Valdosta Daily Times

April 12, 2013

Keeping all kids safe

The Valdosta Daily Times

-- — While falls, motor-vehicle accidents and poisoning are the top causes of children’s injuries, it is poverty that is often the leading catalyst of children being injured.

It’s not that the poor care any less or any more for their children than middle-class or rich parents. Rather, the poor often must make more difficult choices regarding what they can and cannot afford.

Earlier this week, Safe Kids Georgia representatives visited Valdosta. Lowndes County is one of the newest affiliates with the statewide organization with the mission of preventing unintentional injuries in children ages 1 to 14 years old — injuries that can cause death or disability. The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office is the primary organization behind Safe Kids Lowndes County.

In a meeting with The Times, Safe Kids state representatives discussed many issues regarding children’s safety and the aims of the organization, but the discussion of poverty as an indicator of potential injuries was eye-opening; though upon hearing the reasons, it only makes sense.

Poverty can lead to a higher rate of children being injured in accidents because these children are more likely to be placed in used, ill-fitting or broken car seats, or no car seat at all. In such situations, childhood injuries increase.

They made another point of mentioning charities that often give away bikes to needy youngsters for Christmas but do not include a bike helmet as part of the gift.

The intention is well placed, but a child without a bike helmet is more susceptible to injury.

For reasons such as these, distributing child seats and bike helmets is a big part of the Safe Kids Georgia program. Last year, Safe Kids Georgia distributed 2,888 car seats and 2,891 helmets.

In the future, Deputy Sgt. Jim Griffin says Safe Kids Lowndes County will host similar distributions, but he will first raise awareness of the Safe Kids mission to better protect all of the children in Lowndes County.