Safe Kids™ Upstate Marks Milestone appropriate to review the accomplishments of this awardwinning coalition. Safe Kids Upstate has long been a champion of safe sleep environments for infants under 1 year old. Through its Upstate Cribs for Kids program, begun in 2008, the organization has provided safe sleep education to thousands of families and distributed more than 2,000 portable cribs. Among families participating in this innovative safe sleep education program, no child has died as a result of unsafe sleep practices. Local public safety personnel and health-related characters at the 2010 celebration of Safe Kids Upstate’s 15th anniversary.
In 1994, when Children’s Hospital of Greenville Health System (GHS) created a coalition to reduce unintentional childhood injuries, it was not uncommon for children to ride bicycles and skateboards without helmets or travel in a vehicle without a car seat. 1995 marked the beginning of what is now Safe Kids Upstate, led by GHS Children’s Hospital. The organization spans three counties and aims to reduce unintentional childhood injury and death. In the two decades since its inception, the Upstate has seen a 43 percent drop in childhood deaths from unintentional injuries and a 22 percent drop in unintentional injuries to children. “The ideal way to treat childhood injuries and fatalities is to prevent them from occurring in the ﬁrst place,” said William Schmidt III, MD, PhD, medical director of Children’s Hospital. “That is exactly what Safe Kids Upstate has done for Greenville, Pickens and Oconee counties, preventing hundreds of visits to our Children’s Emergency Center.” The organization’s focus will become even more important as we move forward into a healthcare environment based on population health and prevention. “As health systems like GHS assume more responsibility for our general population’s health, successful programs like Safe Kids Upstate will play an increasingly important role in keeping our children free from preventable injury,” Dr. Schmidt said. At the junction of this turning point in health care and the 20th anniversary milestone for Safe Kids Upstate, it’s 18
Buddy’s Home Safety House, Safe Kids Upstate’s popular mobile home safety exhibit, delivers education about safety around the house to about 2,000 children and their families each year. Safe Kids Upstate also has ﬁtted and distributed more than 24,500 bike helmets and provided safety information through numerous bike rodeos and presentations. Still, bikerelated injuries send more children between ages 5 and 14 to the emergency room than any other sport-related injury. Nationwide, the annual number of bicycle-related head injuries in children has been increasing and now exceeds 40,000. Another area where Safe Kids has had an impact is water safety. Since 1994, the group has distributed personal ﬂotation devices and recently initiated the Life Jacket Loaner Board program in Oconee County. Established in 2012, this program contains information on how to determine if a life jacket ﬁts properly and provides life jackets that families can use and return. The group’s Safety Patrol program is active in 78 elementary and middle schools in Greenville, Pickens and Oconee counties. Safe Kids Upstate offers training and equipment to help develop safe, efficient carpool lines and instill a culture of safety through its Safe Schools program. One of the coalition’s biggest areas of impact is child passenger safety. Over the last 20 years, the organization has checked more than 15,000 car seats at its eight permanent Child Safety Seat Inspection Stations and provided close to 10,000 replacement car seats to families whose existing seats were expired or who did not own the appropriate seat.