Children's Hospital of Illinois Receives Three-Year Grant Toward Preventing Childhood Injuries

March 30, 2004 - Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Peoria

Children’s Hospital of Illinois at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center has received a three-year, $161,000 grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to develop an Injury Free Coalition for Kids program site in central Illinois.

The Coalition, a national program of RWJF, is a nationwide network of hospital-based community programs whose efforts are anchored in research, education and advocacy. Recognizing that injuries are the leading cause of death and hospitalization in young people, the mission of the program is to reduce injuries to children and create safe communities for children and families.

The Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Peoria will initially concentrate on the areas of child passenger safety, bike and helmet safety and ATV safety. A comprehensive injury data base will be developed to track local injuries and the effects of targeted intervention.

Children’s Hospital is committed to promoting and advocating for childhood safety. The hospital’s Advocacy Committee has been actively involved in injury prevention by developing community based programs. This committee’s membership includes representatives from 20 local organizations that serve children and families. Programs developed have included: “UnderCover,” a distribution of bicycle helmets (more than 15,000 in three years); a Shaken Baby Syndrome educational program for new parents; the “Parent’s Guide to…” brochure series; and several public awareness campaigns.

Additionally, Children’s Hospital and the American Red Cross partnered in 1999 to establish the Peoria Area SAFE KIDS Coalition, part of the national SAFE KIDS Campaign, an effort focused on the prevention of unintentional childhood injury. In Peoria, the focus has been on child passenger safety, bicycle and helmet safety, safety in sports and fire safety. The Peoria coalition has established:

A network of more than 30 certified child passenger safety technicians who offer the service of car seat checks; A permanent fitting station where child safety seats can be inspected on an appointment basis; Partnerships with area General Motors dealerships to offer public car seat safety checks; and A comprehensive, multilevel, public awareness approach to child passenger safety. The establishment of the Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Peoria will complement the current injury prevention efforts of Children’s Hospital. This physician-led component will add validity in research, calculated and coordinated interventions and evaluation of these advocacy efforts.

Primary co-investigators of this project are: Richard Pearl, M.D., Director of Pediatric Trauma Services and Surgeon-in-Chief for Children’s Hospital; and John Hafner, M.D., Director of Research for the Emergency Medicine Residency Program at OSF Saint Francis. Full support has been received from the leadership of Children’s Hospital, its Community Advisory Board and the board’s standing committees.