Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley has been named the region’s lead agency for Safe Kids, a nationwide network of organizations working to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability for children ages 1 to 14.
Previously, the Trumbull County Health Department served as the lead agency for the region under the direction of Dr. James Enyeart, medical director, and Lucinda Sentner, program coordinator.
“The numbers are staggering,” said Kathleen Ashton, coordinator of Safe Kids Mahoning Valley and Ohio Safe Kids Mahoning Valley Coalition. “Every year in the United States, more than 6 million children end up in the emergency room with injuries that could have been prevented. Our goal is to educate the community and help reduce these numbers.”
Community partners for Safe Kids Mahoning Valley include regional health, businesses, fire and police departments.
“We are currently in the organizational mode and hope to have our community advisory board in place by late summer. We’ve received a great deal of support, encouragement and advice from the Trumbull County Health Department. It’s a great relationship,” said Ashton.
As a Safe Kids lead organization, Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley will:
Akron Children’s Hospital led efforts to establish Safe Kids Summit County in 1992. The coalition’s strength is based on its member diversity, which represents public, private and volunteer organizations.
Over the years, Safe Kids Summit County has been successful at promoting and implementing strategies to prevent childhood injuries through community awareness, education and public policy changes.
Among these legislative achievements is the 2009 Ohio Booster Seat Law, which requires children ages 4 to 7 and shorter than 4 feet, 9 inches, to be in federally-approved booster seats in the back seat when traveling in a car.
Mitch Stoller, CEO and president of Safe Kids Worldwide, noted the importance of these efforts. “As many as 5,162 children die every year in the United States from unintentional injury. With our community partners we are working to reduce that number to zero.”
In addition to her new responsibilities, Ashton will continue in her current role as director of the Community Outreach, Education and Support Center. Linda Beilstein will act as facilitator of car seat safety and Francine McBride will serve as facilitator of poison prevention.
Safe Kids is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations with a mission of preventing unintentional childhood injury. Safe Kids Worldwide was founded in 1987 as the National SAFE KIDS Campaign by Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., with support from Johnson & Johnson. Safe Kids Worldwide is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in D.C.
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