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Smart shopping can help keep children safe.

When it comes to toy safety, shoppers should remember that some products can create a health hazard. The number one concern is choking: several dozen U.S. children died from choking or aspiration between 2005 and 2009. The risk is highest for toddlers between the ages of 1 and 3.

To reduce the dangers of choking, aspiration, or other health hazards, keep these guidelines in mind when shopping for toys this holiday season.

Consider the Child’s Age

  • For children under three, don’t buy toys with parts less than 1.25 inches in diameter or 2.25 inches long.
  • If buying balls for children under six, the balls should be at least 1.75 inches in diameter.
  • Uninflated or broken balloons are a choking hazard for young children.
  • For preschoolers, if a toy or other gift has a string, it should be 7 inches or shorter.
  • Young children should not have toys that contain small, powerful magnets.

Watch for These Health Hazards

At any age, children can be at risk from a variety of items:

  • Toys that produce loud noise
  • Toys that contain lead or other harmful chemicals
  • Toys with sharp edges or projectiles with sharp points
  • Art supplies not labeled as nontoxic

Follow These General Tips

  • Read labels to make sure the toy is age appropriate.
  • Before a child uses the toy for the first time, follow all safety instructions.
  • Periodically check toys to make sure they are in good condition. Look for such things as:

    • Rust on metal toys
    • Splinters on wooden toys
    • Exposed parts or split seams on stuffed toys
  • Check the list of recalled toys and other items maintained by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

At North Hills Hospital, we care about the health and safety of our youngest patients. If your child is ever injured in any way, our emergency room is ready to help. For outpatient surgical procedures, the staff at the Texas Pediatric Surgery Center is specially trained to keep kids calm and safe before, during, and after an operation. For more information about the center, call (817) 255-1010.

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When Should I Call Poison Control?


Learn when to call Poison Control for you, another adult or a child in your household.

Did you know that anyone with a phone can access free help for exposure to harmful poisons? Here are some tips to guide you when it comes to calling Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222:

Don't worry about calling
When it comes to calling Poison Control, don’t let embarrassment about calling sway you. Parents have called with questions about everything from accidental overdose to strange occurrences like children licking printer ink. Kids can get into all sorts of things and they can get into them very quickly. Err on the side of caution if you think a child in your house may have ingested or otherwise come into contact with a poisonous substance.

Understand that poisons come in many varieties
When you think poison, you may be thinking of a bottle with a skull and crossbones on it. The fact is, in our world, poison isn’t so clearly labeled. Poison can come in the form of paint, nail polish remover, antifreeze, bug spray, toxic gases or over the counter medication. If you or a child has been exposed to a harmful substance, call poison control.

Know that you can call for adults
Parents make up a large number of calls, but Poison Control reports that adults accounted for 92 percent of all poison-related deaths reported to poison centers. If an adult has been exposed to an overdose of medication or any other harmful substance, don’t hesitate to call 1-800-222-1222.

Don’t wait for scary symptoms
If you think someone has been exposed to a harmful substance, call Poison Control immediately. Don’t wait for symptoms like vomiting, lethargy or loss of consciousness.Let experts help you assess the situation. If you’ve mixed medications and you’re unsure or if you think someone has been exposed to poison, call for help with the situation.

Need to take your child to the Emergency Room for a poison related issue? Visit kid-friendly ER at Alliance. If you would like help finding a doctor, give our physician referral line a call at 1-855-5NHILLS.

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Why Self-Care Is Important for Women

I don’t know about you, but in an emergency, my brain doesn’t work very well. My one and only time to have ever gone to the emergency room for myself was several years back. It was before I met my husband, so I was home alone, it was about midnight, and after several asthma attacks, each getting progressively worse, I finally decided that if I didn’t do something soon, I could be in a very dangerous situation. And so I threw on some sweat pants and drove myself to North Hills Hospital’s ER.

Looking back, I should never have driven myself, but again, my brain doesn’t work very well in an emergency.

Now, typically when I go to the doctor, I am prepared. I bring all of my medications (when you have asthma, there’s a lot) in a ziplock bag so that if the doctor throws me a curveball by asking me specifics about my meds, I’m ready.

But when you drive yourself to the ER in the middle of the night, there’s no time to run around grabbing medications. Or anything else for that matter. You’re lucky if you remember your shoes.

Which is why it’s a good idea to keep an updated medication log for each person in your family. Keep it in a handy place so that if you’re in a jam, you’ve got everything you need to take with you.

And if you’re like me, you’re more motivated to keep up with it if it looks pretty.

(Click here to download)

And so here is my gift to you – a handy medication log that you can use for each member of your family. You’d better believe that my husband and I will have this all filled out, ready to go for the next emergency.

Only this time, he’ll be the one driving me.


Bethe Wright is the Director of Marketing and Public Relations at North Hills Hospital. She has a husband, a dog, and a little yellow inhaler.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, someone dies of a stroke every 4 minutes. Many factors involved with stroke cannot be controlled. But there are steps you can take to prevent stroke risks and increase survival chances in the event of a stroke. Arm yourself with knowledge to be more prepared if you or a loved one suffers from a stroke.

Prevent Stroke Before it Happens
Take control of your health to help lower your stroke risk. You should manage your existing health conditions with your health provider's help. Keep track of your cholesterol and blood pressure, and manage diabetes if you have it. Keep your medications up to date and take them as directed. In addition to being active and watching your weight, you should quit smoking immediately and avoid excessive alcohol use.

Be Familiar with the Signs of Stroke
Because stroke survival and recovery depend on quick action, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms. Common symptoms come on suddenly and may include numbness or weakness of the face or limbs, trouble with vision or speaking, loss of coordination and severe headache. If any of these symptoms come on and then go away with no other effects, you should still talk to your doctor immediately, as they could be signs of a stroke in the future.

Act Fast
Stroke can be treated, but it’s important to treat immediately. Always begin by calling 9-1-1. Stroke first aid must be administered by emergency medical professionals. A delay in treatment can lead to death or far more significant impairments after stroke. Be aware of hospitals and emergency care centers in your area, and educate those around you to make them aware of symptoms and signs of stroke. Make sure that your loved ones know to call for emergency help right away. Assess your own stroke risk and the risk of those close to you. If you’re aware of a higher risk of stroke, have an action plan in place in case of sudden stroke symptoms.

Stroke Center
North Hills Hospital has been named a certified Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission. Our hospital, in partnership with the Texas Stroke Institute, shares the vision of commitment to providing high quality primary and comprehensive stroke center.

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Fast ER: Why Wait?


Up until now, the residents of North Fort Worth have had to drive a long way for emergency care. In a crisis, it’s important to have fast access to care that you can trust. With our new free-standing emergency room, the ER at Alliance, we offer the same care you can expect at a hospital-based ER, but much closer to home.

How It’s the Same as a Hospital-based ER

The ER at Alliance is equipped to handle the same types of emergencies as a hospital-based ER. Like any emergency room, we’re open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, staffed with board-certified emergency physicians and specially trained nurses who are prepared to handle all types of medical crises. The ER at Alliance features on-site lab and imaging and is equipped to treat pediatric emergencies as well as adults.  

How It’s Different

When you visit the ER at Alliance, you can expect short wait times and more privacy – unlike most ERs every patient room has a door so that you can be shielded from the hustle and bustle outside. Your family members can enjoy a brand-new waiting room equipped with amenities such as free Wi-Fi and a gourmet coffee bar.  Since the ER at Alliance functions as a department of North Hills Hospital in North Richland Hills, if you need to be admitted to the hospital, we can seamlessly transfer you for continuity of care.

What It’s Not

The ER at Alliance is not an urgent care center. It is a true emergency room equipped to handle any type of emergency you may encounter. We accept ambulances and offer a helipad for helicopter transport.

You Have a Choice

We are pleased to bring more health care choices to the residents of North Fort Worth. We hope that if you ever encounter an emergency that you will trust our facility to provide you with modern and compassionate emergency care.

For more information about emergency care at North Hills Hospital or the ER at Alliance, please call (817) 255-1000.

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It has happened. Your loved one needs to be taken to an E.R. immediately. You need to leave right away, but you just aren’t sure what to bring. Since emotions are at the surface, sometimes it is difficult to keep a clear mind and think carefully about the exact information emergency personnel will need for treatment. We suggest that you print this list out and keep it nearby. We want to help give you peace of mind so that you are prepared before you make the next dash to the E.R.

Insurance Information. Find all necessary health insurance information available for your loved one. If he has a separate prescription card, be sure to bring that too.

Identification. Take any official form of photo I.D. that you can find for your loved one. It should include his place of residence also.

Social Security Number. Some insurance documents do require the patient’s Social Security number, so be sure to bring this information along.

Medication. Take any prescribed medications with you, or bring a comprehensive list of medication, including prescribed types, exact dosages and the contact information for the pharmacist.

Medical History. Be sure you know your loved one’s medical history. Has he had surgery? Has he been hospitalized? Does he have any current medical conditions?

Side Effects and Allergy Information. Does your loved one have any known side effects to medication? Does he experience an allergic reaction to any medications? Does he have any allergies?

Contact Information. Bring along a contact sheet listing your loved one’s primary care physician, pharmacist, and any specialists that he may be seeing. Also, be sure to have contact information for his next of kin and others who might need to be made aware in case he is hospitalized.

A Pen and Paper. You may be overwhelmed with a lot of information at once. Keep a pen and paper handy and write down any information you receive. Since being at the E.R. can be emotional at times, it is easy to forget even the basic details. If you aren’t sure about what is happening, ask someone immediately. Emergency professionals are there to help you manage your loved one care, and they want you as informed as possible.

Children’s Comfort Items. If you are bringing a child to the E.R., be sure to bring along any special comfort items. That might be a favorite blanket, animal, or special book. Children can be scared in new situations, and bringing a bit of “home” with you can do a lot to comfort your child.

Are you wondering how you will remember all of this? Print out this useful E.R. Survival Kit, fill one out for each family member, and keep them someplace safe. If and when you need to go to the E.R. suddenly, this information will be right at your fingertips.

North Hills Hospital will welcome you and your loved one in case of an emergency. To find out the E.R. wait times at North Hills or any HCA North Texas Hospital, you can download a free iPhone app or visit our website. For a physician referral, please call (817) 255-1000 or visit our website here.

What to Bring to a Hospital, Emergency Room, or Crisis Program
Going to the Emergency Room

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Your daughter falls on the playground and may have broken her arm.

Your neighbor is stung by a bee and is having an allergic reaction.

Your husband is complaining of nausea and chest pain that comes and goes.

When you’re in a situation like one of these, you need help, and you need it fast. You can’t afford to sit in an emergency room for hours, waiting to be seen. So what is the solution?

North Hills Hospital has joined the other hospitals of HCA North Texas in making a commitment to shorter ER wait times. The national ER wait time average is one hour—our monthly average is consistently less than half that time, which means you can get the medical attention you need, right away.

If you have an emergency, can provide you with wait times for North Hills and nine other sister HCA hospitals. These numbers represent the time it will take for you to see a qualified medical professional, such as a physician, an advanced registered nurse practitioner, or a physician assistant. The ER wait times are based on a rolling four-hour average and are updated every 30 minutes.

So when you have a medical crisis, you can depend on North Hills Hospital to be there for you. We will provide effective, efficient treatment—protecting your health, moment by moment.

To learn more about our emergency care, visit our website or the HCA North Texas site. Wherever you are in North Texas, you’re in good hands.


HCA North Texas

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