Kim Ruscher, MD is a Pediatric Surgeon at SHMC Riverbend and also chair of Safe Kids West Oregon, an injury prevention coalition. Last year, they distributed over 3,000 free bicycle helmets in our community, and will be continuing this effort – with their “Helmet for Every Head” campaign.

In addition, PeaceHealth and Safe Kids West Oregon put on an annual Family Safety Fair, and are working to expand efforts in the categories of distracted driving and home safety. Finally, they have a major effort this year to increase the proper use and installation of car seats and booster seats.

There are 12,000+ childhood deaths per year (that’s 33 per day!) There are around 9 million emergency room visits due to childhood injuries. Some of the top reasons being:

  • Falls
  • Poisoning
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Fires/burns
  • Firearms
  • Drowning
  • Suffocation

Some ways to prevent childhood injuries include making sure that your child is in a car seat if needed, that they always wear a helmet, and they understand home safety.

Home Safety

Most child injuries occur at or near the home. Some home safety concerns are:

  • Batteries in remotes, hearing aids, flashlights, etc. If swallowed, they can burn a hole in the intestines.
  • Label all chemicals with Oregon Poison Control stickers, including dishwasher detergent and laundry packs.
  • Marijuana has become a bigger concern, to ensure that children don’t get in to a parent’s supply.
  • Window safety and keeping large furniture and televisions, etc. strapped from tipping over.

Follow Safe Kids West Oregon on Facebook here. Events and activities like Eugene Sunday Streets, Car Seat Clinics and Safety Fairs are posted regularly.