Just Drive! Stay Focused and Avoid Distractions behind the Wheel

By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation

Sadly, thousands die every year due to distracted driving. As technology advances, the ability to send a text or email, maTkd 1868crpdke a phone call or update social media are all common distractions that increase the risk of a crash. The month of April has been designated Distracted Driving Awareness Month by the National Safety Council in an effort to draw attention to this epidemic. When you get behind the wheel, avoid distractions and “Just Drive!”

Every eight seconds, someone is hurt in a car crash. In 2016, an estimated 40,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes, which is the highest in nine years. Additionally, 4.6 million roadway users were injured seriously enough to require medical attention last year. On the farm, new technologies in agriculture have helped make farmers more efficient, but can also cause distractions leading to injury or death.

In the hustle and bustle of daily life and the struggle to balance work, family and other responsibilities, many try to multitask whether on a short trip to town or long commute to the office. Unfortunately, both driving and cell phone use requires a great deal of thought. Other distracted drivers on the road, wildlife, pedestrians and severe weather conditions are already present and can provide a greater risk when getting behind the wheel. Here are a few ways you can stay safe and keep distractions at bay:

  1. Make a pledge – Encourage your family to make a pledge to refrain from the use of cell phones when behind the wheel. Have younger children hold you accountable for this pledge. This can mean the difference between life and death.
  2. Your food can wait – Eating and drinking while driving can also cause distractions. Spilling a hot coffee or reaching for lost French Fries can easily cause your eyes and focus to leave the roadway. Also, be cognizant of your alcohol consumption. Never drive impaired and know the legal alcohol limit for your state. If on medications, identify any side effects that may present a distraction when driving.
  3. Plan ahead – Before you venture on the road, make adjustments to seats, headrests, mirrors and vehicle controls. If using GPS or navigation systems, enter the address ahead of time or pull over to a safe area to set.
  4. Keep it in park – Keep accessories you may need when driving, such as sunglasses and blue tooth ear pieces, close by. Place distractions out of reach. Avoid applying make-up, painting your nails, combing your hair, changing your clothes and other grooming practices while driving.
  5. Safety first and always – Fasten your seat belt and assure passengers do the same before putting your car in drive.

These safety tips were brought to you by the Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® program. For more information on safety or for details about hosting, donating, volunteering or attending at a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®, visit www.progressiveag.org or call us toll-free at 888-257-3529.

Photo:  At a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® held in Minnesota, participants learn some common distractions that can arise when driving through the use of a simulated game.

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It’s National Nutrition Month: Put Your Best Fork Forward

By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation

09-1033_healthylifestyles_402Each March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recognizes National Nutrition Month® with an education and information campaign. This effort serves as a reminder that each one of us hold the tools to make healthier food choices. National Nutrition Month®, celebrated each year since 1980, focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. The 2017 theme, “Put Your Best Fork Forward,” reminds us that each bite counts. It also shows how making small changes during National Nutrition Month® and over time, helps improve health now and into the future.

At Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® across North America, more than 90 of our annual safety events offer a station to engage participants in goal setting, self-discipline and decision making for a healthier lifestyle. During hands-on activities and demonstrations, participants learn how to read labels, select smart snacks, adopt physical activities or commit to daily exercise, understand the benefits of water, uncover the amount of sugar in various beverages and compare healthy and oversized portions. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics share these five tips to “Put Your Best Fork Forward” this year:

  1. Create an eating style that includes a variety of your favorite, healthful foods.
  2. Practice cooking more at home and experiment with healthier ingredients.
  3. How much we eat is as important as what we eat. Eat and drink the right amount for you, as MyPlate encourages us to do.
  4. Find activities that you enjoy and be physically active most days of the week.
  5. Manage your weight or lower your health risks by consulting a registered dietitian nutritionist. RDNs can provide sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice to meet your lifestyle, preferences and health-related needs.

Celebrate National Nutrition Month® and get the entire family involved in adopting a healthy lifestyle. Play games, download tip sheets, view recipe videos and more at http://sm.eatright.org/NNMinfo

Since 1995, more than 1.5 million children and youth have been impacted by the Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® program. For more information on safety or for details about hosting, donating, volunteering or attending at a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®, visit www.progressiveag.org or call us toll-free at 888-257-3529.

Photo:  Making healthy choices when it comes to diet and exercise are what these participants learn at a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® in Illinois. Many Safety Days throughout North America offer a healthy lifestyles component.

Watch Your Step: Steer Clear of Slips, Trips and Falls

By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation

dsc01321You may have heard the saying, “a spill or slip can lead to a hospital trip!” From ice on the sidewalks to toys left on the stairs, the dangers of hidden hazards are all around us. The aftermath of slips, trips and falls can not only cause injury and physical pain, but days missed at work or school, lost wages and medical bills. According to the National Safety Council, 2016 data reveals that falls are the third leading cause of death in the United States. In 2014 alone, falls accounted for more than 32,000 deaths in the home, community and workplace.

Slips, trips and falls are a common cause of most of the injuries on farms. Weather hazards, rushing to complete daily tasks, poor housekeeping, bad traction, and wet, oily or uneven surfaces account for many incidents.  Fortunately, many of these incidents involving slips and falls can be prevented by being cautious and following important safety measures. Here are five safety tips to keep you on your feet and avoiding missing a beat:

  1. dsc01374Always clean up spills immediately and stay off of freshly mopped floors. Wear shoes with good support and slip-resistant soles.
  2. Assess potential dangers around the home or farm. Secure electrical cords by keeping them out of high traffic areas, arrange furniture or equipment to provide open walking pathways and install adequate lighting both indoors and outdoors.
  3. When it comes to staircases and walkways, install handrails and keep the area clutter free by removing any potential tripping hazards such as shoes, toys, clothes and boxes. If you have young children, install gates at the top and bottom of stairs. Be sure to unlatch the gate in order to pass through and don’t climb over them. Not only does climbing over them leave an opportunity for an incident, it role models unsafe behavior to youngsters.
  4. Keep frequently used items in easily reachable and accessible areas and never stand on a table, chair or other surface with wheels.
  5. Maintenance is key. Repair damages immediately and take time to remove debris from exterior walkways and adjust gutter downspouts to drive water away from pathways. Don’t take chances with faulty, broken or unsecured ladders.

Each year, the Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® program reaches more than 100,000 youth and adults throughout North America and covers numerous safety topics including slips, trips and falls. For more information on safety or for details about hosting, donating, volunteering or attending at a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®, visit www.progressiveag.org or call us toll-free at 888-257-3529.

Photos: Participants at a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® held in Pennsylvania identify potential dangers and hidden hazards around the home and farm in an effort to keep themselves, as well as their family and friends, safe from slips, trips or falls.

A New Year Brings New Resolutions: Be Sure to Make Safety and Health Part of Yours!

By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation

11-346_glowgerm_3104 As we celebrate the beginning of 2017, many of us will embark on various New Year’s resolutions. From goals to achieve, bad habits to break and diets to start, some resolutions will be short lived with few that will be followed through until year’s end. Let’s ring in 2017 with resolutions that stick and keep safety and health in mind all the time!

Begin the year by making healthy choices when it comes to diet and exercise. Lead by example and promote an active lifestyle to children. Exercising as a family is a great way to keep all members healthy. Benefits of physical activity are improved mood, elevated energy levels, better sleep, and improved strength and coordination. Replace sugary drinks with water and be sure to drink water plenty of it throughout the day. Water helps your body regulate temperature, helps digest & absorb food, and transports oxygen and nutrients to cells. Getting adequate sleep is also very important to overall health. Adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night & children need 9 to 10 hours of sleep per night.

Another healthy resolution is to follow good hand washing practices to keep germs at bay. Proper handwashing is a critical component in reducing the spread of germs. You should wash your hands frequently throughout the day especially after using the bathroom, sneezing or coughing, petting animals, and handling raw or spoiled foods. Always be sure to wash your hands before eating or preparing food. Hand sanitizers are great for use as a back-up plan if handwashing facilities are not available, but should not replace washing regularly with soap and water.

From helmets and hearing protection to sunscreen and wide brim hats, commit to wearing personal protective equipment all the time to prevent health issues not just today, but later on in life such as head or brain injuries, hearing loss and skin cancer. Also, be proactive as you start a new year by assuring your home, farm and equipment is equipped with working smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and first aid kits.

Finally, make your New Year’s resolution to be part of one of more than 400 Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® that will be offered throughout North America this year. Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® teach children in rural communities about a variety of safety and health topics. For more information on safety or for details about hosting, donating, volunteering or attending at a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®, visit www.progressiveag.org or call us toll-free at 888-257-3529.

Photo: Many Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® throughout North America offer a healthy lifestyles component like this event held Iowa. With the use of Glo Germ and an ultraviolet light, participants identify the importance of proper hand washing.

Don’t Be Coy about the Safety of a Toy this Holiday Season

By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation

Now that Black Friday has come and gone, the holiday shopping season is well underway.  As we countdown the days until holiday parties and time spent with family and friends, the little ones in our life are anxiously awaiting their chance to open up the freshly wrapped packages. Whether big or small, toys are always a favorite among many children; however, placing extra thought into toy safety should always be a priority during purchase.

On the positive side of shopping safely this holiday season, toys in the stores are much safer today according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. In 2016, there were only 24 recalls and only one involved lead compared to 2008 when there were 172 recalls with 19 involving lead. Although toy recalls are on the decline, there are still hazardous items you will want to avoid when selecting the perfect gift for small children such as magnets, button batteries, balloons, or toys with small parts.

In addition to keeping safety in mind when selecting the perfect toy, continue the safety message with children by following these five safety tips:

  1. Remind children to put their toys away to avoid trips and falls. Toys can pose a danger to anyone when left on stairs, doorways and other high traffic areas around the home. Be sure to fix or discard broken toys to avoid accidental injury from damaged parts or sharp edges.
  2. Always read the directions that come with a toy together as a family, so everyone is on the same page and knows the necessary precautions. Even age-appropriate toys, such as sewing, baking or science kits, often require adult supervision.
  3. Teach older youth to role model safe toy behavior by always keeping tiny toys out of reach for younger children.
  4. Be aware of your surroundings when playing with toys that fly. Assure you do not injure an unsuspecting person or destroy another person’s property while at play.
  5. Ensure bicycles, scooters and ride-on toys are sturdy & stable. Follow-up with proper safety equipment like knee pads, elbow pads and helmets. Be certain that helmets are fitted correctly and that the child wears them each and every time they ride.

16-1584_hiddenhazards_3518This safety message was brought to you by the Progressive Agriculture Foundation. Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® teach children in rural communities about potential hazards around the home, ranch or farm and help them adopt new, safe practices. For more information on safety or for details about hosting, donating or volunteering at a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®, visit www.progressiveag.org or call us toll-free at 888-257-3529. Be part of more than 400 Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® offered annually throughout North America.

Photo: At Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® like this event in Pennsylvania, various toys are used in a safe manner to demonstrate hidden hazards that can be found around the home, ranch or farm.

 

Take the Stress out of Traveling this Holiday Season

By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation

They say, “There’s no place like home for the holidays.” For some, home is a short drive, while for others it can be a long trip. As the holiday season approaches, planning travel to visit family and friends can lead to added stress and anxiety. From selecting the best method of travel to worrying about weather conditions, several factors can make planning your trip a challenge. To help keep stress levels low and excitement levels high, careful planning can help you prepare for whatever comes your way.

Let’s make sure your holiday season is filled with special memories and cherished traditions. Follow these five tips to avoid additional stress and ensure safety is kept in mind all the time while you travel.

  1. Check the weather. No matter if traveling by air, rail or car, the weather can cause unexpected changes to your plans. Allow time to leave earlier if needed, so you do not feel rushed and can account for delays and detours.11-718_roadwaysafety_3412
  2. Stay healthy and avoid the spread of germs. In both preparation for and during your travel, be sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Wash your hands frequently and carry hand sanitizer for when you cannot get to soap and water. Pack medications to prepare if a cold or flu arises during your trip, so you are not frantically seeking a pharmacy.
  3. Assure your vehicle is travel ready. If traveling by car, start out with a full tank of gas and make a stop at your local auto shop to ensure your car is ready for the journey with properly inflated tires, functional breaks and working headlights. Pack both a first aid kit and disaster supply kit including blankets, flashlights and batteries to use in the event of an emergency. Give the road your full attention when driving and avoid distractions such as cell phones, eating or fidgeting with the radio or other settings. Always make sure everyone in the car wears their seat belt.
  4. Stop and stretch. Whether sitting for long periods of time on an airplane or in the car, moving around is important. If traveling by car, frequent rest stops can help give you a break from driving and help you stay alert.
  5. Alert others of your travel plans. It is important to keep others in the loop of your travel plans, including your route, so they know when to expect you and where you are at all times. However, be careful what you post publicly on social media to protect your home from intruders while away.

This safety message was brought to you by the Progressive Agriculture Foundation. For more information on safety or details to host, donate or volunteer at a local Progressive Agriculture Safety Day in your community, visit www.progressiveag.org or call us toll-free at 888-257-3529. Since 1995, more than 1.5 million children and adults have been impacted by our program.

Photo: Numerous safety and health topics, including roadway safety, are taught at Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® throughout North America.