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Bike Walk Education in Schools Act

Bike Walk Education

When previously discussing pedestrian accidents, we noted that children have a high risk of injury. Illinois crash data shows nearly five children are hit by people driving every day in Illinois while walking or biking within one block of a school. However, previously, Illinois had no requirement to educate children on how to bike and walk safely.

In 2018, the legislature introduced the Bike Walk Education in Schools Act (HB4799). It required school boards statewide to adopt policies for educating K-8 students about biking and walking safety. Then they would review/update these policies every two years. Schools boards determine how best to implement the requirement in their schools. Walking and biking safely helps kids get more physical activity, reducing the risk of obesity and promoting good overall health.

Governor Rauner signed the bill at the end of August. The law takes effect July 1, 2018. [Read more…]

Children Pedestrians: Teach Your Kids How to Walk Safely

The daughter of Broadway actress Ruthie Ann Miles’ 4-year-old daughter Abigail Blumenstein died when a driver allegedly suffered a medical condition, lost control of her car and sped through a crowded crosswalk. Tragically, the family followed all of the safety rules that one takes when they walk on a crowded crosswalk.

However, although some tragic events occur, you need to teach your children how to safely walk so minimize any potential accidents. In 2015, one in every five children under the age of 15 who were killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians.

How to Walk Safely

Safe Kids Worldwide recommends these seven safety tips for children pedestrians:

• Teach kids at an early age to look left, right and left again before crossing the street. Then remind them to continue looking around until safely across.
• Walk on sidewalks or paths and cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
• Teach kids to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.
• Children under 10 need to cross the street with an adult.
• Encourage kids to stay alert for cars that are turning or backing up.
• Teach kids not to run or dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
• If kids are walking when it’s dark out, teach them to be especially alert and make sure they are visible to drivers. Have them wear light- or brightly-colored clothing and reflective gear.

Eliminating Distractions for Children Pedestrians

Distracted driving continues to be a major issue for driver. However, distracted walking can also lead to accidents. On average, cars hit 44 kids per day while they walk. And many of these kids have headphones on. Teach your kids to put the phones down as they cross the street. Additionally, if they want to listen to music as they walk, make sure they have a volume setting that allows them to hear the sounds of the roads. Ideally, they will listen to only the sounds of the birds as they walk instead of anything that will distract them.

But most likely, act like the pedestrian you want them to be. If you walk, leave your phone at home. Set the example for your children pedestrians. As you drive, do not use your cell phone or any other distracting device.

It will keep your safe as you travel. But it also will provide your kids with the role model for their own safety.

If you or a loved one has been injured and need help after an accident occurred while you walked, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf.

Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd.helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

Protect Your Family From Bug Bites

Bug Bites

You’re enjoying your fire pit on a beautiful summer evening. But then you hear a buzzing around your head. A small mosquito lands on your arm and you’re too slow to swat it away. Although the resulting bump may get itchy, unfortunately, bug bites could lead to more serious issues.

Bugs, including mosquitoes, ticks, and some flies, can spread diseases like Zika, dengue, and Lyme disease. Unfortunately, many of these cannot be prevented or treated with a vaccine or medicine. But you can reduce your risk by taking steps to prevent bug bites.

  • Avoid outdoor activities during dusk and dawn when mosquitos are most active
  • Avoid playing in or around standing puddles of water or flowerbeds
  • Wear thin, long sleeved shirts and long pants to minimize skin exposure

What Kind of Bug Spray Should I Use?

Generally, bug spray is okay to use. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET.

However, follow these instructions for applying repellent on children:

  • Do not use insect repellents on babies younger than 2 months old.
  • Do not use products containing OLE or PMD on children younger than 3 years old.
  • Children should not touch repellent. Adults should apply it to their hands and gently spread it over the child’s exposed skin.
  • Do not apply repellent to children’s hands because they tend to put their hands in their mouths.

Apply insect repellent to exposed skin. Additionally, children should never apply it on their own. When applying insect repellent to your child’s face, spray it into your hands, and then rub it onto your child’s face. Make sure to avoid their mouth and eyes. Lastly, never use repellents on cuts, wounds or irritated skin.

Beware the Ticks

When children play in a wooded area, they should wear protective clothing like long sleeves to avoid ticks. Bug spray helps, too, but with ticks, clothing is the best defense. Although they don’t cause the bug bites we all think of, they have become more prevalent in the Northwest Suburbs.

A government study recently stated that to prepare for summer protection from ticks, wear clothes  pretreated with permethrin. Permethrim is a synthetic form of an insect-thwarting compound from the chrysanthemum flower. You can find it in insecticide sprays and shampoos and creams that treat lice and scabies.

Doctors worry about ticks because they can cause illness, like Lyme disease. Parents should check kids’ heads and bodies to look for ticks. Remove a tick with a tweezers. Lastly, if you need assurance that your children are safe, some doctors’ offices can test the bug.


Keep Your Children Safe in a Car Seat

car seat

We all want to be able to protect our children. We need to keep them safe. Many of us research the cars we buy and their safety standards. But why do we not go through the same standard checks for our car seats?

Car seats allow parents to provide protection for babies and children in the event of car crash.  However, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “car crashes are a leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13.”

The main problem: people install the car seats incorrectly. More than half of all seats are installed incorrectly. This can means the sliver of a difference between life and death. However, such organizations like Safe Kids help parents figure out how to properly place it into a car to keep your travels as safe as possible.

Safe Kids

Safe Kids provides Checkups. A checkpoint includes a technician teaching an adult how to properly install the car seat. Additionally, the technician checks that the seat fits the child. In fact, you can find where a checkpoint is near your house. Or how to search for a local technician.

Check and Register Your Child’s Car Seat

Consider four main points. Parents should

  1. First, always read the car seat’s instructions and your car’s owner’s manual. Install using either the lower anchors 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. Since every car seat and vehicle is different, follow all instructions carefully.
  2. Next, place the car seat in the back seat of your vehicle. Make it secure. The car seat “should not move side-to-side or front-to-back more than 1 inch when pulled at the belt path.”
  3. Additionally, if a car seat faces forwards and has a tether strap, attach the seat to the tether anchor and tighten. The tether limits forward head movement in a crash.
  4. Lastly, if the car seat faces the rear, check that the installation puts the seat at the correct recline angle.

Follow the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration detailed car seat installation instructions and videos.

Lastly, many fire departments provide checkups for installed car seats.

Be sure to register your car seat with the manufacturer. This allows you to receive consumer reports and provide recalls. Consumers can also register with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to receive product updates.

About the Firm

Ronald F. Wittmeyer, Jr. practices plaintiffs' personal injury law at his office in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

About Ron


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