Did you know preventable injury is the leading cause of death to children in the United States? Each year, 9,000 families lose a child from a preventable injury.
Safe Kids Eastside, a newly established coalition for child safety and injury prevention, was recently formed in partnership with several trusted community organizations to help educate the public in its efforts to protect children.
The group is a local coalition of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global organization based in Washington, D.C. Since the group’s founding in 1988, there has been a 55 percent decline in the unintentional injury rate in children aged 19 and under.
As a local resource for parents, Safe Kids Eastside strives to reach families with information and programs that help protect kids by working in partnership with safety-focused organizations and sharing information across the non-profit’s network of national and global coalitions.
Safe Kids Eastside will focus primarily on preventing pedestrian, child passenger and sports related injuries, which are all leading causes of emergency room visits among children in East King County.
“We’re in the beginning stages of our local program. We’re very excited about the many opportunities we’ll be sharing with the community in the near future,” said Kristen Thorstenson, Safe Kids Eastside coordinator.
As the summer trauma season approaches, now is the perfect time for families to review their safety plans to protect kids from injuries, beyond the inevitable scrapes, bruises and bumps brought on by summer activities.
Safe Kids Eastside recommends following these “Safer in Seven” tips:
• Nationally, about 73 percent of car seats are installed incorrectly. Jiggle your kids’ car seat, and tighten it up if it moves more than one inch at the base.
Locally, Evergreen Health offers car seat safety classes as part of their childbirth education program offered to expectant parents.
Also upcoming is the Healthiest Best Fair at EvergreenHealth Medical Center on June 21-22 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. A complete schedule of activities, which will include car seat checks, is available at www.evergreenhealth/fair.
• Every week, a child dies from toppling furniture. Secure TVs and furniture that could tip over.
• Make sure to replace batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors every year, and replace these devices every 10 years.
Check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms to make sure they can be heard, and ensure everyone in the home recognizes them and knows what to do when they sound.
“Most people don’t know that the current recommendation is to replace every smoke alarm unit in a home every 10 years, not just the batteries,” explained Thorstenson.”
• Every eight minutes, a child goes to the ER for medicine poisoning.
Keep an eye on more than just medicine cabinets. Are there pills in your purse or is medication sitting on countertops?
• Poison control centers receive daily calls about children popping easy-to-swallow batteries in their mouths.
Search for coin-sized battery buttons, like the ones that come in musical greeting cards or remote controls and remove them from children’s reach.
• Sports are a great way for kids to keep healthy, but there’s always a risk of injury. Make sure your kids’ coaches have concussion or safety training.
• Make note of when you’re most likely to be distracted and challenge yourself to keep focus.Take action against distraction. Distraction impacts driving, walking, bath time and just about everything else.
While these seven tips are offered here, parents can visit www.safekids.org to find preventable injury safety information on 30 topics ranging from bicycle safety to water safety and drowning prevention.
Members of the Safe Kids Eastside coalition include the Brain Injury Association of Washington State, Olympic Physical Therapy, Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Investigations, King County Fire District 45, King County Emergency Medical Services, Kirkland Police Department, Car Safe Kids and Northshore School District.
Partners include the Redmond Police Department, Pediatric Associates, Virginia Mason, Snohomish County Fire District 7 and more.
Safe Kids Eastside is led by EvergreenHealth in Kirkland, which acts as the coalition’s lead agency. EvergreenHealth’s primary mission is to advance the health of the communities it serves, through high quality, safe, compassionate and cost-effective health care, making it an ideal partner for Safe Kids Eastside.