During National Safety Month, we are excited to highlight the ways Bethany Children’s Health Center is dedicated to injury prevention and the overall health of children in Oklahoma. Our injury prevention programs include Safe Kids Oklahoma and ATV Ride Safe Oklahoma. The injury prevention team members include:
- Elizabeth Koldoff – Director of Injury Prevention
- Julia Koelsch – Child Passenger Safety Coordinator
- Raquel Chisolm – Child Passenger Safety Lead Instructor
- Louie Marschik – Injury Prevention Educator
- Mike Klumpp – ATV Safety Coordinator
This team plays a key role in sharing the hospital’s mission, expertise, and capacity with the community through service, education and relationship building.
The team wants to see every child live their best possible life. “We develop and implement safety programs in the community so that families have the information and resources they need to keep their children safe,” said Director of Injury Prevention Elizabeth Koldoff.
Preventable injuries are a leading cause of death of children in the U.S. and in Oklahoma. Sadly, statistics tell us we still have plenty of work to do. For example, so far this year, Oklahoma leads the nation in the number of off-highway vehicle deaths (All Terrain Vehicles and Side-by-Sides).
Safe Kids Oklahoma is affiliated with the nonprofit Safe Kids Worldwide, and together with coalition partners, the team is dedicated to protecting kids from preventable injuries in hopes that more children avoid tragedies and grow up to reach their full potential. The team works hard to raise awareness and decrease the risk of preventable injury and death. Injury prevention experts from around the state come together to assist in achieving one common goal: keeping kids safe.
Thousands of children and families are served across the state. Here are some of the ways the team promoted safety:
- All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Safety Program: In 2020 and 2021 ATV Ride Safe Oklahoma reached over 10,000 youth with classroom education in about 50 school districts. Our aim is to expand the program both in scope (to include all types of off-highway vehicles) and personnel.
- Bike/Pedestrian/Railroad Safety Program: So far this year 5,570 elementary students from 24 schools in 12 counties received this interactive class. This program is expanding rapidly, and we recently received confirmation that we have the funds to add another staff person to this program.
- Child Passenger Safety: Last year we hosted 96 Car Seat Checks, where Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians inspected over 1,000 car seats and distributed over 1,000 car seats to families in need. We conducted National Child Passenger Safety Technician courses certifying 74 new technicians. We are on track to far exceed these numbers for this year.
- Safe Kids Day at the OKC Zoo reaches about 5,000 children and parents with safety information and resources. Wee and Wacky Water Wahoo provides life-saving water safety education to 2,000 under-served Oklahoma children.
- Research is also part of our program. Safe Kids Oklahoma was chosen as 1 of 7 sites in country to work with The University of Alabama – Birmingham on the Safe Kids NIH Car Seat Study. The purpose of this research study is to test whether a remote/virtual car seat technician is as effective as a face-to-face interaction. The findings may be very helpful for rural Oklahoma!
Keep in mind, these numbers were sustained even during a pandemic. Staff members pivoted to virtual approaches and remained flexible to continue a very needed service.
We are very proud of our team!