April 4, 2008

Store to offer child safety resources

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Mary Kate Mouser

Store to offer child safety resources

The Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt is one of six children's hospitals selected to receive a $100,000 grant from the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI) to create a hospital-based safety store.

The six finalists were selected from among 44 applicants by a panel of eight reviewers, experts in the field of injury risk and prevention.

The Safety Store, the only one of its kind in the South, will offer affordable safety resources and education for parents such as car seats, bicycle helmets, outlet covers and oven guards.

Another component of the store is called “Safe Escape.” Through Safe Escape, child safety experts at Children's Hospital will offer families of children with disabilities and special health care needs education, information and equipment to prepare for safe escape during emergencies.

Devices such as mats to evacuate wheelchair-bound children and vibrating smoke detectors will be available.

“The Safe Escape program is of particular interest to us in light of recent weather related events,” said Mary Kate Mouser, director of Children's Health Improvement and Prevention at Children's Hospital. “Tornadoes have touched down in the Middle Tennessee area for the past several years and parents and caregivers with special needs children are especially vulnerable to seeking protection in these kinds of emergency situations.”

The store will open in the Junior League Family Resource Center in July, and an online store will launch soon after.

“The Safety Store is a logical enhancer to the education and interventions currently offered,” Mouser said. “We have been selling child passenger safety seats in our gift shop for years and have been looking for a way to expand our product line to other safety items.”

The Safety Store will collaborate with many area and Vanderbilt entities, including local fire departments and sheriff's offices, the Committee on Pediatric Emergency Care, First Steps of Nashville, Children's Hospital's Trauma and Pediatric Emergency departments and others.

“Many of our community partners as well as hospital staff have expressed a keen interest in seeing us complement our community education programs by creating a place where parents can go for products to keep their children safe,” Mouser said.

NACHRI is an organization of children's hospitals with 218 members in the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Italy, China, Mexico and Puerto Rico. The grants were made possible by a $1 million grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Assistance to Firefighters Grant program.