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Special Tool Reminds Parents to 'Look Before You Lock'
Stuffed animals are being used by the ‘Look Before You Lock’ program as a tool to help save the lives of infants and children. White County Medical Center partnered with the ‘Look Before You Lock’ Program last year and recently received a new delivery of stuffed animals to distribute to parents in the hospital’s New Life Center.
Established by Canyon Williams, age 10, of Ward, the ‘Look Before You Lock’ program reminds parents about the importance of checking car seats before locking the car doors. Each stuffed animal comes with a card attached that instructs parents to place the animal in the front seat with them when a child is buckled into the car seat. Then, parents place the animal in the car seat when the child is not on board.
Jamie Heffington, of Heber Springs, recently delivered her daughter Paiten Trinitii Buxton in the New Life Center, and was among the first mom to receive a new stuffed animal from the nurses. “It is understandable to forget a diaper bag in the car, but leaving a baby in the car is unthinkable,” she said.
WCMC was the first hospital in Arkansas to become a ‘Look Before You Lock’ healthcare partner. Program creator Canyon Williams became interested in the issue when his mother Juanita shared information with him on the number of children that perished in 2010 after being left alone in vehicles.
“We were both shocked by the numbers and inspired that something as simple as a stuffed animal could literally save a child’s life,” Juanita said. “He set out to raise money and collect stuffed animals through a program at school and local fundraisers.”
The statistics on infant mortality came from Janette Fennell, president and founder of Kids ‘N Cars, an organization that seeks to prevent injury and death in and around motor vehicles. Fennell founded the non-profit organization in 1996 to educate parents on the importance of vehicle safety. According to data gathered by Kids ‘N Cards, an estimated 38 children die each year due to a heat stroke after being left in a car.
Fennell pointed out how vehicles present other dangers for children, as her organization also tracks the number of childhood deaths related to non-traffic accidents. In 2010, Kids ‘N Cars discovered that more than 1,000 accidents involving 1,362 children, of those, there were 239 fatalities as a result of frontovers, backovers, power windows, trunk entrapments and vehicles are accidentally set in motion. Hundreds more were hospitalized due to the severity of their injuries.
“The most dangerous mistake a parent or caregiver can make is to think it cannot happen to them or their family,” Fennell said. “Children are inquisitive, so they are drawn to vehicles and also like to play pretend, as though they are driving like mom or dad. It is important for parents to establish rules that make it clear that their children should never be alone in a vehicle. Also, remember to keep your vehicles locked when not in use, and place the keys out of the reach of curious children.”
ABOUT WHITE COUNTY MEDICAL CENTER
As the leading healthcare provider in a six-county area, White County Medical Center associates strive to create a healthy community by providing quality patient care and participating in community health events. White County Medical Center is the largest employer in Searcy with more than 1,500 associates. The facility has a combined total of 438 licensed beds and a medical staff of 150 physicians that specialize in various areas of healthcare.