By Matthew Jauchius,Executive Vice President, Nationwide
SEVERAL years ago, my own son, then a 2-year-old toddler, was injured when a chest of drawers he was trying to climb fell over on him. I remember how traumatic it was to hear the “crash” of the chest falling and his scream of pain that followed. Thankfully, he wasn’t injured seriously because the chest fell against a bedpost. The whole situation could have been avoided if the chest had been tethered to the wall with a simple safety strap.
No one wants to discuss preventable accidents because no one thinks it will happen to them. But each year, preventable accidents send more than 9 million children to the emergency room.
Roughly 9,000 families lose a child each year to accidents that could have been prevented-including falling, choking, poisoning, drowning and furniture tip-overs. Even though it’s the No. 1 cause of childhood deaths, very few people were talking about preventable accidents—until now.
The launch of the Make Safe Happen program during the Super Bowl started a national conversation about child safety around the home. This ad wasn’t intended to place blame on parents or hurt those who are grieving a loss, but to start a discussion to help save kids’ lives. Now it’s time to turn the conversation into action.
For many years, our company has been fortunate to collaborate with some of the most knowledgeable experts and organizations on child safety. Now we’re proud to announce the formation of the Make Safe Happen Advisory Council, consisting of medical experts, national and local safety organizations, and parents.
Members include leaders from Safe Kids Worldwide, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the National Safety Council, American Academy of Pediatrics, Parents magazine, Safe States Alliance, the Ad Council, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, the International Association for Child Safety, the International Association of Fire Fighters, The Compassionate Friends, and Farm Safety for Just Kids. We’re humbled by the support of these experts.
To their credit, the safety community has been working tirelessly on this cause for decades, but it has been difficult to break through the perception that safety in the home is a “solved problem.” Unfortunately, research shows that perception isn’t true.
Last fall, we commissioned a study by Safe Kids Worldwide to analyze home safety behaviors across the United States. The study—“Report to the Nation: Protecting Children in Your Home”—identifies a number of knowledge and action gaps. We are looking forward to reviewing the findings with the Advisory Council to determine the best ways we can help parents with this issue.
One thing we can do immediately is to raise awareness because we know that less than one-third of parents correctly identify preventable accidents as the leading cause of childhood deaths. Another thing we’re doing right now is highlighting the free, Make Safe Happen smartphone app, developed by Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The app provides practical tips to help make homes safer.
We’re committed to reducing preventable accidents and we’re inviting parents, caregivers and experts to join us.
It’s time. Make Safe Happen. North American Precis Syndicate