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Four Tips to Make Four Wheeling Fun and Safe for the Whole Family

_EBL8553-03By Janet Brooks
Child Advocacy Manager

Four wheels on the ground, roaring engines, and the feeling of power at your fingertips. There is something truly incredible about heading down a trail or through a mud hole on an ATV. It only gets better when your family joins you for the ride. These tips will help everyone have a blast and stay safe – ride after ride.

1) Wear a helmet, goggles and other safety gear

You may be surprised by just how much you use your brain while riding an ATV. In fact, if you don’t keep your head safe, you won’t be having any fun. Before you and your family hit the trails, make sure everyone wears a helmet – every time, no matter what.

“It’s just a short ride” is no excuse. Utah has more traumatic brain injuries among children than almost any other state in the country, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control. Sadly, ATV crashes play a major role in that statistic. Simply wearing a helmet goes a long way in keeping your family safe.

Don’t forget there is more to protective gear than just a helmet. Goggles, over-the-ankle boots, gloves, sturdy full-length pants and a long-sleeved shirt are all great at taking the punishment if you hit the ground. Make sure you are prepared. Check out the full list of protective gear before you ride.

2) Follow the rules

Contrary to popular belief, rules weren’t actually meant to be broken; they were meant to prevent injury. When riding an ATV:

  • Stay off paved roads.
  • Never allow more riders than the ATV is designed for.
  • Make sure children don’t ride adult vehicles – provide an ATV sized for the child.

Utah Department of Health data shows that a child is 1,000 times more likely to be injured riding an ATV than riding in a car, and the risk increases the more you push the envelope. Rules are designed to keep your family safe so you can continue to have fun on the trails.

3) Know the terrain

Know where you are going and what to expect when you get there. This includes paying attention to the weather conditions and understanding the technical level of the trail. Anticipating the terrain will help riders know how to react, which will keep them safe and help them to enjoy the ride.

4) Get ATV training online

Training and ATV certification isn’t just a good idea – it’s required for anyone younger than age 16 before riding an ATV on Utah public lands. The good news is you can get rider certification from the comfort of your own home through a Utah state-approved online training course.

And for everyone, even those 16 and older, completing the certification will help you stay safe on the trail and out of the hospital. Get certified and ride responsibly. Serious fun is sure to follow!

Additional Resources:


Janet has worked as the Child Advocacy Manager at Primary Children’s for 17 years. She manages the Hold On To Dear Life® educational and advocacy campaign. Janet is a Child Passenger Safety Technician Instructor and an instructor in transporting children with special health care needs. She enjoys spending time with her family, including her husband, five children, three in-laws, and six beautiful grandchildren.
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Six Ideas for Helping Kids Cope With Stress

stressby Sara Bybee, LCSW
Center for Safe & Healthy Families

You might catch a glimpse of your kids playing outside, seemingly without a care in the world and wonder what could children possibly stress about? While we may think that kids only worry about what to play at recess or what after-school snack to choose, kids often feel stress just as adults do. In a poll by KidsHealth, kids stated that they were most stressed about grades, school and homework (36%), family (32%), and friends, peers, gossip and teasing (21%).

The poll also revealed important news for parents. More than 75% of the kids surveyed said they want and need their parents’ help in times of trouble. When they’re stressed, they’d like their parents to talk with them, help them solve the problem, try to cheer them up, or just spend time together.

So how can you help children cope with stress and learn healthy ways for dealing with stressful situations? Below are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Voice your observations: Tell kids when you notice how they might be feeling. For example, “it seems like you might feel angry about what happened.” Your observation will help your child know you’re interested in hearing more about what he/she is going through.
  2. Listen: Ask your children to talk to you about what’s bothering them and listen attentively and without judgment.
  3. Label feelings: Many kids do not know how to identify what they are feeling. Helping your child use words to identify emotions by name will help them communicate more easily and develop emotional awareness.
  4. Empathize with your child: Tell your child that you appreciate the stress he or she is dealing with. If he or she is working through a trauma, remind him/her that things will improve over time.
  5. Offer help: Let your child know that you would like to help whenever they are dealing with stress or are working through a trauma and that he/she can come to you anytime.
  6. Allow expression of feelings: Understand that anger or other difficult feelings may be part of a child’s reaction to stress or trauma. Try to allow your child to share how he/she is feeling while letting him/her know that abusive language and violence is not allowed

Helping children identify and cope with stress or deal with previous trauma can be extremely difficult. Try these tips for how to best support a child in his/her time of need. Some signs that you can look for to help decide if it’s time to seek professional help include: continued withdrawal from friends or family, school refusal for a long period of time, preoccupation with fear, grief or guilt to the point of not being able to think or talk about anything else, fear of leaving the house, marked decline in grades or talk about death or wanting to die. If you notice that your child seems to be getting worse instead of better over time, consider seeking out a counselor or therapist.

For more information, visit: Helping Kids Cope with Stress – Kid’s Health


Sara graduated with her Master’s in Social Work from Portland State University and moved to Salt Lake City in 2012. Since then, she has been working with Safe & Healthy Families and has been enjoying all that the Southwest has to offer. In her free time, she loves hiking, biking, running, taking her dogs to the park, speaking Spanish, learning about other cultures, cooking, and baking.
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Donation Stories: Two Boys in Need of Hearts are Best Friends

In honor of Donate Life Month this April, we’re sharing some of our favorite donation stories on the blog. This post was originally published on Fox 13 News in December, 2014.

Before he was five months old, Teagan Petitt needed two surgeries to deal with a congenital heart defect.

“We found out that Teagan was born with a very critical, congenital heart defect known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome, and we would need to operate immediately,” said Brytten Pettit, Teagan’s mother.

Teagan, 6, had a third open heart surgery in July 2013. His mom said life became fairly normal until February.

“Teagan’s lungs basically fill up with fluid. There’s no cure for plastic bronchitis, but the best outcome would be a heart transplant and that’s his best chance at life,” Brytten Pettit said.

Teagan’s lifelong friend, Alex “Gator” Homer, also suffers from hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

“They’ve been friends since they were babies. Me and his mom met knowing that […] they were both born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome,” Brytten Pettit said.

Both boys wear oxygen masks and backpacks with life-saving medicine inside during their day-to-day activities. They don’t have the same amount of energy as other children, but they still spend hours playing together, in and out of the hospital.

Teagan said he wants to be a superhero when he grows up. His mom prays he’ll get the chance.

“We know we’re asking for a lot. We know that we’re asking another family on their worst day to give us the greatest gift they could give us, but it would be such an honor to have their child live on through ours,” Brytten Pettit said. “We don’t pray for anyone else to have to go through what we’re trying not to go through, which is the loss of a child. We’re just praying that someone will say yes to organ donation.”

To become an organ donor, say “Yes” on the form you fill out to get your driver’s license or state ID card. You can also sign up at yesutah.org. It is recommended that you tell your family if you’re an organ donor.

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Donate Life Stories: Lily Needs a Gift of Hope

In honor of Donate Life Month this April, we’re sharing some of our favorite donation stories on the blog. This post was originally published on Fox 13 News in October, 2014.

Lily is 4 years old and so full of energy that you might be surprised to learn she is unwell.

But despite her outward enthusiasm, Lily is in need of a kidney transplant. She and her family spoke to FOX 13 News’ Hope Woodside about the need for organ donors.

Watch the video below for Lily’s story and visit YesUtah.org to learn more about organ donation.

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Story Lines: How Social Workers Helped Save My Family

Family Favoriteby Andrea Aveytua
Alex, Sarah, Josh, & Nicole’s Mom

In 2013 Alex, Sarah, Josh, and Nicole suffered the loss of their father. He didn’t die from cancer or a horrible car accident. They lost their father because of his choice to be abusive.

The majority of the physical abuse was directed at me. Although I knew the fighting upset and hurt the children, I never realized how deep their pain was. In addition to the physical violence, I also discovered he had sexually exploited our daughter.

My children’s father was arrested and sent to prison. Unless he makes major changes, he will not see them until they are adults—if then. After he was gone I knew the children needed to get help and found Primary Children’s Safe and Healthy Families. All of my children began seeing therapists and these amazing people saved my children!

quoteMy children were withdrawn and depressed. Some were overcome with guilt, feeling they played a part in their father’s decisions. It was a very long process, but we all looked forward to our weekly meetings. It was a time and space that allowed all of us to heal. The wounds and scars left from their father’s actions are as real as any broken bone or laceration.

Along the way we were also introduced to a great program called DBT—Dialectic Behavior Therapy. My oldest was having issues with his anger and our therapist recommended this to help. It was a six month class where we met in a group environment to learn new skills. This class was specifically for me and my teenager. He and I learned so many wonderful skills that we still use every day.

After about a year in therapy it was time to help the children move on. Some of my children loved their therapist so much and were heartbroken at the idea of not seeing them again. We have been back a couple of times when they needed a little help and I’m so grateful they can return to the same therapist. Although the therapy was specifically for my children, I have reaped so many benefits through the process myself.

I am grateful that Primary Children’s recognized that there was a need in our community for those that have been injured by various forms of abuse and provided the help that children need. The scars are now smaller and their lives are full thanks to the social workers we worked with. I don’t think my family could ever thank them enough for all they have done for us.


Story Lines is a feature on Play Ground telling the personal stories and experiences of people cared for at the hospital. If you would like to share your experience on the blog, please contact us.

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Where in the World? Important Safety Tips for RV Travel

by Janet Brooksrv
Child Advocacy Manager

With the worst of winter behind us (what winter in Utah?) and warmer days ahead, many of us look forward to the treasured season of vacations and travel. Spring and summer provide excellent opportunities for families to get out and enjoy the stunning world we live in.

Some families conclude that the best way for them to travel is to use recreational vehicles or RVs. While this form of travel sounds fun and convenient, it can also create great concern among Child Passenger Safety Technicians. Why? It all seems so simple to load up the ‘coach’ and go! However, the safety of the rear passengers (including children) is uncertain due to variations in meeting Federal Motor Vehicle Safety seat belt requirements and lack of required crash testing.

We all know the importance of placing younger children in a car seat and for everyone in the vehicle to buckle up! But during a collision in an RV, wooden benches and cabinets can break apart and equipment and storage materials can become projectiles causing injury to those riding in that area. And, child safety seats are NEVER to be used in rear-facing or side-facing bench seating in any RV.

So, before heading out with those you love, think about the safest way to travel and seek additional assistance from a Nationally Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician by contacting Primary Children’s Hospital’s Car Seat Safety Team at (801) 662-6583 or visit www.primarychildrens.org.

I wonder “where in the world” I might see you this summer!


Janet has worked as the Child Advocacy Manager at Primary Children’s for 17 years. She manages the Hold On To Dear Life® educational and advocacy campaign. Janet is a Child Passenger Safety Technician Instructor and an instructor in transporting children with special health care needs. She enjoys spending time with her family, including her husband, five children, three in-laws, and six beautiful grandchildren.
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Primary Children’s is First to Receive New Low-Dose CT Scanner

ctscanner1Primary Children’s Imaging Department is excited to be the first, free-standing children’s hospital in the country equipped with the new GE Revolution CT Scanner. This brand new scanner reduces radiation exposure by as much as 82% through innovative Smart Dose Technologies. This contributes to more accurate diagnosis and lowers exposure for patients across standard and advanced exams.

The Revolution CT can scan the entire abdomen and pelvis in less than one second – reducing the need for sedation, and minimizing breath hold time for patients. It can also capture high resolution cardiac imaging at any heart rate.

“Having great partners, like GE, creating technology like this ensures our patient’s safety, health and comfort,” said Brian Davis, Imaging Manager. “Our entire team is committed to making imaging procedures less stressful for families, and limiting the exposure of patients to radiation. Having the latest technology available, helps us accomplish that.”

GE worked to design a scanner with more thought towards what the patients sees, hears, and feels. Additionally, Primary Children’s developed a fun, pirate island theme that will help kids feel less intimidated by the scanner. The powerfully quiet, split second scanning of the Revolution CT will be a welcome addition to Primary Children’s imaging team.

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