Saving the lives of children. That’s at the heart of what Safe Kids Mid-South works to achieve every day. Part of a worldwide network of organizations led locally by Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Safe Kids Mid-South is dedicated to reducing the number of children hurt by accidental injury. Research indicates that unintentional injury is the leading cause of death and disability for children ages 1 to 14.
“Keeping children safe is an investment in their lives and in the future of our world,” notes Susan Helms, director of Injury Prevention and Safe Kids with Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. Safe Kids Mid-South educates families, provides safety devices, helps make environmental changes, and advocates for improved child safety laws. The organization celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.
Program Highlights Include:
Car Seats and Cribs for Kids • Created by Safe Kids Mid-South and sponsored by Kohl’s, this program works to decrease infant mortality. Since 2009, 500 “at-risk” moms-to-be have participated in the coalition’s interactive Baby Safety Showers that focus on safe transportation, safe sleeping, and safety in the home.
Make A Splash Mid-South • Developed in response to the tragic drowning of two Memphis teens in swimming pools in 2008. This initiative creates opportunities to teach children to be safe in and around the water. The focus is on providing at-risk children with free swimming lessons, encouraging minority participation in swimming, supporting lifeguard training, and providing Family and Friends CPR to the community. To date, 3,000 children have received free swim lessons, a diversity swim team has been formed, 300 lifeguards have been trained, and 450 people have received CPR training.
Walk This Way • A FedEx-sponsored initiative that addresses pedestrian safety. Currently, Safe Kids Mid-South is participating in a Distracted Driver research initiative for middle- and high-school students. The purpose is to determine the prevalence of distracted child pedestrians in school zones. Observations of students distracted by cell phones and texting will be documented. The effectiveness of classroom-based pedestrian safety education will also be evaluated.
There has been an overall decrease in accidental injury across the Mid-South, and, in particular, a 33 percent decrease in severe injuries to children in car crashes. These trends will be used to further identify injury types to target for additional prevention and outreach education efforts
• For more information, visit lebonheur.org/safekids or call 287-6730.