By Maureen Gilmer, IU Health senior journalist, firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday was a big day for Tiffany Davis, injury prevention coordinator at Riley Hospital for Children, and her safety colleagues around the country.
On that day, Riley joined nearly 40 other Level 1 Trauma Centers in 30 states to observe the first-ever National Injury Prevention Day, hosted by the Injury Free Coalition for Kids. And they did it with flair.
Davis started her day on an Indianapolis television morning show talking all things safety, then moved over to the Simon Family Tower lobby at Riley to staff an information table, talking with parents about safety in the home and car. She even distributed safety latches for cabinets and drawers, as well as sleep sacks and baby gates.
She followed that up with a Twitter chat hosted by @InjuryFreeKids to talk about injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents, poisoning, falls and firearms and handed out buttons to team members in the Riley Emergency Department that encouraged visitors to ask questions about safety.
Capping it off at sunset, Riley was bathed in green light throughout the night, the color green symbolizing safety awareness. Around the country, hospitals in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Phoenix and many more joined in to shine a light on safety.
Injury prevention is a priority at Riley every day, but this is the first time a day has been set aside nationally to proclaim it from the rooftops.
“It’s an awesome day for awareness that we’ve never had before, so it provides more opportunities to get our message out and to reach more families,” Davis said.
Injuries are the leading cause of death and disability for kids in the United States. In fact, every day 20 children die from preventable injuries around the nation, according to the Injury Free Coalition for Kids.
Falls are one of the most common causes of injury to patients at Riley, Davis said. We’re not just talking about falls on the sidewalk. Kids can fall down the stairs, fall off a counter, fall out of a high chair, fall out of a grocery cart, fall off the couch, off a bunkbed or a balcony.
Accidents like these can lead to serious injuries, but add in burns, motor vehicle crashes, bike and ATV accidents, choking, poisoning and gun violence, and it’s clear that kids are surrounded by danger, safety experts say.
“Here and in hospitals across the country, we are asking parents and caregivers to just take a moment to think about the ages of their children and the different safety risks they have in terms of their development,” Davis said.
The biggest deterrent to accidents is increased supervision. That can be difficult because we live in a fast-paced world with lots of distractions, but it’s a good area for discussion, Davis said.
“It’s important to realize the risks within your own home and put that at the forefront of your mind. Accidents can happen in an instant, and often I hear parents say, ‘I just turned away for a second.’ ”
Riley’s Injury Prevention Program, part of the trauma services department, provides outreach and education activities for children and families and works with community partners to increase public awareness and advocate for safety.
Photos by Mike Dickbernd, IU Health visual journalist, email@example.com