Darts and laurels
Dart to another traffic fatality linked to non-use of seat belts. A Matthews woman killed Thursday night in a single-car accident in Rowan County was the latest victim in a string of local wrecks in which the victims haven’t been buckled up. In this case, the woman was riding in the back seat of a Chrysler PT Cruiser and may have thought that minimized the need to wear her seat belt. While being in the backseat reduces the chances a passenger will be thrown into the windshield, it doesn’t prevent full or partial ejection from the vehicle. That happened in this case, and the victim was pinned under the car. Safety guidlines and N.C. law are both clear. All drivers and passengers, in the rear seat as well as in the front seat, ages 16 and older must wear their seat belts. (Younger passengers are covered under a separate child-restraint law.)
• • •
Laurels to working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Kannapolis authorities credited a smoke alarm with alerting residents to a house fire that they escaped without injury Tuesday night. Smoke and CO detectors are among the cheapest, most infective security measures you can buy. But they need regular monitoring. Smoke alarms in your house should be tested monthly and the batteries replaced each year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. That’s one of the most effective ways to avoid becoming one of the 3,000 people who die in U.S. residential fires each year.
• • •
Dart to parents and others who smoke in cars that are carrying young passengers. This health issue affects more than 20 percent of high school and middle school students, according to the latest report on secondhand smoke from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While that’s a significant decline from earlier in the decade, too many youngsters are still at risk from secondhand smoke inside vehicles, increasing their vulnerability to breathing problems and allergy symptoms. While adult smokers may feel like the privacy of their automobile is one of the few smoking-allowed bastions, their children’s health should come first. If there are kids in the car, put away the cigarettes. Don’t assume that opening a window lowers the risks. As the CDC notes, “There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.”