BWWMH focuses on children’s safety

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 7, 2004

Special to the Times

DEMOPOLIS – Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital is sponsoring an event that’s sure to become a favorite among area children and their parents.

Kid Safe 2004 is slated for Oct. 16 in the hospital’s parking lot from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will feature events for children of all ages.

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“Accidental injury effects 20.6 million children each year nationwide,” said Mike Marshall, CEO/Administrator. “More than 22,000 of those children die from their injuries and 60,000 more are permanently disabled.

“Also, according to statistics recently released by Alabama Kids Count, Marengo County ranks 57 out of Alabama’s 67 counties regarding child and family well being.

“It’s vital that our community addresses the needs of our children and we hope that the Kid Safe program is just the beginning. Sponsoring Kid Safe gives us the opportunity to help area children have fun while at the same time learning how to avoid being included in those statistics.”

A highlight of the day will be Safety City, sponsored by the West Alabama Community Traffic Safety Program.

“They’ll set up a miniature city in our parking lot, complete with street signs and traffic signals,” Marshall said. “Children will go through on their bicycles and receive individual instruction in traffic safety. Children in grades 3 and up will also have an opportunity to travel the streets of Safety City in the go-carts that will be provided on site.”

The “temporary residents” of Safety City will learn about pedestrian, bicycle, auto, bus, and train safety, along with safety hazards.

At the same time a team of certified Child Safety Passenger Technicians (CSPT) from Bryan Whitfield’s HealthStart Program will conduct free child safety seat inspections, which last about 15 to 30 minutes each.

Technicians will lead the parents step-by-step through the process of installing the seats with plenty of one-on-one teaching.

“In the two years I have been inspecting child safety seats, I’ve never found one properly installed,” said Stacey Wilson, HealthStart Coordinator. “Misuse is found in all races, education level and socio-economic status,” she says “and 97 percent of all drivers believe they use their child safety seat properly while in reality, only 20 percent actually have them installed properly.”

Also included on the list of events for the day will be fingerprinting by the Demopolis Police Department and ambulance and fire truck tours sponsored by Tombigbee EMS and the Demopolis Fire Department.

Rounding out the event will be a free lunch of hotdogs and soft drinks from noon to 1 p.m.

For additional information on this and other classes and events sponsored by the Tombigbee Healthcare Authority, call 287-2626.