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Columbus, Ohio


Why injury? It's this simple: more children die from injuries every year than from the next three leading causes of death combined. Nobody knows this because no one is talking about it. In the U.S., one child dies every hour from an injury that could have been prevented. Around the world, a child dies every 30 seconds as the result of an injury. You don’t need to have a child to know that we can do better.



Guest Blogger

"3:33" by Michael Galpert via  Flickr  ( CC BY 2.0 )

"3:33" by Michael Galpert via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Beep! I wake up and look at the clock – 3:30 am. Ok, that wasn’t my alarm. I close my eyes and start to drift back to sleep…beep!

Oh, no! That is the beep of a dying battery in one of my smoke alarms. Crud! Maybe I can ignore it for a few more hours…beep! Ugh - it’s going to beep every 5 minutes. I’m pretty sure I WON’T be able to ignore it because it will drive me insane first.

Why is it that EVERY time a battery starts to go in the smoke alarms, it’s ALWAYS in the middle of the night? What’s wrong with 6 pm? Even 9 or 10? But, noooooo.

My husband wakes up as he hears me rummaging through my nightstand for a flashlight. “Help me figure out what smoke alarm it is,” I plead. I need to figure out what floor it’s on first. The house is freezing and we have to shiver as we sit on the stairs waiting for the next beep so we can narrow down the possibilities. Beep! Downstairs – okay. Please don’t be the one on the cathedral ceiling in the family room!

I go into the hallway and stare at the smoke alarm in the hallway – I see it’s got a blinking green light instead of a steady green. Yes! I think we’ve got it and it’s an easy change. I get a new 9-volt battery (thank goodness I stocked up on them in October when I intended to change all the smoke alarm batteries when the time change took place). Battery changed – now back to bed. Beep! What? Oh, no…I go into the family room and look up at that alarm – yep, its little green light is blinking too. I look at my husband and say, “Maybe we can just tune it out until morning.”

“Are you really going to be able to do that,” he asks, “or do you want me to go out to the shed to get the ladder?” He knows the answer and starts to slip on his sneakers – he’s quite a sight – boxer shorts, t-shirt, shoes with no socks, and did I mention its 28 degrees outside? I grab a flashlight and hand it to him so he can avoid all the doggie bombs in the yard on his way out and back to get the ladder.

We hoist the ladder and get that battery changed too. Okay, NOW we can get back to bed. Halfway up the stairs…beep! NO WAY! There’s only one more downstairs I haven’t checked – the carbon monoxide detector at the basement stairs. Just as I reach it, it beeps again and I know it’s that one for sure. Batteries changed and finally, at 4:10, I’m back in bed.

I have gotten into the bad habit of being lax in changing the batteries in my smoke alarms on a schedule. There’s a part of me that figures since they’re hardwired in and the battery is a back-up, they’re mostly fine until I get around to it. It’s a bad habit for many reasons – the largest being that if the house had an electrical fire or the power was out, and my batteries are not up to snuff – the alarms can’t do their job. So, now, all the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the house have fresh batteries ( I did the ones upstairs the next day) and I’ve put it on my calendar as a “to do” next October, when the clocks change, to change the batteries in all the alarms. No more 3 a.m. battery changes for me!

Avoid the 3 a.m. beep--join Operation End Injury to get reminders about changing your smoke alarm batteries and other easy injury prevention tips.

This post was submitted by Cynthia, one of our readers. Have an injury-related story to share? Tell us about it here.

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