Most people are surprised to learn preventable injuries are the #1 killer of kids in the United States. Throughout the world, almost 1 million children die of an injury each year, and almost every one of these tragedies is preventable.
Today we celebrated the 25th anniversary of Safe Kids Summit County. Akron Children’s Hospital helps lead the coalition to help families and communities keep kids safe from injuries.
“When we talk about preventing injuries, we’re not talking about skinned knees and scraped elbows,” said Heather Trnka, injury prevention and Safe Kids coordinator. “Those are the signs of a curious child. But there are things we can all do to ensure that those bumps and bruises don’t turn into more disabling injuries and deaths. We focus on the serious injuries.”
Safe Kids Summit County works with an extensive network of more than 40 agencies – such as fire, police, public health, housing authorities and more – in Summit County to reduce traffic injuries, drownings, falls, burns, poisonings and more.
They strive to make a difference through education, stronger laws and safer environments.
Thankfully, Akron Children’s employee Sharon Deitzel saw the need 25 years ago to help protect the children of our community, so she established Safe Kids Summit County. That same need exists today.
“We have begun utilizing childhood injury data to drive our programming,” Trnka said. “We have identified the areas of the county who have the highest rate of injury and have targeted our interventions and education in those areas to make the biggest impact at reducing childhood injuries.”
Examples of this programming includes:
- Safety Around Water collaborative with Akron Area YMCA to teach kids how to swim and survive in the water.
- Safe Mobility Project in partnership with The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company and the Goodyear Foundation to focus on Child Passenger Safety and all the ways kids move through the community including new teen drivers.
- City-wide Safety Town in partnership with the Akron Police and Fire Department to educate the area’s kindergartners on how to get to school safely and what to do in an emergency.
- Partnerships to reduce infant mortality with Summit County Public Health, Baby 1st Network and 23 other community sites to distribute portable cribs to mother’s who otherwise wouldn’t have a safe place for their baby to sleep