Washington, D.C. – In an effort to ensure every child has the chance to grow up safely, Safe Kids Worldwide launched its new strategic plan focused on Equity in Child Safety today at the Safe Kids Childhood Injury Prevention Convention (PrevCon), where more than 500 safety professionals gathered to network, learn, and collaborate on efforts to enhance the safety of children on the road, at home, at school, and at play.
Since its inception 35 years ago, Safe Kids Worldwide and its partners in the field of injury prevention have helped reduce the rate of unintentional injury death in children by 60 percent. But fatality data show that kids from communities that are marginalized and underserved have been left behind and are dying at higher rates. For example, Black children die at almost twice the rate of White children. Native American children die at almost three times the rate of White children, and rural children die at almost twice the rate of urban children. Poverty further increases these risks.
“We know from our experience that we can change outcomes for children and families,” said Torine Creppy, president of Safe Kids Worldwide. “But what we’ve also learned is that to protect every child and to provide the impact that every parent deserves, we must start to do things a little differently. And that means identifying and engaging with communities that have been historically marginalized and underserved and are therefore at greater risk of preventable injury.”
The strategic plan defines groups that are marginalized and underserved as people who experience discrimination or encounter barriers of any kind, including race, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, or disability. It includes all communities, including tribal, rural, immigrant communities.
Safe Kids efforts will use data to prioritize efforts in the injury areas that will have the highest impact on reducing deaths and serious injuries. In addition to a focus on groups that are marginalized and underserved, Safe Kids will place an increased emphasis on the three leading causes of fatal unintentional injury among children under age 14: car crashes, drowning, and SUID. Efforts will also be guided by the Safe Kids Child Safety Index, a new data driven tool to help identify geographic areas where children are at increased risk of fatal unintentional injury.
To support the new strategic plan, Safe Kids has also established an Equity Advisory Committee composed of leading experts in the area of unintentional child injury who will provide input into the implementation of the plan and collaborate on applied research in the three focus areas. A second group, to be established later this year will include collaborative partners such as government agencies, national cross-injury organizations, and equity partners, to encourage dialogue and collaboration to enhance coordination and impact of planned activities.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to make real progress in addressing the top three types of unintentional injury leading to death in kids,” said Dr. Sadiqa Kendi, Division Chief of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Boston Medical Center and Safe Kids Worldwide Chief Equity and Medical Officer. “By focusing on equity, we can drastically reduce injuries and deaths for not only the communities most impacted, but for everyone.”
Understanding the need to make lasting changes and ensure preventive efforts are meeting the needs of all, a major focus of the Safe Kids strategy will be to work to change the systems and structures that have created the current inequities. Through consistent, multi-year efforts to build trust and capacity, Safe Kids will work with partners to deepen the quality of engagement with communities while identifying and supporting effective models of injury prevention that are organizationally and financially sustainable, especially in communities that are marginalized and underserved.
For more information about the Safe Kids Equity in Child Safety Strategic Plan and for a complete list of names on the Equity Advisory Committee, please visit Safekids.org.
ABOUT SAFE KIDS WORLDWIDE
Safe Kids Worldwide is a nonprofit organization working to reduce unintentional injuries to children ages 0-14 and build equitable and sustained systems that support injury prevention. Safe Kids works with an extensive network of more than 400 coalitions in the U.S. and with partners in more than 30 countries to reduce traffic injuries, drownings, sleep-related deaths, falls, burns, poisonings, and more. Safe Kids also works to make kids safer by engaging in advocacy efforts at the federal, state, and local levels. Since 1988, Safe Kids and partners have worked together to reduce the U.S. childhood death rate from unintentional injury by more than 60 percent. Learn more at safekids.org.