By Hayluri “Luly” Beckles, Pediatric Injury Prevention Coordinator, Brenner Children’s Hospital

The No. 1 Cause of Death in Children IS Preventable! 

Statistics show that preventable injuries are the No. 1 killer of children in the United States. The key word is “preventable.” These are deaths that don’t have to happen. With proper knowledge, parents can help ensure their children are kept safe from a wide variety of injuries.

Safe Kids Day

On Saturday, May 13, Brenner Children’s Hospital and Safe Kids Northwest Piedmont will host Safe Kids Day 2017. This outdoor event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Kaleideum Downtown (formerly, the Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem).

Safe Kids Day is part of a national initiative to make families and communities aware of preventable injuries in children. This event will offer hands-on education on:

  • Fire safety
  • Medication safety
  • Pedestrian safety
  • Home safety
  • Water safety
  • Child passenger safety
  • Sports safety

The educational events will be fun for the whole family, and will include many games and activities. Representatives from the Davie, Davidson, Forsyth, Stokes and Yadkin health departments will be on hand to share their safety expertise. In addition, there will be safety demonstrations from nationally certified child passenger safety technicians.

A Special Focus on Bike Safety

Safe Kids Day will be held in conjunction with an event close to my heart—the 10th annual Bike Safety Day. Ten years ago, I was inspired to create this event in memory of my son, Joshua Palomares-Beckles, who was hit by a drunk driver while riding his bicycle. Joshua had a properly fitted helmet on when he was hit. Unlike my son, however, many children who experience bicycle-related head injuries and death do so because they were not wearing a properly fitted helmet. After my son’s death, I started reading the statistics and stories related to injury-related trauma, and saw that preventable injuries often lead to death in children. That’s why I was inspired to start Bike Safety Day; I wanted to bring awareness to this epidemic.

Since its inception in 2007, the annual Bike Safety Day event has distributed more than 3,000 properly fitted helmets to children in our community. It has also increased community awareness about the North Carolina bicycle and helmet law.

In addition to educational information, Bike Safety Day is a lot of fun! Bring your child’s bike and helmet so that he or she can participate in an outdoor bicycle rodeo with the Winston-Salem Police Department’s Downtown Bike Patrol Unit.

Make Safety a Priority

As a parent, I did all the things I thought were needed to keep my child safe. I got his car seat checked when he was born and every year thereafter. I made sure he always wore a helmet. I took extra steps to ensure our home was safe. But in my case, a drunk driver wasn’t on my radar. While our family’s experience was out of our control, there are many more families who experience preventable tragedies. So what’s not on your radar? Is it a hidden danger in the laundry room or garage? Could it be your child’s outdoor play habits?

WFBH Brenner Childrens logo (1)At Brenner Children’s Hospital, we have the only pediatric emergency department in the region, and the only level 1 pediatric trauma center in North Carolina. We regularly treat children who have experienced preventable injuries ranging from swimming pool accidents to accidental medication ingestion. We hope to reduce that number by helping families identify dangers that can pose a threat to a child’s safety. That’s what Safe Kids Day and Bike Safety Day are all about. So from one mom to another, make safety a priority. Join us on May 13 so that you and your family can learn more. We look forward to seeing you there!

For more information about Safe Kids Day 2017 click here. Or, visit our website for additional tips on how to keep your little one safe this summer.