How Safe Are Your Child’s Toys?

The post-holiday season is spent playing with all the toys and gadgets we get from family and friends, but do you ever sit back and consider the likeliness that the toy your kid is playing with could be dangerous or unsafe? You might be surprised to learn that in 2016, there were an estimated 240,000 toy-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments according to a report issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

I would like to think that manufacturers of these toys take the time to create quality products, especially when placing them in the hands of children; however, the laws of supply and demand will undoubtedly result in faster-paced work, less human supervision, and potentially less quality and safety testing. Hazards can include choking, toxic chemicals exceeding those permitted by federal standards, poor or inadequate assembly, or toys that kids ride, such as scooters. Educating yourself on a product’s quality, manufacturer, and consumer history before purchasing or accepting as a gift can prevent an accident that may be life-altering for your child. It’s not always possible or convenient to research every product in your home, and it would be unrealistic to expect you to do so. Here are some quick tips to keep your child safe when playing with a new toy:

  • Pay close attention to the age limit recommendations provided by the manufacturer.
    • For example, a doll or stuffed animal with plastic eyes would be a choking hazard for a child too young to understand they shouldn’t pull them off. It’s only natural for a child to be curious about the way things are assembled, and in the blink of an eye, this hazard can become an irreversible danger.
  • Review the toy’s assembly and parts before handing it over to your child.
    • Carefully examine the toy your child will be playing with to ensure there aren’t any obvious defects. If a part of the toy easily comes off and is small enough to fit into their mouth or nose, you may want to think twice about handing it over. provides consumers with valuable information about products that have already been reported defective and recalled by the manufacturer.
  • Use safety gear when applicable.
    • That new scooter or skateboard is going to be so much fun for your kid, but not if they suffer a head injury after a big fall. Ensure your child is wearing a helmet or other preventative safety gear before taking off.

Some toy-related injuries are unpreventable, and in these circumstances, it’s your right to seek justice through hiring an attorney to fight on your behalf in the face of large product manufacturers. If the toy had a defect or other issue caused by the manufacturer, you may have a case that could win back your peace of mind. If you or your child has been a victim of harm due to a malfunctioning toy and your current legal representative hasn’t resolved your matter, consider substituting attorneys and get the elite representation you deserve.


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Liking Beer Runs in My Family

There’s nothing like bonding with your dad over a beer. In my family, it almost seemed like the day I became a man. Everyone in my family enjoys a good brew; even my dog jumps at the opportunity to clean up a “fallen soldier.”

Over the years, I’ve developed a real taste for craft beer. I prefer hoppy flavors, like IPAs and Pale Ales, but I’ll drink just about anything. The fresh piney flavor is like a blast of green nature and reminds me of being in the forest.

Some beers are supposed to be served at room temperature, but I say no thank you. Ice cold, every time. Boom baby. A cold beer is seriously one of life’s greatest treasures. Just got off work? Cold beer. Finished mowing the lawn? Time for a cold beer. Small project around the house? Cold beer. Playing some disc golf? Beer me. I honestly can’t think of an activity that isn’t better without a beer around.

When my dad and I go fishing, we always pack the cooler to the brim and stick it on the boat. Can you guess what’s in the cooler? You got it! Ice and beer baby (with a couple of water bottles for later). There’s no sitting on the cooler neither. It needs to remain accessible at a moment’s notice. Being on the still water and casting a lure is a great way to spend the day, and a cold beer ensures the event is as relaxing as possible. This year I got him his own Growler Chill that keeps beer cold and gets served out of a tap. He loves it!

Beer drinking is a bit of a family tradition, and my great-grandmother (my father’s grandma on his father’s side), use to always say, “I need a beer. I need a beer. I need a beer. That’s three beers I need.” Gah, she was a hoot. She sang on the San Antonio radio when she was a young adult, and back then the airwaves were live. I never got to hear her sing, but I’m told she would have a couple of drinks and start wailing. I like to sing too, go figure.

Great-grandma was a wild lady, but always in a good mood and cracking jokes. She lived to be 96 and drank beer every day into her old age. I wouldn’t recommend that to most people, but hey, it worked for her.

I remember the first beer I had with my dad. We were camping in Colorado, and he handed me a local ale that we had picked up in town. The stars were out, and at 8,000 feet, it felt like we could see every star in the universe. We sat in silence, watching the sky, and my taste buds lit up. I have no idea what that beer was called, but it was delicious.

I’ve been back to Colorado a couple of times, but I’ve never found that beer.


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How Long-Term Disability Is Determined by Physicians and Employers

If you have a long-term disability (LTD) policy through your employer or you have purchased an individual one on your own, you may need it if you ever have a long-term disability. This disability may allow you to continue to receive most of your salary in the event you cannot work.  However, the LTD claim process can be lengthy and time-consuming. Before you can get approved for LTD benefits, you will have to prove, with medical evidence, that you meet your insurance policy’s definition of disability. Your employer may also have certain requirements in the policy about waiting periods, premiums, and a minimum number of hours worked that you need to consider when applying for the LTD benefits.

If you are considering applying for long-term disability benefits, it is important to consult the summary plan description in your long-term disability policy. Typically, you will be found ‘totally disabled’ if you are unable, due to injury or illness, to substantially perform the duties of your job. If your policy provides for ‘partial disability,’ you may qualify for these benefits if you can no longer work full-time at your own job, even if you can work full-time or part-time at another job.

The most important factor in proving your long-term disability is the medical opinion of your treating physician. You will need to communicate with your physician on an ongoing basis regarding your symptoms and your medical complaints. In the process of applying for LTD benefits, your physician will be asked to complete a form or written statement regarding his or her opinion of your condition. This physician’s opinion is important, and his medical opinion may determine your case results. However, the claims administrator will also want objective proof of your disability. He or she will want any medical records related to your disability, including relevant clinic notes, lab results, x-rays, MRIs, surgical reports or other exam findings. Additionally, to prove that your disability is ongoing, you need to continue to receive treatment from your physician while your LTD claim is pending, even after being approved for the LTD benefits. If you fail to continue treatment, this may be grounds for the insurance company to cease your benefits.

There are other requirements for receiving LTD benefits. If you don’t pay your LTD benefit premiums timely, this will cause your insurance to lapse. Also, most employer-sponsored LTD plans require that you are a full-time employee at the time you become disabled. Most employers define ‘full-time’ as working at least 30 or 35 hours a week, but it is best to check with your LTD policy. There also can be waiting periods on LTD eligibility requirements. Most LTD policies have an ‘elimination period,’ or waiting period, between the time your disability occurs and when you can begin receiving benefits. Also, there may be pre-existing condition exclusions in your policy, and you may not be paid for benefits for any long-term disability that comes from that pre-existing condition for the first twelve months of your LTD coverage.   It is also important to check if your illness or injury is covered by your LTD policy, and that your policy does not have exclusions for certain diseases or workplace accidents.


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Man’s Best Bite

Dogs have been known as man’s best friend for centuries. Our noble canine companions have aided humans throughout time. Dog’s possess extraordinary senses and can be used by humans to scout the land, herd other animals, or for protection. Over time dogs have been domesticated as our companions and as a result, countless different breeds have spawned. This unnatural interference in the development of a species has resulted in certain breeds being more aggressive over time.

Although these creatures hold a place in our hearts, it is easy to be blindsided by their true animalistic nature.

While most people equate a dog’s presence to warmth and happiness, there are others who would advocate that certain breeds are unsafe in various environments. The negative cloud surrounding pit bulls and rottweilers is not out of spite, but unfortunately, there is a plethora of data that would suggest these dogs can indeed become viscous. According to the CDC, there are more than 368,000 emergency room visits each year that dealt with treatment for dog-bites and injuries that occurred during the attack. Factors that increase the likelihood of these attacks include, but are not limited to, the environment the dog was raised in, the long term treatment of the animal, and unnecessary provocation towards the dog. In scenarios where a dog has claimed a victim the owner is always fully responsible for the damages incurred by the victim, whether or not the dog was previously thought to be violent. In these cases, the victim of the attack would be able to pursue charges against the owner in a court of law. Unsurprisingly dog bites are extremely common in the United States. The CDC also released that nearly 4.5 million serious dog bites occur every year in our country. This number is equivalent to 1 in 72 Americans being seriously bitten and injured by the canine species. While these statistics are fairly concrete, and many cities do enforce certain regulations for particular breeds, it seems most cases of serious bites are due to negligence from the pet’s owner. Children, as well as many adults, have been very seriously injured and suffered long term deformities due to these accidents. Adoption centers and pet rescue havens are great places of education for people seriously considering owning more aggressive dog breeds. This information and typically behavioral classes should always be utilized if available to the owner. Not only does this training provide the owner with an ease of mind, but could potentially prevent any injuries being caused by the dog.

In summary, our tail-wagging friends will obviously remain a part of our culture as domesticated extensions of our family unit, and it is the duty of pet owners across the nation to properly care for these animals. It is man’s responsibility to care for these animals in a way that is loving and responsible so that the animal becomes trained to respond in similar manners. Proper care and gentility among these creatures can save the lives of potential bite victims.


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Advantages of Having Good Air Quality in the Workplace

It should be an obvious fact that good air quality in the workplace is advantageous, but when you look around and see overly humid office spaces and dusty manufacturing plants, you may think that it is not so obvious.

Air quality is one of the most overlooked factors in the workplace, and it shouldn’t be, because it is much more beneficial that you realize.

Ensuring Health

What makes air quality bad? Maybe the air conditioning systems are inadequate. Maybe the design of the workplace prevents good air circulation. Maybe the ventilation systems do not filter out pollutants. There are infinite ways bad air quality can manifest, and this can have negative effects on the health of employees.

Biological contaminants, dusts, and other particles are known to cause eye and skin irritations, lung problems, and even certain kinds of cancer. Having good air quality in the workplace immediately reduces the health risks.

Sustaining Operations

According to the website of RoboVent, sustainability is one of the biggest advantages of good air quality, in the sense that cleaner air leads to more efficient workplace operations. When you look at this statement deeply, it does make sense. The reduced health risk to employees also coincides with reduced sick leaves and turnovers that may result from illnesses, not to mention that healthier workers are likely to be more physically and mentally competent.

Good air quality can also influence the efficiency of equipment, like how dust buildup can make an equipment malfunction, or worse, break.

Impressing Clients

Good air quality does not just result into clean air, as it may also result into a cleaner work environment overall. Bad air quality can lead to dirt buildup, like how biological contaminants like spores are likely to develop because of inadequate workplace humidity.

A clean workplace is important not just for worker and equipment efficiency, as it is as important for your business’s attractiveness. It cannot be denied that a clean workplace will be impressive for potential clients visiting it, because it is a way of showing that you can manage operations well.


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