August 2013

Assessing Your Teen’s Readiness to Drive

I recently heard Pam Fisher from the NJ Teen Safe Driving Coalition on Radio Times discuss, among other things, texting and driving among teens, the importance of practice, and following Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) to enhance teen driving safety. This made me think about other conversations I've had regarding readiness to drive among teens in general. It can be easy to forget that teens who appear physically ready to drive may not be mentally ready to drive. We’ve created some questions that can help to guide a discussion between parents and pediatricians regarding driving readiness.

A Rare Look Into a Rare Event- School Bus Crash Investigation

School bus transportation remains the safest form of ground transportation in the US. Because injuries and fatalities involving school bus crashes are rare, when they do happen, it’s all the more important to understand the mechanisms of injury to child passengers. Recently my CIRP@CHOP colleague Kristy Arbogast, PhD and I were presented with a unique opportunity by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to assist with an investigation into a fatal 2012 school bus crash in Port St. Lucie, FL.

A Perfect Storm

There is convincing evidence that individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at heightened risk for unsafe driving behaviors, including teens. Despite a “perfect storm” of inexperience, adolescence and ADHD that increases crash risk, only emerging research about potential interventions exists for these teens. This can be frustrating for both parents and clinicians, like myself, who frequently discuss the risk of driving with teens with ADHD but have little information to offer about specific ways to keep them safe. In an editorial published today in JAMA Pediatrics, my CIRP@CHOP colleagues Flaura Winston and Catherine McDonald address this need head-on.

Coming to Terms with Trauma

Something we focus on in our Post-injury Care and Recovery research at CIRP@CHOP is the difference between everyday stressors and more serious traumatic stress reactions that can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This difference is uniquely explored in a recent New York Times article by psychiatrist and author Mark Epstein entitled, “The Trauma of Being Alive."

The Challenges of Child Seat Installations

Child restraint system (CRS) misuse is a common occurrence that remains a challenge for the child passenger safety community and caregivers. Particularly alarming is that, although recent estimates of CRS misuse are as high as 72 percent, other research has found that 90 percent of caregivers are confident or very confident in their installation of a CRS. In research published in Injury Prevention this month, my CIRP@CHOP colleagues and I investigated caregivers’ confidence in CRS installations with interesting results.

Gear Up for National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW)

It’s that time of the year when schools, student clubs, and community leaders want ideas for how they can use National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW) as a platform to promote teen driver safety. The 7th annual NTDSW takes place October 20-26, 2013, so now is a great time to start planning activities that can be implemented in your communities and schools during this special week and throughout the year to promote teen driver safety. This year's theme is ' It Takes Two- Shared Expectations for Teens and Parents for Driving.'

Igniting an Interest in Injury Science

When talking to casual acquaintances, the requisite “what do you do?” comes up. When I say I’m the Training Manager for a CHOP-based Injury Science center, they first ask, “What does the Center research?” and then ask, “So, who do you train?” No one is ever surprised that we provide training to master’s, PhD, and post-doc level trainees--It’s what’s expected of a teaching hospital. But most are surprised when they learn that the majority of CIRP@CHOP's training efforts focus on undergraduates.

Plan in Advance for Traveling With a Car Seat

I recently read an interesting article from TODAY about whether parents should bring their own car seats when traveling with children, or rely on rental car companies to supply them. While the article recommends it may be best to always bring your own seat, the decision may not always be straightforward, and planning in advance for travel with a car seat is key.

A Role For All in Culture of Youth Sports and Concussion

We have heard much about the topic of concussion lately with the settlement of the NFL concussion lawsuit, where retired professional football players sued the NFL for hiding the long-term dangers of concussions sustained while playing. The settlement raises concern about the culture of youth sports and for the safety and wellness of our children. Read more.