The Injury Free Coalition for Kids (IFCK) of Lexington at University of Kentucky Children’s Hospital is a collaborative project to decrease pediatric injury through data-driven community efforts. Led by the Pediatric and Adolescent Injury Prevention Program (PAIPP) at the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center (KIPRC), where it is housed, it builds upon existing programs and relationships between PAIPP and the hospital trauma program/Think First, the UK Department of Pediatrics, the Fayette County SAFE KIDS Coalition and the UK Hospital Child Protection Team.

Based on a combination of injury data analysis and community partnerships, five Lexington zip codes have been chosen for emphasis as part of IFCK. One is a low-income area with the highest birth rate in the city, one houses a large proportion of the Hispanic population, one has the highest number of social services reports for child abuse and neglect with interwoven issues of drug abuse, domestic violence, and mental illness, one combines inner city with contiguous rural farm areas of the county, and one includes the university housing for a large population of foreign graduate students. Based on the trauma admissions to UK Children’s Hospital, our focus will emphasize child passenger safety for children under age 7, graduated drivers licensing for teens ages 16 and 17, playground safety and other safety issues at child care sites, and prevention and early identification of injuries related to child abuse. Pedestrian and bike safety, drowning, suicide and ATV injuries are also areas of interest.

IFCK of Lexington is currently working with three other major financial and community partners to finish a large playground made possible by an IFCK/Allstate playground grant. We are excited to see children happily climbing, sliding and swinging in a neighborhood that had longed dreamed of a safe place for its youth to play! We hope to build more playgrounds, and are currently working with a child care center and a church.

Kentucky has a high rate of child abuse deaths, and the IFCK of Lexington is in the midst of several exciting initiatives that we hope will contribute to more effective prevention, improved ability to recognize children being physically abused, and amelioration of situations in which children are abused. We are participating as partners in a community child abuse prevention grant being coordinated in one zip code by social services. In mid-September we joined three other University partners in hosting a first ever University-wide meeting of all people/programs/departments involved in child abuse. This meeting was an unexpected evolution from our playground project meetings, when it became clear that many units across the hospital/university had resources/training programs/interest and expertise that had never been linked. By mapping our current resources and capabilities, we hope to develop a blueprint for unmet needs and future initiatives in the area of child abuse.

This year, Kentucky is facing some of the worst fatality numbers ever in motor vehicle and ATV crashes. We are very excited to be a part of IFCK, and hope to work with the community to help make Lexington a safer place for children to travel, live, and play.