top of a dresser, or found on the ground.
  • Consider products you might not think about as medicines. Most parents know to store medicine up and out of sight – or at least the products they consider to be medicine. They don’t always think about products such as diaper rash remedies or eye drops, which may not seem like medicine, but can still cause harm.
  • Close your medicine tightly after every use. Buy medicines that come in child-resistant packages when you can. Remember, child-resistant does not mean child-proof, and some children might still be able to get into medicine given enough time and persistence. Make sure you close the package tightly after each use.
  • Be alert to visitors’ medicine. Well-meaning visitors may not be thinking about the medicines they have brought with them in their belongings. When you have guests in your home, offer to put purses, bags, and coats out of reach of children to protect their property from a curious child. In 43% of cases, the medicine a child got into belonged to a relative, such as an aunt, uncle or grandparent.
  • Be alert to medicine in places your child visits. You know to store medicine safely in your home, but do you ever think about medicine safety when your child isn’t at home? Asking people your child visits to put their medicines in a safe place works for some parents, but it may feel socially awkward to others. Another option is to take a look around to see if any medicines are stored within reach and deal with any risks in sight.
  • Even if you are tempted to keep it handy, put medicine out of reach after every use. When you need to give another dose in just a few hours, it may be tempting to keep medicine close at hand. Accidents can happen fast. It only takes a few seconds for children to consume medicine that may make them very sick. Put medicine away in a closed cabinet after every use. If you need a reminder, set an alarm on your watch or cell phone, or write yourself a note.

Give medicines safely

  • Use the dosing device that comes with the medicine. Proper dosing is important, particularly for young children. Kitchen spoons aren’t all the same. Teaspoon and tablespoon measurements used for cooking won’t measure the exact amount as the dosing device.
  • Keep all medicines in their original packages and containers. Take the time to read the label and follow the directions. Even if you have used the medicine before, sometimes the directions change about how much medicine to give.
  • Even if your child seems really sick, don’t give more medicine than the label says. It won’t help your child feel better faster, and it may cause more harm.
  • Take the time to read the label and follow the directions on your child’s medicine. Check the active ingredients listed on the label. Make sure you don’t give your child more than one medicine with the same active ingredient. Giving your child two or more medicines that have the same active ingredient can put your child at risk for an overdose.

Communicate with caregivers

If you are depending on someone else to give your child medicine, communicate clearly to avoid double dosing or dosing errors. More than 67,000 parents call poison control centers about dosing errors each year.

Write clear instructions to other caregivers, including what medicine to give, when to give it, and the correct dose.

Dispose of medicines safely

Many communities have a medicine take-back program. This is an easy way to get rid of your unused or expired medicines.

To dispose of it yourself, put the medicine into a sealable plastic bag. If the medicine is a solid, such as a pill or liquid capsule, add water to dissolve it. Then add kitty litter, sawdust or coffee grounds to the plastic bag. You can add anything that mixes with the medicine to make it less appealing for children or pets.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that certain medicines are so dangerous that they should be flushed down the toilet.

Talk to your kids about medication safety

Talk to your kids about medication safety. Even if their medicine tastes good, don’t compare it to candy to encourage kids to take it.

Speak with older kids about the dangers of misusing or abusing prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

Educate grandparents

It is estimated that in 38 percent of ER visits involving a medicine poisoning, the medicine belonged to a grandparent. Talk to grandparents about being extra mindful with medicine or pillboxes when children are around.

Don’t forget to remind other family members and visitors as well.

Put the poison control center number in your phone

Put the toll-free number for the Poison Control Center into your home and cell phone. (1-800-222-1222)

You should also post it near your phone or on your refrigerator for the babysitter. Hopefully you’ll never need it, but it’s nice to have just in case.

Experts are always available to help in case of an emergency or with any questions involving medicines, chemicals or household products. Call the Poison Control Center if you have questions about giving medicines, if your child was given the wrong amount or medicine, or if your child has taken medicine that he or she wasn’t supposed to.

If your child has collapsed, is not breathing, or has a seizure, call 911.

Do not make children vomit or give them anything unless directed by a professional. 

Water Safety


Drowning is second only to transportation injuries as a cause of unintentional injury death for children and adolescents. Drowning death rates peak at 1 to 2 years of age and again in older adolescence.

Most toddler and preschooler drownings occur when a briefly unattended child falls into a body of water. Toddlers can drown in any amount of water that is deep enough to cover the nose and mouth, including diaper pails, toilet bowls, large buckets, and bath tubs.

  • Drownings are more likely to occur on the weekends and during the warm months.
  • Alcohol is involved in many adolescent drownings.
  • Body surfing is associated with spinal cord injuries.
  • Diving where the water depth is inadequate causes spinal cord injuries.


Children should NEVER play in or near water without supervision. Constant visual contact is necessary by an adult who has not been drinking alcoholic beverages.

  • Place a 4-sided fence (unbreakable) around backyard pools.
  • Ensure that all pool and spa drains are properly grated.
  • Only permit swimming and boating in designated areas.
  • Encourage wearing personal floatation devices when in or near water.
  • Participate in swimming lessons when children are of appropriate age.