All parents believe they do everything on earth to protect their child against harm. They warn their kids about talking to strangers, reassure them that the doors are locked, cover electrical sockets, put fences around pools, buckle them up in the car, and insist on helmets for even a two-minute bike ride.
But in spite of their best intentions, children experience nearly 400,000 hospitalizations and over 10-million emergency room visits each year from accidents that exact emotional devastation and astronomical expense. Who can forget the unbearably sad tale of the two toddlers in Carle Place who nearly drowned? Who can stand to think about the recent deaths, due to carbon monoxide poisoning of six family members, in Roslyn Heights, when the warning beeps emitted from the installed detector went ingnored?
Given these horrific stories, it is ironic to consider that, according to the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission, 90 percent of all childhood injuries are preventable! These include incidents that happen after the high-risk season of May to August, when parents and other caretakers think it's okay to relax. In fact, indoor safety measures are just as important.
Parenthood doesn't come with an instruction manual. But if it did, the first chapter would be on safety.
Some people mistakenly believe that careful adult supervision is sufficient protection. However, no one has split second reflexes. Thousands of childhood injuries could be prevented, if all adults knew how to detect and correct known hazards in their homes. A combination of hazard removal and supervision is necessary. It's just that simple. Child injury is no accident. Most of the injuries that occur to children are very predictable and can be anticipated.
If child injuries are not accidents, what are they? Well, they can be viewed as any other childhood disease. A child is at great risk of contracting a communicable disease if not properly immunized. This is predictable. Would it be considered an accident then if an unimmunized child contracts the measles? So, when so many children, die or are disabled by preventable injuries this year, consider them to have been victims of a disease, the disease of child injury or better yet, the epidemic of child injury. Removing known safety hazards is a proven preventive measure for this particular disease- consider it a vaccine. Child injury is a disease that everybody can, and must, work to prevent rather than simply hope to treat them in emergency rooms.
As former U.S. Surgeon General C Everett Koop said, " If a disease were killing our children, in the same proportion as are accidents, people would be outraged and demand that this killer be stopped".
Many parents are conscientious about getting their children vaccinated against childhood diseases.
Sadly, too many children are not benefiting from another form of protection..injury prevention!The above mentioned statistics are the tragic consequence of this omission. The sad fact is that as long as adults don't take reasonable and rational steps to keep their children safe, these tragedies will continue to occur.
"ACCIDENT" or "PREVENTABLE INJURY"? If this "accident versus preventable injury" idea all sounds like a bunch of words to you, try this exercise: Make a list of several "accidents" that have happened to friends and family in your recent memory. Then, one by one, evaluate each event to see if you can fill in the blank for this sentence: "This event would not have happened if____________." The only true accident is the event where the blank stays empty.
Precious little progress has been made in the war against injury to children. That was then, but this is now, because a new innovative program can now help prevent these needless tragedies. What is this remarkable program , you ask? It's National Childhood Injury Prevention Week (NCIPW), a ground breaking national public education campaign launched to halt the epidemic of unintentional injuries that has swept this country. Guided by a child safety expert, the campaign is the first of its kind to target parents and grandparents, encouraging them to get more involved in making their children's lives safer. NCIPW is sponsored by The As Safe As Possible Campaign, a Long Island based organization. The campaign emphasizes public education and individual and community involvement, helping to raise awareness about the devastating societal impact of childhood injury and providing concrete strategies for reducing the incidence of such events. Organizers of NCIPW have an ambitious goal: to eliminate unintentional childhood injury related deaths within ten years. This is all about zero tolerance. Who among us could tell a parent that any child's death is acceptable?
"How could this have happened?" "Why didn't I see this coming?" "What should I have done differently?" These are questions you never want to ask yourself........... The As Safe As Possible Campaign was formed so you don't have to, says the Executive Director.
This year the National Childhood Injury Prevention Week kick-off event is right here on Long Island. In cooperation with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, Jones Beach will be the site. Given the beautiful surroundings, and natural attraction for Long Island families over this holiday weekend, Jones Beach is the perfect site for such an event. This family activity, full of information and fun, will be in the Boardwalk area between The Central Mall and the West Bath House (parking field #4), between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 2nd. For more information on the event, or joining The As Safe As Possible Campaign, call (516) 482-1475, or e-mail NOBOOBOOS@aol.com.