To reinforce its goal of “keeping kids safe,” the Bartow County Emergency Medical Services is tapping into the Safe Kids network. Launching last month, the Safe Kids Bartow County Coalition will enhance many of EMS’ existing community outreach efforts.
“We’re all about safety and keeping kids safe, injury prevention,” said Brad Cothran, local Safe Kids coordinator and Bartow County EMS’ public information officer. “That’s what we’re after, that’s what we’re seeking, is to prevent injuries in children. ... Under our new director, we started pushing really hard with public involvement, public education and public safety.
When I talked with the ladies at Safe Kids and kind of already told them some of the events that we were doing, they told us that we were already doing a lot of their programs.
“We get involved with [Safe Kids]. They come on-board. They help us out ... with the bicycle helmets. They’re giving them to us free of charge. No money has to come out of the county budget for that, [as well as] stickers, brochures. Any program we do that falls under them, they send [items] to us. ... There’s just seven focus areas with Safe Kids, and we may go outside of that focus area as far as extra programs that we find,” he said, noting the core subjects are child passenger safety, bike safety, pedestrian safety, water safety, fire and burn safety, home safety and sports safety. “[Overall, we want] to reduce the number of injuries in children that EMS [responds to]. The calls we run — we want that number to go down.”
Formed in the late 1980s, Safe Kids currently is comprised of more than 400 coalitions across the nation, providing vital safety information to families with children younger than 20.
According to http://www.safekids.org, “Safe Kids Worldwide is a global organization dedicated to preventing injuries in children, the number one killer of kids in the United States.
Around the world, a child dies from an unintentional injury every 30 seconds. And millions of children are injured in ways that can affect them for a lifetime. When a child dies or is seriously injured, the lives of families and entire communities are changed forever. But these tragedies don’t have to happen. The important thing to remember about preventable injuries is that they are preventable. They often occur in predictable ways and can be completely avoided with the right education, awareness and planning.
“Safe Kids works with an extensive network of more than 400 coalitions in the United States and partners with organizations in 25 countries around the world to reduce injuries from motor vehicles, sports, drownings, falls, burns, poisonings and more. Since 1988, when Safe Kids was founded by Dr. Marty Eichelberger of the Children’s National Health System with support from founding sponsor, Johnson & Johnson, there has been a 60 percent decrease in the unintentional injury rate among children 19 years and younger.”
Under the Safe Kids banner, Cothran said Bartow County EMS personnel will continue to conduct water and sports safety programs. Future endeavors will include bicycle safety, home safety and car seat inspections.
“We’re going to start [offering] a home safety program,” Cothran said. “This will be good for the adults also, the parents of the homes. [For example], liquid laundry packets — kids see these as candy. If you don’t put these out of reach of children, they get into these, and they think it’s candy. So then, they end up poisoned.
“... Then also with sports safety. I actually did a quick concussion class with the coaches of all the Bartow County [Recreation] Department football teams this year where they can ... recognize [the symptoms and] realize they need to pull these kids out of the games to prevent more injuries. Speaking with Greg Hight, the director of Bartow County Recreation Department, he wants us to do that program with every coach in every sport for the county now. Another one [we will be offering] is we get a lot of people that come by and want us to check their car seats to make sure that they’re in properly. We actually do not have a person, a technician, to do that yet, but we’re going to send some people to the class to get that done. That way we’ll be able to start doing car seat checks also. Once we get that in, we’re going to try to do those maybe once every two to three months. ... People can come by, get their car seat checked and make sure it’s installed correctly.”