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Mayor's Office Heading City Letter Head

May 9, 2002
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Brian Baker, Injury Prevention, Health Dept., 441-8046
Susan Epps, Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, 483-9508

Lincoln Plans Activities for "Safe Kids Week"

Mayor Don Wesely today proclaimed Saturday, May 11 as Ultimate SAFE KIDS Day and announced that the Lincoln-Lancaster County SAFE KIDS Coalition is focusing on the prevention of traumatic brain injury during national "SAFE KIDS Week," May 4 through 11. The coalition will host a free educational event, the Ultimate SAFE KIDS Day, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at SouthPointe Pavilions.

"We want kids to have fun, but also to stay safe on their bikes, at home and on the playground," said Mayor Wesely. "Thousands of kids are seriously injured or die every year as a result of preventable brain injuries, and kids need to know that a head injury can happen to them. It can change the way they look, think and feel. It can also affect their families forever. The Ultimate SAFE KIDS Day is the perfect opportunity for families to discuss the importance of wearing bike helmets and to impress upon them that they must keep safety in mind at all times."

Ultimate SAFE KIDS Day will provide parents, caregivers and children the opportunity to learn more about the brain and the risks of traumatic brain injury through interactive displays, games and safety demonstrations. Activities will include: A full-scale bicycle safety course (bikes and helmets provided) Certified COOL helmets for $11 with free personalized fitting The "Rollover" Simulator, which graphically illustrates the importance of using restraints Bike skill and safety demonstrations A free drawing will be held for prizes, including three $100 SouthPointe shopping sprees, a bicycle, a scooter and gift certificates.

Locally, 319 Lancaster County children ages 14 and younger were treated in local hospitals for head injuries in 1998 and 1999. Nationally, traumatic brain injury is the leading killer and disabler of children. Each year 3,000 children are killed and about 29,000 are hospitalized due to traumatic brain injury. It is estimated that 75 percent of bicycle-related fatalities among children could be prevented with a helmet. The average lifetime costs (medical, rehabilitation and continual care) for a severe childhood traumatic brain injury is $4 million.

The Lincoln-Lancaster County SAFE KIDS Coalition is comprised of public and private sector organizations which share a common mission of reducing childhood injuries. The local Coalition is one of more than 300 state and local coalitions that comprise the National SAFE KIDS Campaign. Local member organizations include BryanLGH Medical Center, the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, Lincoln Fire and Rescue, the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department, the Lincoln Police Department, Lincoln Public School Nurses, Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Nebraska Health and Human Services System, Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center and State Farm Insurance Companies.

"Injury prevention is a key part of our Healthy Kids 2010 Initiative to keep our children safe and healthy," said Mayor Wesely. "By combining local government involvement with private support, the SAFE KIDS Coalition is an example of the initiative at work in our community."

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