Safe Kids of Georgia
In 1988, the National SAFE KIDS Campaign was founded by the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. The Campaign initially selected ten target cities to develop coalitions with Atlanta being one of the ten cities. Georgia was the only state coalition at that time.
SAFE KIDS of Georgia had its inaugural meeting in May of 1988. Governor Joe Frank Harris proclaimed May 16-22 as SAFE KIDS Week in Georgia. The program committee structure was formed consisting of 49 organizations and agencies with one common bond--preventing childhood injuries. The program committee continues to meet once a month and now represents over 80 organizations.
The initial lead agencies were the Governor's Commission on Children and Youth and the Council for Children. In 1990, SAFE KIDS of Georgia became incorporated and elected its board of directors. Also in 1990, Egleston Children's Hospital became the lead agency for SAFE KIDS of Georgia.
Original financial sponsors of SAFE KIDS of Georgia were The Kroger Company and Egleston Children's Hospital, with a total first year budget of $13,000. Today, Egleston supports SAFE KIDS of Georgia with an Executive Director, Associate Director and an operating budget of $60,000. Additionally, Egleston provides injury prevention literature as well as other resources to SAFE KIDS of Georgia Coalition members at no cost.
SAFE KIDS of Georgia began with coalitions in DeKalb, Gwinnett, Dalton, Augusta, Savannah, and Brunswick and has grown to 47 coalitions as of January 1999. In 1989, SAFE KIDS of Georgia received the National SAFE KIDS Campaign "Best Coalition Award" and more recently was recognized as a model prototype for future state-wide coalitions.
In 1996, SAFE KIDS of Georgia gained international recognition from the World Health Organization as the first Cooperating Helmet Initiative Program in the United States. SAFE KIDS of Georgia joins the Childhood Injury Prevention Service of England's Royal Berkshire Hospital and the Helmet Initiative Program of Sweden as model programs of excellence seeking to prevent brain injury by promoting bicycle helmet usage. A key factor in this recognition is SAFE KIDS of Georgia's instrumental role in passing Georgia's bicycle helmet law in 1993, the most comprehensive law in the country at the time. Since the passage of this legislation, SAFE KIDS of Georgia has distributed over 10,000 helmets to underserved children.
SAFE KIDS of Georgia has proven it takes a willing attitude and winning spirit to make a program grow strong enough to reach its goals.
What is a SAFE KIDS Coalition?
Coalitions have been defined as "a union of people and organizations working to influence outcomes on a specific problem." SAFE KIDS coalitions exemplify this definition.
The specific problem SAFE KIDS focuses on is unintentional childhood injury.
The union of people and organizations range from health departments, law enforcement, nurses, doctors, teachers, principals, fire fighters, EMTs, business leaders, politicians to other community members concerned about the safety of children.
A coalition is a way for each group to bring their strengths together to form a unified and more powerful group to spread the injury prevention message. Being a part of SAFE KIDS benefits each member of the group by making more resources available to everyone.
Coalitions also offer public awareness for each group involved. Since SAFE KIDS is a partnership, all groups involved receive recognition for involvement.
What Does a SAFE KIDS of Georgia Coalition DO?
Preventable injuries are the #1 killer of children under the age of 14; claiming more lives than all childhood diseases combined. Each year 6,300 children are killed and 120,000 are permanently disabled from an injury that could have been prevented. The goal of SAFE KIDS is to reduce these numbers through local grassroots coalitions.
The focus of SAFE KIDS of Georgia is the top five preventable killers of children under the age of 14:
- Motor Vehicle Safety (including bicycle and pedestrian safety)
The goal of a coalition is to teach parents and children about child safety. Local coalitions implement safety programs (examples below), teach safety to school children, teach safety to parent groups, and distribute child safety equipment to families in need.