Back to School Health and Safety Tips

Dover – Back to school is a busy time and there are many things for time-crunched parents to remember. The Division of Public Health (DPH) wants to help with these tips for a healthy and safe school year:

• Wellness check: DPH recommends that children and adolescents have an annual wellness check-up that includes a physical examination. At these visits, the child’s health care provider will screen the child’s overall health, including vision, hearing, and oral health. Health care providers also take this opportunity to assess promote healthy behaviors and strategies to prevent diseases. Annual wellness checks beginning at age 2 are strongly encouraged.

• Immunizations: To prevent communicable diseases such as chickenpox, measles, and mumps, DPH’s Immunization Program recommends that Delawareans be up-to-date with their immunizations. New for the 2015-2016 school year, meningococcal and Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccines are strongly recommended for 9th-grade entry. Starting in the 2016-2017 school year they will be required. For a list of required immunizations by age, visit the Delaware Immunization Program’s website or call 800-282-8672.

• School medical forms: Medical and safety forms should be completed as soon as possible and returned to the school. In particular, school nurses need to know medical and learning conditions, prescribed medications, and allergies.

• Sports participation forms: Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association forms must be completed by parents or guardians and signed by the student’s physician.

• Backpacks: Backpacks should be light – most doctors and physical therapists recommend that kids carry no more than 10 percent-15 percent of their body weight in their backpacks when loaded. Children should wear backpacks over both shoulders not just one to reduce the risk of muscle and neck strains or injuries.

• Reflective tape: Buy back-to-school outer clothes and supplies with reflective tape to assist bus drivers and other motorists to see children at bus stops, and walking or bicycling to and from school.

• Bus Safety: Parents should review bus information with their children. Write down the bus driver’s name, bus number, driver phone number, and the pick-up and drop-off times and locations. Keep that information handy at home and also include it in the child’s backpack for their easy reference.

• Pedestrian Safety: All children should be coached about crossing at crosswalks and be taught to obey traffic signals, highway signs, and laws. Safe routes to and from school should be mapped out, and children should be reminded never to accept rides, candy, or other invitations from strangers. When possible, younger children should be accompanied by a trustworthy adult.

• Healthy lunches: Parents should complete and return school forms to establish lunch accounts quickly, sending some lunch money the first days of school as a back-up measure. To prevent foodborne illness, pack lunches in insulated coolers with ice or ice packs to keep food at 40 F or below. Pack nutritious, lunches with protein, whole grains and fruits, and vegetables. Water or non-fat milk are great drink choices.

For more information about preparing children for returning to school, visit the KidsHealth from Nemours parenting website.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.

DNREC’s Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police encourages safe boating practices over holiday weekend

DOVER – With many boaters heading out on the water for the long 4th of July holiday weekend, DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police advises “steady as she goes” for practicing safe boating on Delaware waterways. “We need everyone on our waterways to be alert, use common sense and avoid actions that will put themselves, their passengers and other boaters at risk,” said Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Chief Robert Legates.

Recent statistics from the U.S. Coast Guard show the top five primary contributing factors for boating accidents are operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience, excessive speed and alcohol use. With these factors in mind, Cpl. John McDerby, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police boating safety coordinator, offered some tips to keep in mind for safe boating:

Safety-check your vessel and equipment before getting underway
Preparations for putting your boat in the water each season should begin with servicing the motor or engine to ensure it is in good operating condition. Before heading out, always check engine oil levels and make sure you have enough gasoline in your tank, as well as making sure all navigational lights are working.

“Unexpected engine failure or running out of gas can strand you and your passengers – and this rarely happens at a convenient time or place,” Cpl. McDerby said. “Add nightfall, an approaching summer storm, rough seas or other hazards, and you place yourself and your passengers in danger.”

Additional items to check include the appropriate number of life jackets and a fully-charged cell phone and/or marine radio, as well as the following safety equipment: flares, a whistle or sound-producing device and a fire extinguisher.

Wear a life jacket
In 2014, the number of boating accident fatalities nationwide totaled 610, including 12 children under the age of 13, according to U.S. Coast Guard statistics. Where cause of death was known, 78 percent of fatal boating accident victims drowned. Of those drowning victims when life jacket usage was known, 84 percent were not wearing a life jacket.

“Like seatbelts in automobiles, we know without question that life jackets save lives. Delaware law requires that children age 12 and younger wear a life jacket while underway in any vessel on Delaware waters,” Cpl. McDerby said, noting that no children age 12 or younger have died as a result of drowning in Delaware since this law was passed in 1991.

“Though life jackets are not legally required to be worn by adults, they should also wear them, especially anyone with limited swimming skills,” Cpl. McDerby continued. “Boating accidents can happen very fast – and there’s no time to reach for a stowed life jacket and put it on.”

Wearing a life jacket is important regardless of the size of your boat, he added. Nationally in 2014, eight out of every 10 boaters who drowned were using vessels less than 21 feet in length, he added.

While operating a vessel, stay alert and keep a sharp lookout
When operating an automobile, safe driving includes keeping your eyes on the road and avoiding distractions that take your attention elsewhere as much as possible.

“The same applies to operating a vessel,” Cpl. McDerby said. “At all times, boaters need to watch where they are going, looking for other vessels and anything in the water that poses a hazard or redirects vessels.”

Things to look out for include swimmers, water skiers and smaller vessels such as kayaks or jet skis, floating hazards such as large branches or logs in the water, shallow areas where your vessel can become grounded, and directional channel markers or other signage.

Watch your speed
As with land vehicles, boaters need to remember that the faster you drive your boat, the more you reduce your reaction time and increase your chances of being involved in an accident.

“Operating a vessel at excessive speed poses a hazard to you and your passengers as well as everyone else on the water around you, especially in areas with a lot of boat traffic – a common occurrence on popular waterways, especially during busy summer holiday weekends,” Cpl. McDerby said.

Boaters should take particular care to observe posted slow-no-wake areas, Cpl. McDerby added.

Don’t drink and boat
According to Coast Guard statistics, alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents and was listed as the leading factor in 21 percent of the 610 boating-related fatalities reported nationwide in 2014.

“Drinking while boating is a choice. The best way to minimize the risk of an accident is to make the wise choice – don’t drink and boat,” said Cpl. McDerby, noting that boaters should plan ahead to have a non-drinking designated boat operator aboard if alcohol is being consumed.

While it is not illegal for recreational boat operators to consume alcohol, the same blood alcohol limit used to measure intoxication in automobile drivers applies to boat operators: 0.08 or above is legally intoxicated. Cpl. McDerby also noted that boat operators above the limit put themselves and their passengers at risk, and those found so operating face fines and potential jail time.

Delaware’s emphasis on boating safety education
Taking a boating safety course to improve your skills can help reduce the chances of an accident. Coast Guard statistics show that in states where instructional data was available, 77 percent of reported fatalities occurred on boats where the operator had not received boating safety instruction.

“Last year, we had one boating-related fatality and 24 reportable boating accidents in Delaware. We’d like to see the number of accidents go down,” Chief Legates said, noting that to date this year, Delaware has had two reported boating accidents and no fatalities.

Under Delaware law, all persons born on or after Jan. 1, 1978 must successfully complete a boating safety course in order to operate a boat in Delaware waters, including personal watercraft. “We recommend that everyone who is going to operate a boat in Delaware waters take a safety course first, regardless of their age,” Cpl. McDerby said.

Delaware’s 8-hour basic boating safety course, which fulfills Delaware’s mandatory boating safety class requirement, is offered in multiple locations statewide in one to four sessions. An online version of the course also is offered. Upon completing the course, boaters receive a boating safety certificate, which they should carry with them while boating as proof of course completion.

For more information, including the boating safety class schedule, access to the online Delaware Boating Handbook and other boating information, visit Delaware Boating Safety, or contact Cpl. John McDerby at 302-739-9913 or by email at

Media Contacts: Cpl. John McDerby, Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police, 302-739-9913 or 302-354-1386, or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 45, No. 214

Enjoy a Healthy and Safe Independence Day


DOVER – As American flags fly in preparation of the Fourth of July holiday, the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) reminds Delawareans to celebrate healthily, without injuries or foodborne illness.

Serve healthy foods and beverages. Include more fruits and vegetables and fewer sugary beverages on the buffet table. With Delaware’s obesity rate doubling in the past 20 years, it is important to serve meals that are low in empty calories and heart healthy. The DE HEAL website, at, features a section about sugary beverages. Or browse recipes on the American Heart Association’s website,

Use sunscreen. To protect skin from sunburn now and skin cancer later, wear SPF 15 or higher sunscreen that contains both UVA and UVB protection. Visit, a DPH website filled with colorful, informative posts. The site includes a directory of dermatologists in Delaware. Follow these additional skin cancer prevention tips:
• Stay in the shade, especially during mid-day hours.
• Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs.
• Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade your face, head, ears, and neck.
• Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block both UVA and UVB rays.
• Avoid indoor tanning.
• Wear lip balm and makeup products that have an SPF of 15 or higher.

Avoid injuries. Leave fireworks displays to the experts. In Delaware, it is illegal to possess or discharge fireworks, and only permitted companies can hold fireworks displays.

Protect pets. It is best to leave pets at home, where they are safe and sound, instead of including them in Fourth of July celebrations. Loud fireworks displays can terrify pets, causing them to run, putting them at risk of being hit by a car or becoming lost. Exposure to lit fireworks and firework fumes can also be hazardous to man’s best friend.

Use common sense when grilling. Only use gas or charcoal grills outdoors, never in a garage, or on a porch or balcony. Charcoal and gas grills produce carbon monoxide, a fatal odorless, colorless, and poisonous gas. When using charcoal grills, only use a small amount of charcoal starter fuel, never add fuel once the fire starts, and wet ashes with water before emptying the grill. For gas grills, cylinders should be stored outside in a shaded, cool area out of direct sunlight and transported on the floor of vehicles ─ not the trunk ─ in an upright position with all windows open. Check connections with soapy water and tighten leaking connections if bubbles form.

Prevent foodborne illness. No one likes to get sick at a cook-out! Before preparing the meal, wash hands with soap and warm water. Thoroughly clean sinks, cutting boards, and utensils, and then sanitize them with a mixture of one teaspoon bleach to one gallon of water. Follow these additional food safety tips:
• Defrost and marinate meat and poultry in the refrigerator.
• If marinade is to be used on cooked food, reserve some marinade before putting raw foods in it.
• When transporting food, use an insulated cooler with ice or ice packs to keep food at 40F or below.
• Refrigerate food and poultry until use.
• Use separate platters for meat and poultry, and use different platters and utensils for raw and cooked items.
• Keep track of how long foods have been sitting on the buffet table and discard anything two hours or older.
• Refrigerate leftovers promptly in shallow containers.
• When cooking, have beef and poultry reach these safe minimum internal temperatures:
o Whole poultry, poultry breasts, and ground poultry – 165F.
o Hamburgers, beef, and all cuts of pork – 160F.
o Beef, veal, lamb (roasts, steaks, and chops) – 145F, medium rare.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, drink almost no sugary beverages.

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498

Delaware Health and Social ServicesDivision of Public Health

General Assembly Passes All Four Bills on Attorney General’s Internet Privacy and Safety Agenda

DOVER, DE – The Delaware General Assembly on Thursday passed the third and fourth parts of the four-part internet privacy and safety package proposed by Attorney General Matt Denn and a bipartisan group of legislators. The package of bills, proposed in April, will now to go the Governor for his signature, and will be enforced by the Delaware Department of Justice.

The bills prevent educational software companies from misusing or improperly disclosing the personal data of Delaware schoolchildren; prevent companies from advertising inappropriate products on websites directed at children; prevent employers from inappropriately demanding access to the social media accounts of employees or job applicants; require web sites to clearly disclose how they are using the personal data they collect about web site users; place restrictions on the ability of companies to disclose the reading habits of e-book readers; and prevent the location of crime victims whose addresses have been changed for their protection from being disclosed on the internet.

Passage of the bills through the General Assembly was a difficult process, with with opposition and issues raised at various times by internet providers, social media companies, and the National Rifle Association.

“I am very grateful to the sponsors of these bills for standing up to a great deal of pressure and doing the right thing for Delawareans, especially children,” Attorney General Denn said. “If these bills are signed by the Governor, we are going to vigorously enforce them to make Delaware the safest state in America for kids to use the internet.”

Delaware Online Privacy and Protection Act – Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 68 sponsored by Sen. Patricia Blevins and Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf

This bill expands the legal protections available under Delaware law to individuals, in particular children, relating to their online and digital activities. It prohibits marketing certain age-restricted products and services such as alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and body-piercing to children on websites or mobile apps directed to children, and it prohibits using a child’s personal information to market those products and services to that child. It also requires commercial websites and online apps that collect personally identifiable information about users to post a privacy policy explaining what information the website or online app collects and what it does with that information. Finally, the bill restricts the ability of online book service providers from disclosing information about customers’ reading choices without a court order, since what people read can reveal or imply much about them.

“This bill simply ensures that products and services that are intended for adults are not marketed toward children,” said Senate President Pro Tem Patricia Blevins. “These are common-sense safeguards that will protect our kids.”

“Decades ago, cigarette companies advertised on television, where they could easily reach children. Government put a stop to that practice. Today, we have children and teens using social media sites and being bombarded with ads for alcohol, tobacco products, weapons and other things that are not appropriate — or even legal — for people that age,” said House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf. “This bill will be an important tool in protecting our children from these ads and also addressing the issue of companies collecting our personally identifiable information and how they use it.”

Student Data Privacy Protection Act – Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 79 sponsored by Sen. David Sokola and Reps. Earl Jaques and Michael Ramone

This bill enables students and educators in Delaware public schools to use technology to enhance student educational opportunities without compromising the privacy and security of student data. The bill prohibits education technology service providers from selling student data, using student data to engage in targeted advertising to students or their families, amassing a profile on students to be used for non-educational purposes, or disclosing student data except as permitted by the bill. The bill requires education technology service providers to have reasonable procedures and practices for ensuring the security of student data they collect or maintain, protecting that student data from unauthorized access, destruction, use, modification, or disclosure, and deleting the student data if appropriately requested to do so by a school or school district. The bill also establishes a Student Data Privacy Task Force to study and make findings and recommendations regarding the development and implementation of a comprehensive framework to govern the privacy, protection, accessibility, and use of student data at all levels of the State’s public education system.

“This legislation strikes the right balance between protecting the privacy of our children and acknowledging our school’s needs to track their academic progress,” said Sen. David Sokola, who chairs the Senate Education Committee. “The Department of Education and the Internet service providers it contracts with have a responsibility to protect that data, and Senate Bill 79 codifies that. It’s a good law, and I’m pleased it received bi-partisan support.”

“It is paramount that educational data is safeguarded as well as we protect our credit card info. Students and parents alike should expect and demand it from us,” said Rep. Earl Jaques. “We need to protect our children as these new technologies invade our everyday lives, and the Online Privacy & Protection Act will take important steps toward that goal.”

State Representative Mike Ramone stated, “Thank you to my colleagues for approving SS 1 for SB 79. As I have said before, I believe that the privacy of both students and their parents and guardians should not be compromised once the student walks inside a school building. This legislation is designed to put necessary safeguards in place for our students and their families while they are in our public school system.”

Victim Online Privacy Act – House Bill 102 sponsored by Sen. Blevins and Reps. Michael Barbieri and Deborah Hudson

This bill is an extension of the Department Of Justice Address Confidentiality Program for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, as well as material witnesses, and members of their households. Under this bill, it will be unlawful to publicly display, post online, or solicit, sell, or trade online the address, image, or telephone number of a participant in DOJ’s Address Confidentiality Program for the purpose of inciting someone to commit violence or harm against that person or members of their household. It will also outlaw a person’s ability to publicly display or post such information online if the program participant or their representative has made a written demand on the person to stop.

“This legislation gives law enforcement another tool to protect the victims of violent crimes,” said Sen. Blevins. “Using the internet to threaten revenge or intimidate a victim is criminal and this makes that clear in our code.”

“Our landscape is changing and the internet provides us great opportunities but also many threats,” said Rep. Michael Barbieri. “We need to make sure that our laws make sure that we do not use this new technology to harm people who are most vulnerable, our children and victims of crime.”

Rep. Deborah Hudson said, “I am pleased to see House Bill 102 pass the legislature and I look forward to this measure being enacted in the near term. This legislation is very much needed and will go a long way in ensuring that a crime victim’s identity is protected and that they remain safe.”

Employee/Applicant Protection for Social Media – House Bill 109 sponsored by Sen. Bryan Townsend and Rep. Bryon Short

This bill will protect the online activities of Delawareans by prohibiting employers from requiring employees, or applicants, to disclose information that would give the employer access to their personal social media accounts, to log in so the employer may view such accounts, to accept a “friend” request from the employer, or to disable privacy settings on those accounts. The bill respects employers’ rights to investigate and penalize conduct which harms or reflects poorly on the employer. The bill does not restrict employers’ existing control over accounts created for their business purposes and the activities of their employees on such accounts, any electronic device issued or paid for by the company, and their own networks.

“Delaware has now taken the important step of updating its privacy laws and protecting employees’ social media privacy rights,” said Sen. Bryan Townsend. “I thank Attorney General Denn and his team for their work on this increasingly important issue and for helping to strike a fair balance between employer and employee rights.”

“Delaware’s laws have to catch up with technology and the way Delawareans use social media on a daily basis. Our social media accounts contain much of our private lives, and it’s critically important that we make sure that private information stays private if we wish it to be,” said Rep. Bryon Short. “House Bill 109 is an important part of that goal and it’s an important step for Delaware.”

Attorney General Denn also recognized and thanked Deputy Attorney General Christian Wright of the Consumer Fraud Division for his work on the legislation.

Attorney General and Wilmington Police to Hold Community Meeting on Foot Patrols

WILMINGTON, DE – Attorney General Matt Denn announced today that he and leaders of the Wilmington Police Department will be holding a community meeting next week in the high-crime area where the city’s foot patrol project has been active for the past month. The purpose of the meeting is to give community residents an opportunity to provide feedback to law enforcement on how we can help keep Wilmington safe.

The meeting will occur on Monday, June 29th, from 6:30 – 7:45pm at Central Baptist Church, 839 N. Pine Street. This is the area where foot patrols have been active for the past month because of statistically high violent crime rates in prior months. It is also the home of East Side Rising, which unites community members with public & private stakeholders to form a collaborative for the purpose of revitalizing the Eastside of Wilmington, through housing improvements, workforce development, and economic empowerment.

The foot patrols are the result of a grant that the City of Wilmington and Attorney General Denn received from the state’s Neighborhood Building Blocks Fund. Under the grant, seven officers patrol high-crime areas of Wilmington on foot from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., seven nights a week. To date, most of the overtime officers have been Wilmington Police Department officers.