Safe Kids Coalition Celebrates 10 Years
"We have a very active Safe Kids Coalition here in the Madison and Dane County area. Our partners are committed to reducing the leading cause of death to children: unintentional injuries," said Nan Peterson, RN, MS, Safe Kids Coalition Coordinator.
The coalition, which is part of the national Safe Kids Campaign, brings together the expertise of individuals and organizations throughout the Dane County region, including law enforcement, fire and EMS, health and safety professionals, schools, poison center staff, service groups, parents and children. American Family Children's Hospital serves as the lead organization.
"We are so fortunate to have the support of American Family Children's Hospital," said Peterson.
Over the last ten years, the group has actively worked to bring awareness to such topics as water safety, bicycle safety, safety in the nursery and passenger safety.
According to Peterson, "Through our grass-roots strength, we are able to provide training, technical expertise, programs and resources to children, parents, child care providers and health care professionals."
Recent data from one of their initiatives, the Safe Kids/WIC Child Passenger Safety program, demonstrated how successful the coalition's efforts truly are – in one year, they helped the families of 649 children learn how to properly install and use car seats. Eight of those children were later involved in a motor vehicle crash and avoided potential injury because they were properly secured in their seats.
The initiative's success is due largely to the efforts of coalition members to help reduce the barriers that might otherwise prevent families from participating. Ease of scheduling, the availability of interpreters, and hosting the car seat checks at accessible locations - local fire stations - helps make the participation rate one of the highest in the state.
"One of the best ways we can serve the children of our community is through partnerships with other organizations and agencies. [The Madison Area Safe Kids Coalition] is such a vibrant coalition and an extraordinary example of how together, we can work to keep our kids healthy and safe," said Jeff Poltawsky, vice president of American Family Children's.
The dedicated group is already looking towards the future, with plans to look at the safety needs for special-needs children in cases of emergency and ways to address the needs of children across the different cultures that call Dane County home. And of course, they'll continue their work to help keep all children safe at play, at home and in the car.
Date published: 3/06/2008
Date Published: 03/14/2008