Celebrating children, preventing injuries, saving lives
When a child is seriously injured, the lives of families and entire communities are changed forever.
As a way to raise awareness about how to protect children from unintentional injuries, Safe Kids Worldwide has designated May 18 as National Safe Kids Day.
"Preventable injuries are the No. 1 killer of children in the United States," said Charlene Proctor, who has volunteered with Safe Kids Rutherford County for nearly 12 years and also serves on the organization's board of directors. "This will be the first National Safe Kids Day, and what we're trying to do is raise awareness to protect kids from serious injuries."
All events will focus on celebrating kids and helping families learn simple things they can do to protect children everywhere.
In coordination with Children's Tylenol, the GM Foundation and Wells Fargo, Safe Kids Day will be celebrated in more than 100 communities across the United States, including Rutherford County.
Safe Kids Rutherford County will hold a free car seat check-up clinic in the Forest City Big Lots parking lot on Saturday from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m.
"During the child car seat check-up clinic we will provide a free inspection and check the child's seat to make sure it's installed properly and that they are riding in the current type of seat," Proctor said. "We will have nationally certified child passenger safety (CPS) technicians who will be available to inspect the seats. Inspections will take 10-15 minutes and children will receive a free story book, courtesy of Fireside Books & Gifts of Forest City."
According to Proctor, there are over 20 CPS technicians in Rutherford County who volunteer to help keep children safe. During the car seat check-up clinic, CPS technicians from Spindale Police Department, Spindale Fire Department, Rutherford County Clerk of Court and Rutherford Regional Health System will volunteer their services.
Proctor is also a CPS technician and instructor for the North Carolina Department of Insurance, Office of State Fire Marshal. She teaches people across the state who wish to become CPS technicians.
"Here in our community, I inspect, educate and assist parents and caregivers with installation of their child passenger safety seats," Proctor said. "In addition, if people are unable to show up for this car seat clinic, there is a permanent checking station at the Forest City Fire Department where people can make an appointment."
Safe Kids Worldwide is a leading non-profit organization dedicated to preventing childhood injuries. The organization works with an extensive network of more than 600 coalitions across the nation and in 23 countries to reduce traffic injuries, drownings, falls, burns and poisonings.
Since 1988, Safe Kids has helped reduce the nation's childhood death rate from unintentional injury by 55 percent.
The new National Safe Kids Day initiative shines a light on common child injuries and helps educate parents and caregivers on proven and practical things they can do to protect their children.
"The reason why I am so passionate about child passenger safety and Safe Kids Rutherford County is because I feel like I'm saving a life every time I volunteer — every time I check a child's car seat, I feel like I'm saving a life."
Want to go?
DATE: Saturday, May 18
TIME: 9 a.m. — 12 p.m.
LOCATION: Big Lots parking lot, Forest City
ADDITIONAL INFO: www.safekidsrcnc.org or buckleupnc.org