Wellness Wednesday: Playing it safe with fireworks

We’re coming up on the 4th of July. Hooray for a day off with parties, good food and good times!

hd-wallpaper-with-fireworks-at-new-years-eveOf course, we should never forget why we are actually blessed with this holiday. So we celebrate the birthplace of our nation with cheer, American flags, ceremonies and (of course) fireworks.

Unfortunately, this is also the time of year when the emergency department sees a bit of an uptick in the number of abrasions, burns and more serious injuries stemming from these brightly burning festive sticks of fire. So, this is why we urge you to please, please leave the fireworks to the professionals!

In 2017, 67 percent of the estimated annual fireworks-related, emergency department-treated injuries occurred between June 16 and July 16. Almost three quarters happened in one month!

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), eight people died and more than 12,900 were injured badly enough to require medical treatment after fireworks-related incidents in 2017. 2017 saw the highest number of fireworks-related injuries in at least 15 years. Of those injuries, 8,700 were treated during that one month period surrounding the 4th of July. And if that wasn’t bad enough, 36 percent of those injured were children under the age of 15.


2017 saw the highest number of fireworks-related injuries in at least 15 years.


Sparklers

Ignited sparkler with the American flag in the background

Many people think sparklers are the perfect way for a child to be part of a 4th of July celebration. They can wave them around, make swirls and letters and everyone has a good time.

Except when they don’t.

Sparklers can burn anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 degrees—hot enough to melt some metals. Sparklers can quickly ignite clothing, and many children have received severe burns from dropping sparklers on their feet.

The CPSC reports that approximately 16 percent of all consumer fireworks injuries are caused by sparklers burning hands and legs. Young children account for the majority of sparkler injuries.

As disappointed as they may be, do not let children younger than 12 hold a sparkler. They often lack the physical coordination to handle sparklers safely and likely will not know what to do in an emergency. Close supervision of older children is necessary.

Safe Fireworks?

fireworksThere are no such thing as completely safe fireworks. But there are ways to keep you and your family safe during a fireworks celebration.

  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.

CPSC Fireworks Safety Video

Pets and FireworksFourth of July kitten

No, we’re not going to tell you to not let your pet play with fireworks. We sincerely hope you already know that is a very, very bad idea! And if not, I guess this serves as us telling you.

It is important though to keep pets safe over the 4th of July holiday. And this does include keeping them away from fireworks but not just because of injury.

July 5 is the busiest day of the year for pet shelters. This is because so many animals become anxious and frightened by the loud noises of fireworks and escape their yards, homes and leashes.

We recommend you leave your pets at home when attending any celebration during the holiday. And even at home, you should take precautions even if your pet has never ran away or escaped before.

And it’s not just dogs. Many people have barbecues and parties for the holiday. This means a lot of people going in and out of the house, including children, leaving the door open long enough for a quick escape.

So it’s probably best to make sure your pet is in a secure inside room with plenty of food and water and someplace to tuck into when the loud noises start.

It’s also a time when a lot of different foods are left out and are sometimes dropped on the floor. So there is a greater chance of your pet getting hold of a food that may not be very good for him. Also the ASPCA notes, that citronella-based repellents, oils, candles and insect coils are irritating toxins to pets.

The American Veterinary Medical Association and ASPCA recommend that you consider microchipping your pet, even if he spends all his time indoors. And you should be sure the information on the chip is kept up to date with your current phone and address or Veterinarian information.

Most Injured Body Parts 2018

Conclusion

We want this to be an enjoyable, festive and safe holiday for you, and your family (including your pets). So please #CelebrateSafely and Happy 4th of July!

Sources: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, American Veterinary Medical Association.


More information:

NFPA Fireworks Infographic

CPSC Fireworks Information Center

AVMA: July 4th Safety

ASPCA: Fourth of July Safety Tips

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Wellness Wednesday: Fireworks Safety

Each July 4th, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks. Despite the dangers of fireworks, few people understand the associated risks—devastating burns, other injuries, fires, and even death.

Firework Background - 4th July Independence day celebrationFireworks are no joke. They are not toys and should not be handled by children or even by untrained adults. However, if you (adults) are determined to use fireworks, you must put your safety and the safety of those around you above all else.

Fireworks by the numbers

  • Fireworks were involved in an estimated 11,900 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during calendar year 2015
  • An estimated 8,000 fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during the one-month period between June 19 and July 19, 2015.
  • Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for 26 percent of the estimated 2015 injuries. Forty-two percent of the estimated emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries were to individuals younger than 20 years of age. (Note that this means more than half of injuries were to adults over the age of 21!)
  • There were an estimated 1,900 emergency department-treated injuries associated with sparklers and 800 with bottle rockets.

Ignited sparkler with the American flag in the backgroundFollow these safety tips

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees—hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.

Fireworks and pets

 

july-4-dog
Click to enlarge

More pets go missing on July 4th than any other day of the year. The days surrounding the holiday are the busiest at shelters because many pets get scared of the loud noises and strange burning smells and run off. Also, the additional people at holiday barbecues, leaving open doors and/or gates, can contribute. Even indoor cats who have never run off can go missing.

 

So pay close attention to your pets. Be sure you check all gates and doors throughout the day. Don′t allow your pets near any fireworks, candles or foods they shouldn′t eat. And always have a safe place for them to retreat, away from the noise.

Alternatives to fireworks

4th-of-July-Confetti-PoppersThere are other ways to celebrate the 4th of July. If you don′t have to stay home, enjoy a public display put on by professionals. If you are hosting a party or invited to one, here are some fun, child-friendly ideas:

  • Piñatas … You can purchase or make your own colorful paper-mache piñatas, filled with red, white and blue confetti and candy!
  • Confetti-filled balloons … fill balloons with red, white and blue confetti and let the kids pop them.
  • Glow in the dark toys and bubbles … great for after dark with no worry about fire.
  • Confetti poppers … again, incorporates the red, white and blue colorful display with a popping noise.
  • Noisemakers … always a hit!

Conclusion

Remember, fireworks can be dangerous, causing serious burn and eye injuries. You can help prevent fireworks-related injuries and deaths. By spreading the word and practicing safety at your next holiday barbecues.

Sources: National Council on Fireworks Safety, Consumer Product Safety Commission, National Fire Protection Association, Petfinder, Safe Kids and Protect America.


More Information:

Fireworks Safety Tips [PDF]

Fireworks Fact Sheet [PDF]

4th of July Piñata Balloons

4th of July Flag Balloon Game

DIY Confetti Poppers

 

Wellness Wednesday: Ergonomics

Ergonomics is the science of designing a person′s environment so that it facilitates the highest level of function. A person′s work environment should fit his or her capabilities as a worker.

Business woman with neck pain sitting at computerGood ergonomics prevent injury and promote health, safety, and comfort for employees.

The use of ergonomics principles can increase worker productivity and quality. Employers can implement a program that includes guidelines for employees to follow, contributes to an efficient work environment, prevents injuries and the development of chronic medical conditions, and helps employees return to work after an injury has occurred.

Occupational therapy practitioners are trained in the structure and function of the human body and the effects of illness and injury. They also can determine how the components of the workplace can facilitate a healthy and efficient environment or one that could cause injury or illness. An occupational therapist can help employers identify hazards that may contribute to on-the-job injury, and determine how it can be eliminated.

What can an occupational therapist do?

  • Identify and eliminate accident and injury risk factors in the workplace, such as actions associated with repetition, force, fixed or awkward postures, poorly designed tool handles, heavy loads, distance, vibration, noise, extreme temperatures, poor lighting, and psychosocial and other occupational stresses.
  • Analyze job functions and job descriptions based on job tasks.
  • Design pre-hire screenings to determine a candidate’s suitability to a particular job.
  • Modify tools and equipment so that they do not enable injury or illness.
  • Provide education and training on injury prevention, workplace health and safety regulations, and managing job-related stress.
  • Determine reasonable accommodations and worksite accessibility that is in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
  • Recommend changes employers can take to minimize injury and accident risk factors.

What can a person do to employ good ergonomics in the workplace?

  • Take a proactive approach to preventing injury in the workplace.
  • Follow guidelines set forth by employers that may prevent injury and illness.
  • Report hazards or poor work conditions or employee behavior that may contribute to illness or injury in the workplace.

Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants are trained in helping both adults and children with a broad range of physical, developmental, and psychological conditions. Practitioners also help clients and their caregivers with strategies that can prevent injury and secondary complications, and support health and well-being.

Copyright 2004 by the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.

Wellness Wednesday: Winter Weather Safety

The winter season is almost upon us. Unless you live in a balmy, warm climate area, you are probably going to see at least a coating of some snow, sleet or ice this winter. Depending on where you live, you may see a lot more than others.

Winter weather can be dangerous whether you are driving or just staying home. Roads that may only appear wet, could be in fact icy. So it’s important that you are prepared for the worst and hope for the best.

Driving Safety

winter_driving_infographicOn average, weather-related vehicle crashes kill 6,253 people and injure more than 480,000 each year, according to the Department of Transportation. Most of these accidents occur when the roadways are wet, snowy or icy. When the weather takes a turn for the worse this winter, take precautions if you have to be out on the roadways. Whether there is a coating of snow or ice on the roadways, or the asphalt just looks wet, SLOW DOWN! If the temperature is near freezing, drive like you’re on ice—you may be!

AAAcarkitCarry a car emergency kit and blankets in your car. You never know when you may get stuck in a weather-related traffic jam or your car might break down. Without power, you’ll have no heat. So it’s a good idea to keep some emergency blankets in your car for warmth in case you need to wait it out.

Snow Shoveling Safety

Shoveling hundreds of pounds of snow after months of inactivity can put a big strain on the heart.

snow-shovelThe National Safety Council (NSC) recommends the following tips to shovel safely:

  • Do not shovel after eating or while smoking
  • Take it slow and stretch out before you begin
  • Shovel only fresh, powdery snow; it’s lighter
  • Push the snow rather than lifting it
  • If you do lift it, use a small shovel or only partially fill the shovel
  • Lift with your legs, not your back
  • Do not work to the point of exhaustion

Don’t pick up that shovel without a doctor’s permission if you have a history of heart disease. If you feel tightness in the chest or dizziness, stop immediately. A clear driveway is not worth your life.

Snow Blower Safety

Pushing a heavy snow blower also can cause injury. And, there’s the cold factor. Cold weather can increase heart rate and blood pressure. It can make blood clot more easily and constrict arteries, which decreases blood supply. This is true even in healthy people. Individuals over the age of 40 or who are relatively inactive should be particularly careful.

Be safe with these tips from the American Society for Surgery of the Hand and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons:

  • If the blower jams, turn it off
  • Keep your hands away from the moving parts
  • Do not drink alcohol and use the snow blower
  • Be aware of the carbon monoxide risk of running a snow blower in an enclosed space
  • Refuel your snow blower when it is off, never when it is running

More Information:

NWS Winter Storm Safety

Ready.gov

Wellness Wednesday: Holiday Shopping Safety

It’s the time of year you love or hate … getting ready for the winter holidays. People are out in droves looking for those perfect gifts. Even if you steered far from the Black Friday frenzy, you know that the next few weeks are going to feature trips to crowded stores.

If you’ve finished your holiday shopping, kudos to you! You are ahead of most of us. But there’s still a good chance you may find yourself needing to make a trip to your local Target, Walmart or Walgreens during December, even if it’s to pick up household necessities.

While most people are just going about their merry way, reveling in the Christmas spirit, there are bound to be a few grinches out there who may want to steal your fun … and your wallet! So, especially at this time of year, you should be extra careful when you are out shopping.

Here are some tips to practice safe holiday shopping:

On the Internet …

Happy young woman online shopping for Christmas presentsAlways make sure your anti-virus software is up-to-date. Keep your personal information private and your password secure.

Stick to business websites that you know. Use websites for big name retailers like Target, Walmart, Kohl’s, Macys, etc. Or use reputable online-only retailers like Amazon, Wayfair, Overstock, Zappos, etc. Make sure to review their shipping and return policies before you make a purchase. If you use a site such as ebay or Etsy, review the seller’s background, policies and feedback first.

Legitimate businesses will never ask for your password. They will NOT ask you to click on an unsolicited email to verify your account. So unless you initiated the contact, do not click! Additionally, you can ignore any email that says a Nigerian Prince is giving you money, that Aunt Sally is in jail and needs cash right now, or that the IRS is investigating you. (If you do have an Aunt Sally and she is in jail, you’ll hopefully get a phone call, not an email.)

If you get an email that looks somewhat legit but asks you to click on something, don’t do it. One such example is an email from PayPal that says you have authorized a large payment for something you know you didn’t purchase. It might look like it came from PayPal. It might have the logo and appear all official-like. But the minute it asks you to click on a link, that’s your red flag. If you are concerned, most companies have an email account you can send suspicious emails to. For PayPal, you can forward it to spoof@paypal.com.

In the store …

Woman with Shopping BagsKeep your purse close at all times. Do not leave it in a cart! Purse snatchers are quick and are always looking for opportunity. Don’t give them one.

Know the prices of what you are purchasing. Make note of signs advertising sale prices and watch as the items are scanned.

Save your receipts. Keep them at least until the credit card bills or bank statements come in. If they are gifts, ask the cashier for gift receipts and place them with the item for safe keeping.

Always have your keys in your hand when approaching your vehicle. Make a quick check of the back seat and around and under the car as you approach and before getting in. When loading your car, again, keep your purse on you. If you put it in the car, make sure the passenger side doors are locked. Most cars, when you unlock the back doors, all of the doors unlock.

Do not leave packages visible through your car windows. Lock them in the trunk or, if possible, take them directly home. If you have to place them in the back seat, cover them with a blanket. Again, thieves are looking for easy targets.

If you are shopping with children, keep them close and make sure they know what to do if they get separated from you.

Getting everything home …

Senior couple gets help at store loading television into carRemember … whatever you buy, you have to carry. All that shopping can add up when you’re carrying multiple bags around the mall. Distribute the items into equal weights and carry some in each hand to wreak less havoc on your body. Ask a store associate for help getting large items out to your car.

If you can, take your packages back to your car and place them in the trunk. Again, try to avoid putting your packages in the back seat where they are visible. And always be aware of your surroundings in the parking lot.

You also have to get these items from the store to your home. So before you make a purchase of a large item, make sure it will fit into your car. Bring a tape measure with you. Last thing you want is to get that large flat screen TV all the way out to your car and find out it doesn’t fit!

When you do get home, don’t be a hero! There is no prize for bringing all of your bags inside in one trip. Take your time. And if you have purchased something large or heavy, plan ahead to have help getting it inside.

Shipped items …

Keep track of your online purchases and when they are scheduled to ship. Save and/or print out tracking numbers and request text updates. You will be notified by text when the item is shipped, when it’s out for delivery and when it’s delivered. If your item does not arrive when it is supposed to, recheck the tracking information and contact the seller to be sure it shipped to the correct address.

Have purchases shipped to an alternate location if you won’t be home. Thieves, dubbed ‘porch pirates,’ have been known to take packages right off front porches. Some will even follow delivery trucks, waiting for an opportunity. According to Insurancequotes.com, more than 20 million packages were reported stolen from homes last year. So consider having your item shipped to a friend or family member who will be home. Additionally, if you order from Amazon.com, they offer self-service delivery locations called Amazon Lockers, where customers can pick up and return Amazon.com packages. There are locations in and around major cities. You can find out if there is a location near you on their website.


More Information:

10 Ways to Keep Your Packages Safe This Holiday Season

Amazon Lockers

Top Tips for Safe Online Holiday Shopping

Safety Tips for Holiday Shopping with Kids

 

Wellness Wednesday: Keeping Children Safe in the Car

“Right Seat. Right Time. Right Use”

Installing child safety chair on back seat of the carThe week of September 18-24, 2016 is Child Passenger Safety Week. Every parent wants to protect their children and keep them safe. The best way to protect children in a car is to secure them in the right seat, at the right time, and to use it the right way.

The just-released NHTSA 2015 National Survey of the Use of Booster Seats shows 37.4 percent of children ages 4 to 7 in the U.S. were not being properly restrained. Of that number, 25.8 percent were restrained by seat belts and 11.6 percent were unrestrained completely. 13.6 percent of children from 1 to 3 years old were prematurely transitioned to booster seats, a significant increase from the prior year.


In 2015, there were 35,092 motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the United States. That’s 2,348 more fatalities than the 32,744 in 2014. This 7.2 percent increase is the largest percentage increase in nearly 50 years.


Pennsylvania Crash Facts and Seat Belt Numbers

  • In 2015, there were 127,127 reportable traffic crashes in Pennsylvania. These crashes claimed the lives of 1,200 people and injured another 80,004 people.
  • On average in Pennsylvania:
    • Each day 348 reportable traffic crashes occurred—about 15 crashes every hour.
    • Each day 225 persons were injured in reportable crashes—about 9 injuries every hour.
  • In every age group, male drivers are involved in more crashes than female drivers. Male drivers ages 21-25 were involved in more crashes than drivers in any other age group (male or female).
  • In 2015, more crashes occurred in daylight than all other light levels combined. And the vast majority occurred under no adverse conditions (i.e., rain, snow, fog, etc.).
  • The combination of lap/shoulder seat belts, when used, reduces the risk of fatal injuries to front seat passenger car occupants by 45% and the risk of moderate-to-critical injuries by 50%.
  • Pennsylvania seat belt usage rate was 79.4% in 2015. National statistics show that for every one percent increase in seat belt usage, 8 to 12 lives can be saved on the highways.
  • Research shows that children are likely to be buckled 92% of the time when adults are buckled and only 72% of the time when adults are not buckled. Everyone should buckle up, every time!
  • All passengers should wear a seat belt whenever riding in a motor vehicle—even for short distances. Three out of four crashes occur within 25 miles of home.
  • From 2011-2015, 82% of the children under age 4 who were involved in crashes and restrained in a child seat sustained no injury.

(Source: 2015 Pennsylvania Crash Facts and Statistics)

Child Safety Seats Statistics

Happy baby girl in a car seat

  • Motor vehicle traffic crashes were the leading cause of death for children age 4 and the second leading cause of death for children age 3 and every age 5 through 14 in 2013.
  • Every 33 seconds a child under age 13 is involved in a crash.
  • NHTSA estimates that correctly used child restraints are even more effective than seat belts in reducing fatalities. Child restraints reduce fatalities by 71% for infants younger than one year old and by 54% for children 1 to 4 years old in passenger cars.
  • Among children younger than age 5, an estimated 252 lives were saved in 2014 by restraint use. At 100% child safety seat use for those under 5 years old, an additional 37 could have been saved in 2014.
  • Booster seat use among 4- to 7-year-old children was 44.5% in 2015. The appropriate restraint system for 4- to 7-year-old children is either a forward-facing car seat or a booster seat, depending on the child’s height and weight.
  • Restraint use among children 8 to 12 years old whose height is between 37 to 53 inches decreased significantly to 83.4% in 2015 from 90% in 2013.

 (Source: NHTSA)


Area Car Seat Safety Checks

csa_2015_29Saturday, September 24 is National Seat Check Saturday. Parents can bring their children and infant car seats to the following area locations over the next few days to be checked and shown how to properly install them.


Chester County:

September 22, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

West Goshen Police Department
1025 Paoli Pike, West Chester, PA 19380

Appointment Required: For an appointment, call Charlie Vilotti at 610.906.2711 or email cvilotti@chesco.org.

September 24, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Kelly Chevrolet
600 Nutt Road, Route 23, Phoenixville, PA 19460
For an appointment, call Charlie Vilotti at 610.906.2711 or email cvilotti@chesco.org. Walk-Ins welcome.


Delaware County:

September 23, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Trooper Greene, 484.840.1000
PA State Police – Media
1342 W. Baltimore Pike, Media, PA 19063


Montgomery County:

September 22, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

SEPA Safe Kids
Battalion 1 Fire Station
325 Stump Road, Montgomeryville, PA 18936
Appointment Required: Schedule online at www.chop.edu/kohlschildsafety

September 24, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Trooper Wright, 610.584.2832
Upper Frederick Township Building
3205 Big Road, Obelisk, PA 19492


Philadelphia County:

September 24, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

SEPA Safe Kids
AAA Car Care Insurance & Travel Center
1601 S. Columbus Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19148
Appointment Required: Schedule online at www.chop.edu/kohlschildsafety


For more information:

Pennsylvania’s Child Passenger Protection Laws

How to Find the Right Car Seat

www.pakidstravelsafe.org/car-seats

Wellness Wednesday: Are Vaccinations on your back-to-school list?

VaccinationAll school-age children, from preschoolers to college students, need vaccines. The CDC has online resources and tools to help parents and doctors make sure all kids are up to date on recommended vaccines and protected from serious diseases.

What All Parents Need To Know

Making sure that children of all ages receive all their vaccinations on time is one of the most important things you can do as a parent to ensure your children’s long-term health—as well as the health of friends, classmates and others in your community.

To keep children in schools healthy, your state may require children going to school to be vaccinated against certain diseases, such as pertussis (whooping cough). If you’re unsure of your state’s school requirements, now is the time to check with your child’s doctor, your child’s school, or your health department. That way, you can get your child any vaccines he  or she needs before the back-to-school rush.

Immunization Requirements for Child Care and School

The CDC does not set immunization requirements for schools or child care centers. Instead, each state decides which immunizations are required for your child’s enrollment and attendance at a child care facility or school in that state.

  • Talk to a staff member to learn what vaccines are required at the school or child care facility in which you would like to enroll your child. They will be able to provide you with specific information about their requirements.
  • If you would like to know your state’s immunization requirements, contact your State’s Immunization Program or Department of Health.
  • CDC also has a tool to help find more information about your state’s school vaccination requirements. (Select your state under “Grantee” options, your child’s level, and click “Get Results” to view your state vaccination requirements.)

BackToSchool

Disease Outbreaks Still Happen

It’s true that some vaccine-preventable diseases have become very rare thanks to vaccines. However, cases and outbreaks still happen. In 2014, the United States experienced a record number of measles cases. From January 1 to August 1, 2014, there were 593 cases of measles reported in the U.S., with 18 outbreaks of this disease. From January 1 to June 16, 2014, almost 10,000 cases of whooping cough were reported to CDC by 50 states and Washington, D.C. These numbers represent a 24 percent increase compared with the same time period in 2013.

Outbreaks of whooping cough at middle and high schools can occur as protection from childhood vaccines fades. Those who are vaccinated against whooping cough but still get the disease are much more likely to have a mild illness compared to those who never received the vaccine.

Making sure your children stay up to date with vaccinations is the best way to protect your communities and schools from outbreaks that can cause unnecessary illnesses and deaths.

Vaccines for Your Young Children (Newborns through 6 years old)

2014 Recommended Immunizations for Children from Birth Through 6

During the early years of life, your children need vaccines to protect them from 14 diseases that can be serious, even life-threatening. Parents who choose not to vaccinate their children increase the risk of disease not only for their own children, but also for other children and adults throughout the entire community. For example, vulnerable newborns too young to have received the maximum protection from the recommended doses of vaccines or people with weakened immune systems, such as some people with cancer and transplant recipients, are also at higher risk of disease.

Flu vaccines are recommended for kids in preschool and elementary school to help keep them healthy. In fact, all children 6 months and older should get flu vaccines. Getting all of your children vaccinated—as well as other family members and caregivers—can help protect infants younger than 6 months old. Ask your family’s doctor or nurse about getting flu shots or the nasal spray to protect against flu.

Parents can find out what vaccines their children need and when the doses should be given by reviewing CDC’s recommended Childhood Immunization Schedule.

Vaccines for Your Preteens and Teens (7 years old through 18 years old)

2015 Recommended Immunizations for Children from 7 Through 18 Ye

Preteens and teens need vaccines, too! As kids get older, they are still at risk for certain diseases. Before heading back to school, three vaccines are recommend for 11-12 year olds—HPV, Tdap, and meningococcal conjugate vaccine—for continued protection.

HPV vaccine is important because it can prevent HPV infections that can cause cancer later in life. For other diseases, like whooping cough, the protection from vaccine doses received in childhood fades over time. That’s why 11–12 year-olds are also recommended to get the booster shot called Tdap to help protect them from whooping cough, tetanus, and diphtheria. Meningococcal conjugate vaccine helps prevent two of the three most common causes of meningococcal disease, which can be very serious—even life-threatening.

It’s important to know that flu can be serious, even for healthy, young people. Preteens and teens are no exception. So older kids should get at least one flu vaccine every year.

To learn more about vaccines for your preteens and teens, talk to your child’s healthcare provider or visit the CDC’s preteen and teen vaccine pages. If your preteens or teens haven’t already gotten their vaccines, you should get them caught up as soon as possible.

The Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program offers vaccines at no cost for eligible children through doctors enrolled in the program. Find out if your child qualifies.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention