Take the Kids to a Fire Station – IT’S FIRE PREVENTION WEEK


This Saturday, October 11th, fire stations will open their doors to the public. There will be lots of firemen (and firewomen) to talk to the kids, show them around and answer questions. There will be lots of information, cool hand outs, games, and educational and interactive displays for kids … or big kids.

Here is a link to the National Fire Protection Association web site and a link to a kid quiz on the web site.

In case you live in Fairfax County, Virginia, and are looking for a fire station to visit — either in your neighborhood or in a new neighborhood you would like to explore — follow this link to Fairfax County Fire Stations so you will know where to go on the head out to on the 11th.

What Kinds of Mistakes Are Made at Your Child’s Hospital? Shouldn’t You Know?

In the past, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) published information about mistakes made at hospitals, including leaving foreign objects in patients’ bodies or when people were given the wrong blood type. As consumers of health services at hospitals, I think that’s information we would all want to know. Unbeknownst to the public, however, CMS stopped publishing such information. Evidently, it’s coming back – but not until later this year.

At least we will again have access to data about life-threatening mistakes made in hospitals. We can find out the history of used cars. We certainly ought to find out the performance history of our hospitals.

If your child has been injured, Rohrstaff Law Firm will help you find answers to your questions. Call 703-260-6070 or email Heather@RohrstaffLaw.com and ask for our FREE book, When the Bough Breaks: A Guide for Parents. We will send it right out to you.

Click below for the story from USA TODAY.

READ THIS Before Choosing In-Home Day Care

Important article in the Washington Post today about day care in Virginia. The story broke my heart — for the family who lost their child, but also for all the families who need good day care for their children.

In Virginia, in-home day care providers who care for fewer than five children DO NOT HAVE TO BE LICENSED! I am not suggesting that licensing alone makes for a good care giver, but it is one indication that someone who wants to care for your child was committed enough to go through the state’s licencing process.

One of the most helpful parts of the article was a large chart – DE-CODING DAY-CARE ADVERTISEMENTS. Often, parents must rely on sources such as Craigslist or other online sources (and even neighborhood information boards at grocery stores) to locate child care. The article provided six actual examples of in-home day care ads from Craigslist that had ambiguous language. 

If you or someone you know is looking for in-home day care, please, please read this article. You can also find good information at other articles I have posted. One article  - “Do You REALLY Need More Information About Choosing Child Care?” – contains links to many other sources.

To learn more about what you can do to prevent child injuries, order a FREE copy of our book, When the Bough Breaks: What Every Parent Should Know  – Or call us at 703-260-6070 or email Janelle@RohrstaffLaw.com, and we will get it out to you immediately.

8 Keys to END Bullying

I guess we are going to have to keep talking about bullying until somebody pays attention and we eliminate it from our children’s lives. Frankly, right now, we don’t even all agree that it is a problem instead of nothing more than a rite-of-passage that everyone has to face.

A new book by Signe Whitson, 8 Keys to END Bullying, offers an eight-step practical approach to preventing bullying. The author is a social worker and educator specializing in youth issues, and her book is written for parents, community leaders and teachers. One thing I like about the book is it recognizes that the solution is bigger than just punishing the bully.

I would love to hear what you think of the book and this author’s approach.

How to Install a Forward-Facing Car Seat

Now that your child has graduated to a front-facing car seat, you have new challenges. For instance, just how do you attach the car seat to the vehicle so that it holds your child safely and does not propel her forward in the event of a crash?

Here’s an excellent demonstration of  how to safely install the front-facing car seat AND how to securely position you child in the seat.

Thanks, Virginia DMV for the good information.


Is Your Child’s Caregiver Too “Social”?

It’s all over the news. I have written blogs about it. Lawyers talk about it. Moms and dads talk about it. But have you talked to your child’s caregiver about it?

I’m talking about social media  - using it, abusing it, wasting time with it, sharing too much information on it, posting pictures on it — and its having created giant open windows into our lives. We seem to have fallen head-over-heels in love with social media and have have become numb to the harms we could be causing.

If your child is with a caregiver, part time or full time, in your home or elsewhere, you should read this article posted on Care.com — “The Social Media Nanny: Dislike.” It has good tips on how to set boundaries for your child’s caregiver. Especially important are the comments about whether you will allow your child’s pictures to be posted on social media. It’s a must-read for all parents.

Frankly, it’s a must-read for parents whose children are not in someone else’s care. Parents love to take pictures of their children’s parties and other activities and post them on social media sites, especially Facebook and Instagram. You may want to talk to your friends and be sure you are in agreement about social media  boundaries.

FIREWORKS. Just because they are legal, doesn’t mean they are a good idea.

It’s that time of year again. You see fireworks stands popping up in shopping mall parking lots and along roadsides all over the country. Buying and setting off fireworks in backyards seems as American as grilling hotdogs and hamburgers.

Fireworks are exciting! They’re colorful! They’re noisy! They light up the sky! They’re dangerous! After all, they are explosives.

Around the July 4th holiday every year, fireworks injure and maim thousands of children. If fireworks are in your holiday plans, play it safe. This chart published by the Consumer Produce Safety Commission shows the percentages of injuries from various fireworks. (Even SPARKLERS are dangerous. The tip of a sparkler burns at more than 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit!)

fireworks injuries infographic

If your child is injured at a fireworks display, you may want to consider speaking to a child injury lawyer who can help you decide whether someone’s negligence caused her injury.

What Does Drowning Look like? Not What You Think.

Hot summer day. Cool off at the pool?  Great idea! BUT, do you know what a drowning child looks like? It’s not what you think. 

DROWNING IS THE NO. 2 CAUSE OF ACCIDENTAL DEATH IN CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 15. That makes it pretty darned important to know — and watch for — the signs of drowning.

According to Mario Vittone, a leading expert on water and boating safety,  drowning is usually a very quiet event, that looks rather undramatic — none of that yelling, waving and splashing you see in the movies.  Watch out for these signs that a swimmer is in distress:

  • Head low in the water, mouth at water level
  • Head tilted back with mouth open
  • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
  • Eyes closed
  • Hair over forehead or eyes
  • Not using legs – Vertical
  • Hyperventilating or gasping
  • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
  • Trying to roll over on the back
  • Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder.

Read his full article Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning and see a video of Instinctive Drowning Response posted on his blog.

And, please, when you take your children to the pool or the beach, leave your relaxing summer reading behind and watch your child every second. The younger the child, the less time it takes to drown. You only have a few seconds to be sure.



Are All The Children Off the Bus?

There is no excuse for leaving a child behind and unaccounted for. Be sure your child’s care giver has a way to count every child that gets out of the van or bus. All they have to do is COUNT. 

The “No Child Left Behind” law was enacted several years ago in an attempt to regulate and measure academic progress in pre-collegiate education. Whether it has been a success has been much debated since the Act went into effect. Making sure children get adequate public education is complicated.

What is not complicated, however, is taking “no child left behind” to heart when taking children off a school bus or day care van. It is as simple as 1-2-3.

If three children get on, then three children should get off at the destination. Although it is harder if there are 33 children instead of 3, the answer is still the same: count them when they get on and count them when they get off.

Field trips are a routine part of day care and school programs. They happen every day. Teachers and day care workers must know how to make sure the same children get off the bus (or out of cars or off public transportation) as those that started the trip. Have a checklist, have two people to do the counting – something!

For goodness’ sake: JUST DO IT!





Brain Injuries and Baseball — How to Avoid Them

  My friend Ken Levinson, a child safety lawyer in Chicago, has a great post on his blog, The Safest Line, about preventing baseball injuries, especially brain injuries.

Ken always gives parents useful tips and information to help them do the important job of keeping their children safe.

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