Bronson South Haven Launches Safe Kids Coalition
Bronson South Haven is launching a Safe Kids Coalition in the greater South Haven area. It will be part of Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit organization committed to helping families and communities keep kids safe from unintentional injuries. Safe Kids Greater South Haven will serve children from newborns to 19 years old, who reside in South Haven, Bangor, and Covert. It will be funded through the Bronson Health Foundation.
This will be the second Safe Kids Coalition led by Bronson. The first was launched at Bronson Children’s Hospital in Kalamazoo County in 1989. After seeing success in Kalamazoo, Bronson identified a similar opportunity in Van Buren County when Bronson South Haven became part of the healthcare system.
“As the leader in children’s health in southwest Michigan, all Bronson hospitals and practices are committed to helping children be healthy and safe. Injury prevention is a big part of that,” says Kirk Richardson, chief operating officer for Bronson South Haven. “Safe Kids Greater South Haven will focus on child passenger safety, wheeled and winter sport safety, and water safety. It will also assist area fire departments in fire and carbon monoxide safety, and will support schools and community groups with educational opportunities.”
Pam Ford, the new Safe Kids Greater South Haven coordinator, has many years of experience in school classrooms and the South Haven community. She has been a teacher, a nutrition educator and has also worked for several years in curriculum development.
“I have known many of the kids in South Haven for years, as a parent and in various positions in the education system. As I continue to learn, preventing unintentional injuries is my new passion,” says Ford. “Preventable injuries are the number one killer of kids in the United States. Every year, more than 8,000 families in the U.S. lose a child to a preventable injury. Nearly 7.7 million more children are treated for injuries, some of which can affect them for life,” Ford says.
“The well-being of the children in our community is important to all of us at Bronson,” says Pam. “We’ll be here to assist families in making sure their children are in an appropriate and properly installed car seat; checking or providing helmets for biking, skating or skiing; and making sure kids have access to water safety information and life jackets while enjoying Lake Michigan.” Safe Kids Greater South Haven will also host and participate in a variety of events such as International Walk to School Day, fire safety, home safety, poison prevention, and more.
Safe Kids will organize opportunities for car seat safety checks at the Bronson Wellness Center, as well as quarterly car seat safety check events at various locations throughout the community. Bronson South Haven has three certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians who will be able to attend these events and educate caregivers on the correct selection, installation, and use of car seats, booster seats and seat belts.
Safe Kids Greater South Haven is currently evaluating emergency department data to determine the best ways to educate kids and their families to prevent unintentional injuries. Community members with questions, suggestions, or those interested in volunteering for activities, may contact Pam Ford at (269) 639-2949. If you are interested in supporting the program financially, contact the Bronson Health Foundation at (269) 341-8100 or click here to donate.