The National SAFE KIDS Campaign, the first national organization dedicated solely to the prevention of unintentional childhood injury, was launched in 1988 to address what was then a little recognized problem: More children under age 14 were being killed by what people call "accidents"(motor vehicle crashes, fires and other injuries) than by any other cause.
The Campaign's founders believe there is no such thing as an accident and that unintentional injuries can be prevented. They enlisted the support of corporations, government agencies and the health and safety community to reduce the incidence of childhood injury. Former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, M.D., Sc.D, came on board as chairman of the Campaign and Vice President Al Gore and Tipper Gore are honorary chairs.
The Campaign's aim is to stimulate changes in attitudes, behavior, and the environment. From its inception, the Campaign has relied on developing injury prevention strategies that work in the real world conducting public outreach and awareness campaigns, stimulating hands-on grassroots activity and working to make injury prevention a public policy priority. This ongoing actionable strategy accounts for the tremendous progress the National SAFE KIDS Campaign has made. In the past decade the unintentional injury death rate among children 14 and under has declined by 33 percent.
The proven science of injury prevention and control underpins all Campaign initiatives. Decisions to focus on particular risk areas are data-driven "based on death and injury rates and the availability of effective preventive interventions. A team of public health specialists endeavors to translate injury prevention research into multifaceted community-based strategies (e.g., SAFE KIDS CYCLE SMART, Project Get Alarmed, SAFE KIDS BUCKLE UP). These experts provide technical assistance to State and Local SAFE KIDS Coalitions to tailor, implement and evaluate these programs with one goal "to prevent injuries and save lives. The Campaign has received awards from the Center for Disease Control and the American Public Health Association for outstanding services in the area of injury prevention practice and advocacy.
The Campaign relies on the support of more than 270 State and Local SAFE KIDS Coalitions in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to reach out to local communities with prevention messages. These dedicated professionals and volunteers have distributed nearly 1 million bicycle helmets, 500,000 car seats and 100,000 smoke alarms to families in need. The Coalitions work closely with law enforcement officers, firefighters and paramedics, medical and health professionals, educators, parents, grandparents, businesses, public policy makers and, most importantly, kids.
A large part of prevention is educating parents, caregivers and children about the simple behavior modifications that can prevent needless tragedies. The National SAFE KIDS Campaign has been instrumental in getting vital safety messages to the public through low-cost or free educational materials including brochures, videos and posters. Thousands of national and local news stories air as a result of the Campaign and its Coalitions' media efforts to raise widespread awareness of injury prevention and keep it foremost in the public mind. The Campaign's national media coverage includes broadcast stories on the nation's highest audience programs, including the Today Show, ABC World News Tonight, CNN news and NPR's "All Things Considered." Print articles appear regularly in USA Today, Ladies' Home Journal and Parents magazines. The Campaign has received the prestigious PRSA Silver Anvil award for its public education initiatives on three occasions.
The Campaign and its Coalitions rely on the help of policy-makers to institute child safety practices through effective laws. As a result of their efforts, federal, state and local lawmakers have aided children by passing and enforcing key safety legislation. Ten years ago, when the Campaign was founded, only one state had a bicycle helmet law. Today, 15 states and many communities require youngsters to strap on a helmet while biking and America now boasts a 40 percent reduction in the bicycle injury death rate. Additionally, the Campaign has helped pass, strengthen and enforce child occupant protection laws, smoke alarm laws and mandatory playground safety guidelines in communities across the country. The Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have honored SAFE KIDS for its injury prevention work.
Despite recent advances, unintentional injury is still the number one killer of America's children, taking more lives than disease, violence and suicide. In 1996 alone, nearly 6,300 children died from unintentional injuries and each year more than 14 million children a staggering one out of four are injured seriously enough to require medical attention. Every one of these alarming statistics is somebody's child, which is why the National SAFE KIDS Campaign remains committed to reducing unintentional injury by driving prevention strategies and reinforcing public awareness of the problem.
GM and the National SAFE KIDS Campaign receive prestigious safety awards from NTSB for Child Passenger Safety Seat Program
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