Just In Time For Christmas-Safety Recalls

The following is a list of a few items which have been listed on SafeKids.Org as Product Safety Recalls for the month of November, 2013.

o Movement and Sound Baby Monitors – Voluntary Recall due to strangulation hazard
o Baja Motorsports Mini Bikes – Due to front fork separation from the wheel
o Tailwind Racks for Trailercycles because the aluminum piece that connects the bikes can break, causing the bikes to disconnect
o Little Willy’s Hooded Sweatshirts due to drawstrings through the hood and neck pose a strangulation hazard
o American Boy & Girl girl’s Susan Sandals due to choking hazard
o The Bailey Boys boy’s loungewear paints due to flammability standards
o ElliptiGO outdoor elliptical cycles due to front fork and drive arm axles detaching

Visit SafeKids.Org for more information on the above recalls and a list of other recalls.

What is a Safe Stopping Distance?

Have you ever wondered how far behind the car in front of you should stop?  A good rule of thumb is one car length.  In visual terms when you stop behind another vehicle you should see both of their back tires on the pavement and a little bit of the pavement in front of those tires.

How many times have you heard that someone was rear-ended causing them to rear-end the car in front them?  Probably quite a few.  The reason for this is that most people stop approximately three to four feet behind the car in front of them.  If they get rear-ended that lack of space causes them to rear-end the car in front of them.

If you leave that one car length space between you and the car in front of you that space is approximately fourteen feet.  This eliminates the chance of you rear-ending the vehicle in front you.  The benefit is two-fold, because having this fourteen feet between you and the car in front of you also gives you the ability to go around the car in front of you should that vehicle suddenly have a problem.  This way you won’t be stuck in traffic.

Space Heater Safety Tips

The cold weather has finally started to arrive, which means people will be plugging in their space heaters to keep warm in the office and at home.  While space heaters can be a great way to warm a small area, they are also extremely dangerous fire hazards if the proper safety precautions are not taken.  Space heaters are a common cause for house fires and often result in entire houses being burned to the ground.  So please exercise precaution and follow these simple safety tips to help you survive the low temperatures without harming your property or loved ones.

  1. Keep space heaters at least three feet away from combustible objects such as paper products, curtains, trash cans, and wood products.
  2. Do not use extension cords with space heaters unless absolutely necessary.
  3. Check the space heater’s cord periodically to make sure it is not frayed or damaged.  Do not use a space heater with a damaged cord because a fire could start from the damaged portion of the cord.
  4. Keep your space heater on a flat, level surface.  If a space heater falls, it could easily be put into a position where it starts a fire.
  5. Unless, your space heater is designed for use outdoors or in bathrooms, do not use your space heater in damp, wet areas.  This can cause a shorting of your unit and lead to disastrous results.
  6. Periodically check your plug and outlet fit.  If the plug becomes very hot, the outlet may need to be replaced.  This could be a sign of a potential home wiring issue.
  7. Remember, a space heater is not designed to replace your home’s heating system.  It is only designed to be a supplementary source of heat.
  8. Make sure your space heater is turned off and unplugged when you leave your home.

Follow these safe tips and you can have a safe, warm holiday season! If you’re still feeling cold at home with your space heater running, we suggest a warm cup of coffee or hot chocolate!

Report Details Safety Hazards That Cause Car and Truck Accidents

A report released in June by the American Association for Justice uncovers a number of preventable safety hazards that contribute to truck accidents. According to the report the problems are driven by an economic model that is fundamentally unsound. “Truck drivers – compensated by miles driven, not hours worked – are pushed to ignore safety measures, delay repairs and drive in a fatigued state,” it said.

In addition, the report notes that artificially low insurance limits prevent unsafe trucking carriers from ever being held accountable for the damages they cause. While a fatal truck crash today can result in approximately $4.3 million in damages, the insurance minimum for cargo trucks has remained frozen at $750,000 since 1980. U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania recently introduced the Safe Haul Act (H.R. 2730) to raise the required insurance minimum for motor carriers. (Rep. Cartwright discusses the issue here.)

Tips for Avoiding Car-Truck Accidents

  • Know that large trucks maneuver differently from cars and be extra-cautious as you approach.
  • One-third of all crashes between large trucks and cars involve blind spots. If you can’t see a truck’s side mirrors, the truck driver can’t see you.
  • Do not pass a truck on the right while the truck is turning right. The rear wheels follow a shorter path than the front wheels, so trucks must swing wide to the left to safely negotiate right turns.
  • Large vehicles require a much longer distance to stop than cars. Cutting in front of a truck or bus could result in a serious or fatal accident.
  • To properly pass a large truck or bus on the highway, accelerate slightly and maintain a consistent speed. Wait until you can see the entire cab in your rearview mirror before you signal and pull in.
  • If a truck appears to be starting a left turn, check which way the driver is signaling before passing on the right.
  • Give trucks at least four to six seconds of space in wet conditions and at highway speeds.
  • If you witness unsafe driving, report it to the authorities

Find more here, including tips for truck drivers.

Which car seat is right for my child?

Infant Car Seat

Infant car seats generally face the rear of the car and are only for babies up to 22-35 lbs (depending on manufacturer’s specifications) and 29-32 inches tall.  If your child is above the maximum weight or height limit for your infant car seat, it is time for you to move to the convertible car seat.

Convertible Car Seat

Convertible car seats still face the rear of the car at first, but then can be made to face forward as the child gets bigger.  The maximum weight limits for these types of car seats ranges from 40-80 lbs depending on the manufacturer’s specifications and up to 50 inches.  Another type of convertible car seat is the “3-in-1” or “All-in-One” car seat.  This seat is a combination of the convertible car seat with the booster seat.  This type of car seat can be economical because you are only buying one car seat instead of two or three, but bear in mind that most 3-in-1 car seats are not designed for infants.

Booster Seat

As your child continues to get older, your child will graduate from the car seat and be ready for the Booster Seat.  A booster seat is forward facing and its main purpose is to ensure that the seat belt properly protects your child.  Generally children are not large enough for the general seat belt to protect them properly in the result of a wreck.  The booster seat essentially raises your child’s seat and places them in a position where the seatbelt properly protects them by laying across their shoulder as intended.  In a crash, children who use a booster seat rather than the regular seat lessen their chance of injury by 45%.

The Food and Drug Administration Reports Contaminated Yogurt

The FDA has reported at least 89 people have been sick after eating Chobani yogurt manufactured in Idaho which may contain mold.   People have complained of nausea and cramping after ingesting the yogurt.  The contaminated yogurt container may have a bloated appearance.  Chobani has voluntarily recalled portions of their yogurt, but insists that the potential mold is not toxic unless the person already has a compromised immune system.  Check out al.com for more information at http://blog.al.com/wire/2013/09/fda_89_people_sickened_after_e.html#incart_river_default

Michelle Garcia and Angie Firmalino suffer debilitating side effects from approved birth control device

Michelle Garcia and Angie Firmalino have never met in person, but together they are warning thousands of women about complications associated with Essure. Billed as effective, permanent and surgery-free birth control, the Essure procedure involves blocking the fallopian tubes with inserts that look like tiny metal coils. One of Michelle’s coils broke and pierced her abdomen, requiring surgery to remove the coil and both damaged fallopian tubes. After suffering sharp stabbing pains, heavy bleeding, fevers, fatigue and depression for two years, Angie also had the coils removed only to discover that a piece broke off during surgery and remains lodged in her uterus.

Since starting a Facebook page and website called Essure Problems to warn friends and families about the product, Angie has heard from hundreds of other women who have also suffered complications from Essure. Meanwhile, Michelle is working with the American Association for Justice to protest a Supreme Court decision that exempts the manufacturers of FDA-approved medical devices like Essure from legal responsibility for injuries caused by their products. Read more about MichelleAngie and the latest news about women struggling with Essure.

A Mom Fights for Accountability on Energy Drinks

In 2012, 14-year-old Anais Fournier drank two 24-ounce cans of Monster energy drink within 24 hours, went into cardiac arrest and died. The cause of death listed on her autopsy report was “cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity“ in the presence of a heart condition. The caffeine Anais consumed is equivalent to 14 cans of Coca-Cola and is almost five times the recommended daily limit for children.

Thus began an odyssey for Wendy Crossland (Anais’ mom) that culminated recently with congressional hearings on the safety of energy drinks such as Monster, 5-Hour Energy, Red Bull, Rockstar and others. The revved-up sodas have been cited for a twofold increase in emergency room visits from 2007 to 2011 and reports of at least 18 deaths to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Read more about Casey and EndDD.

McFalls elected President of Huntsville Young Lawyers

Tim is proud to have been elected president of the Huntsville Young Lawyers and began his term August 6, 2013.  Tim, as new president, was honored to host the Sixth Annual Judicial Appreciation Party in honor of our Madison County Judges.

Tim had this to say about his opportunity to serve his local bar: “It is always special to be placed in a leadership position.  I hope to keep the proud tradition of our organization in serving our local lawyers.  As we help young lawyers in our community, we help the clients that those lawyers serve.”

Way to go Tim!