Chatting with a Safety Expert About Toy Safety

Donna Joyner_256

Donna Joyner has been trauma/burn outreach coordinator for Wake Forest Baptist Health—Brenner Children’s Hospital for over 10 years. During that time, she’s also become coordinator of the Safe Kids Northwest Piedmont, a six-county effort to promote safety for children. Safe Kids Northwest Piedmont is the local chapter of Safe Kids USA.

How did the Safe Kids Northwest Piedmont get started?

In the role of doing injury prevention for the Trauma Center, Joyner heard about the Safe Kids USA. The organization is coordinated in North Carolina through the Office of the State Fire Marshal, and Wake Forest Baptist Health agreed to be the lead agency in this area. Three years ago, Joyner, aware that many surrounding counties didn’t have a local Safe Kids chapter, invited Surry, Stokes, Yadkin, Davie and Davidson counties to join with Forsyth, forming the Northwest Piedmont chapter.

What does the organization do?

Our focus is on injury prevention of unintentional injuries for children 14 and under.

While the national organization focuses on various areas of safety, the Northwest Piedmont chapter puts an emphasis on three key issues: child passenger, fire and water safety.

This past month was walk-to-school day, in which Safe Kids got children, teachers and parents at three local schools to walk to school or come to school and then to go back outside for a walking program in which children were taught pedestrian safety. There were activity books, slap bracelets, stickers and other fun activities.

In general, the group focuses its educational efforts in teaching children and parents at different venues and through different means about safety involving bicycles, infant car seats, booster seats, travel, fire, homes, pool or water, poisoning and guns.

What are some safety issues people don’t think about enough?

Around the house, Safe Kids focuses attention on things such as advising parents to keep pot handles turned backward to avoid kids reaching up and pulling from a stove or touching a hot pot. Safe Kids also teaches parents to keep home water heaters at less than 120 degrees Fahrenheit, rather than a more typical 140 degrees; a third-degree burn can occur with exposure of just five seconds to water heated to 140 degrees.

The organization teaches parents to keep dangerous products, perfumes and medications out of the reach of children. And it even alerts parents to the danger of strings hanging from children’s hoodies or winter coats, which can get caught in car or bus doors and cause strangulation.

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