Unintentional injuries are the #1 killer of children in the U.S. and in Oklahoma. The Pediatric Medical Rehabilitation Unit (PMRU) at Bethany Children’s Health Center treats children of all ages who have sustained serious injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and multiple trauma injuries. While we strive to provide the highest level of care and rehabilitation for patients, our goal is to decrease preventable injuries.
The hospital provides safety education and resources through Safe Kids Oklahoma, offering a variety of evidence-based programs and resources designed to keep kids in Oklahoma injury free.
Because motor vehicle deaths continue to be a leading cause of death for children, Child Passenger Safety is a priority for Safe Kids Oklahoma. “Three out of four car seats are installed incorrectly,” says Kim Gray, Chief of Community Development at Bethany Children’s Health Center. “Safe Kids Oklahoma hosts 10 national certification courses to train Child Passenger Safety Technicians each year. Last year, we hosted 96 car seat checks and distributed over 1,000 car seats to families in need.”
A dedicated bike and pedestrian safety coordinator at Safe Kids Oklahoma teaches the basics of bike and pedestrian safety in elementary schools throughout the state and conducts bike rodeos where kids can practice their bike safety skills. Teen Pedestrian Safety programs also reach school groups, where the message “Heads up and phones down” encourages teens to be aware while out in the community. “Spot the Tot” demonstrations for drivers at car seat checks are designed to decrease accidental frontovers and backovers (vehicles backing up or rolling over a child in a driveway or parking lot).
Another key focus area of Safe Kids Oklahoma is ATV Safety. Statistics show that wearing a helmet on ATV decreases the chance of death by 49%. “We collaborate with OU Health and the Oklahoma State Department of Health to lead ATV Ride Safe Oklahoma to raise awareness about how to prevent ATV injuries and death,” says Kim. “Our nationally recognized ATV Safety Coordinator teaches in schools and youth organizations, reaching over 10,000 students annually.”
Safe Kids Oklahoma also reaches 2,000 children in high risk and underserved groups with their water safety education program, Wee and Wacky Water Wahoo, in an effort to reduce drowning accidents and deaths.
“We see the survivors of childhood tragedies in our hospital’s PMRU. Through Safe Kids Oklahoma, it is our mission to see that more children grow up to reach their full potential and to avoid injuries whenever possible,” says Kim. “We are dedicated to expanding our community resources and education throughout Oklahoma, reaching as many parents and kids as possible.”