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Bipper for Safety

standard January 10, 2012 Leave a response

When C was a baby I lived in fear of only one thing: that I would be stranded somewhere with her, like in a snowdrift or something, with no access to food and no way to feed her.

Now, clearly that spoke more to my underlying issues about not being able to breastfeed her than any actual danger of getting stuck in a snowdrift… in California, but nevertheless, for the first ten months of her life I traveled around with a case of cans of pre-mixed formula in my car. Just. In. Case.

Of course, the day I did run out of formula and delved into my emergency stash she found the stuff revolting and refused to drink it, but that’s neither here nor there.

If that proves anything to you it’s that safety is always on my mind. And yet, the day I actually needed help, formula wasn’t what I needed most.

C was two and I was almost 7 months pregnant with Little L. We were driving home after a regular day at work/daycare. I was tired, but no more tired than usual and the traffic was heavy, but no more heavy than usual. We neared our exit and I started the long process of merging from the flowing carpool lane into the stop and go regular lane.

I spotted an opening and started to merge, when, with half of my Jeep Cherokee in one lane and half in the other the traffic to the traffic in the right hand lane came to a dead stop.

I’d had my blinker on for a while. When I started the merge the car behind me was easily three car lengths away. And yet the driver must not have seen my massive car jutting out into his lane because he didn’t swerve into the huge hard shoulder to his left. Instead he plowed right into us.

Then the car behind him plowed into him.

As did the two cars behind that guy.

So there I was, really pregnant, two year old in her car seat, at the head of a four car pileup on one of the busiest highways in the Bay. Not a pretty moment.

I pulled over to the hard shoulder and the four beat-up cars behind me followed suit and all I could think of was the life expectancy of a person standing on the side of a highway – 8 minutes – and the fact that the person at the head of a pile-up is usually considered to be at fault. 

My first reaction as I stood there was to call M. He’s personal injury attorney. Car accidents are his bread and butter. He’d be able to tell me what to say and do. He’d call the insurance. But of course I forgot to take into account the fact that M had just injured his neck and he was lying in bed, doped up on some serious muscle relaxants. His phone rang, and rang, and rang as my precious minutes ticked by until I finally realized I’d have to deal on my own.

I did deal that day. I didn’t say anything incriminating to the guy who hit me. (In fact I think I just blathered on and on about a) being pregnant and b) turn lights being there for a reason.) But after I left the scene of the accident and got C home safely, I grabbed my phone and changed M’s address book entry to “ICE- M, husband” so that in the future, if another accident didn’t have as good an outcome, the EMTs would know who to reach.

Of course, in hindsight I realize that on that day that would have done us precious little good. It’s not like he would have heard an EMT’s call any more than he heard mine, but it makes me feel safer to know that there’s a way to identify my husband out of the hundreds of contacts that litter my phone.

Today I downloaded an app that would more helpful in the case of another emergency. The Bipper bSafe app is designed to help you contact people who could help you if you were ever in need. Its smart interface ensures that you’ll always feel connected to your personal rescue team.

As soon as I had downloaded the app to my phone it suggested the people I would most likely call in an emergency based on the list of people I call most often. And that’s it. In case of an emergency I can now hit one button that will call M and text three close friends (as well as my sister in Chicago in case the local networks are bogged down). The text they receive will contain a map of my exact location and the request to send help.

The only way this app could be cooler is if I could text the highway patrol along with my personal network. A quick call to my local sheriff’s office assured me that this will be possible sooner rather than later.

No app can make the drivers around me better at controlling their cars, nothing can make parking lots or dark streets perfectly safe, but this one free app can help me feel like, next time I’m on the side of the road, wondering what I should do next, the answer might only be one push of a button away.

Please note, I was compensated for telling you all about Bipper’s bSafe app (Which you can get for yourself by entering your phone number on http://www.bipper.com/bsafe/ and download via SMS, or by searching for bSafe in either the iTunes or Android app stores, or by texting bSafe to 84145.) but the stories contained here as well as my excitement over this app are mine and mine alone.

Tiny Killers In Your Home

standard December 15, 2011 3 responses

Two years ago a good friend who is always, always, always online wasn’t on Skype when I got up and got ready to work. I searched my addled brain to try to remember if she’d mentioned any special outing that might have take her away from her usual post, but, other than vaguely remembering that her son had been complaining of a tummy ache, I came up blank. So I headed over to Twitter  and Facebook to find some clues.

I didn’t get a clue, I got a chilling answer.

My friend’s son had swallowed a button battery and was being rushed to the children’s hospital an hour away. The battery was lodged in his throat and was busy burning a hole in his esophagus.

I don’t pretend the remember the details of that day, though I’m sure his mom relives it in many of her nightmares (and you can read it here),  I do remember the horror I felt as I tried to imagine just how many things in our home contain button batteries.

Think about it. They’re in everything. Every little toy. Every watch. Every musical card. They’re in things you don’t even think might contain batteries. And, unlike products designed for specifically for kids, with battery covers that screw shut, most items have easy to open compartments.

Did you know that it only takes about two hours for a button battery to cause serious burns in a child’s esophagus? Another hour of waiting at home to see if his tummy ache would go away and my friend’s son might have been in the hospital for months recovering from serious reconstructive surgery.
Did you know that in 2010, there were more than 3,400 reported cases of children ingesting button batteries? The number of cases of children swallowing batteries has more than quadrupled in the past five years, but since the symptoms of coin-sized button battery ingestion may be similar to other childhood illnesses, such as coughing, drooling and discomfort the situation often goes goes unreported. 

My friend’s son was incredibly lucky, first that his mom trusted her mother’s intuition and rushed him to the ER and second that he got there in time for the battery to be removed safely. Not all kids are this lucky. 

This holiday season, when button batteries proliferate and parental vigilance dips, Safe Kids Worldwide and Energizer have announced a critical partnership to share life-saving information with parents and caregivers about the potential risks of swallowing coin-sized button batteries. The formation of “The Battery Controlled” by Safe Kids and Energizer shines a light on this growing issue and provides easy steps parents and caregivers can take to prevent injuries and deaths to children. 
  • Be proactive. Keep button batteries and devices that use them out of reach if the battery compartments aren’t secure.
  • Act quickly. If a child swallows a battery, go to the emergency room right away.
  • Spread the word. Tell others about this hidden danger and share these steps.

For more information on this important issue and for tips on how to protect your family, visit www.thebatterycontrolled.com or join the conversation on Facebook www.facebook.com/thebatterycontrolled or Twitter: www.twitter.com/batterycontrol Hashtag: #BatteryControlled

Still not convinced that there are button batteries lurking in your home? Maybe this video will change that.

Please note, I was compensated to share this information with you, but my concern for your little ones is very real. Keep the kids safe this holiday season.