The Boards of Safe Kids Worldwide and the Home Safety Council have signed a letter of intent (LOI) outlining a proposed merger. When completed, the merger will bring together top experts in public health and safety with a common goal of preventing accidental injuries to children. It will also build on the more than 40 years of combined experience of the two organizations in providing education and advocacy for preventing unintentional injuries, a leading cause of childhood deaths.
“Safe Kids and the Home Safety Council together can be more effective in preventing injury to children than continuing as separate entities,” said Mitch Stoller, president and chief executive officer, Safe Kids Worldwide. “Home Safety Council is a well-respected organization with strength in home injury prevention that complements Safe Kids’ programming strengths in child passenger, pedestrian and recreational safety. We’re excited about the prospects of moving forward together, particularly the capability we will have to better serve at-risk audiences.”
“Educating parents and caregivers is vital to preventing childhood injuries and combining the outreach systems of the organizations will certainly enhance the reach of our messages,” said Meri-K Appy, president of the Home Safety Council. “Home Safety Council has long admired the work of Safe Kids in advocating for the population that is most vulnerable to accidental injuries – our children. As a combined organization, we will yield the broadest programming for parents and caregivers, have the widest network of expertise and be the strongest advocate in the arena of childhood injury prevention.”
According to the World Health Organization, 2,270 children die from injuries every day and more than 1,000 of those could be prevented if proven measures were applied worldwide. In the U.S., each year more children between the ages of one and four die from accidental injuries than from all childhood diseases combined. Among children ages 14 and under, black and Native American children experience the highest rates of unintentional death and injury. Children from low-income families are twice as likely to die in a motor vehicle crash, four times more likely to drown, and five times more likely to die in a fire.
Pending the final approval of both Boards of Directors, the organizations anticipate beginning merged operations early in 2011, and will be solely dedicated to the prevention of accidental injuries to children ages 0-14 under the Safe Kids Worldwide name. Most Home Safety Council programs would consolidate within the Safe Kids USA organization, significantly enhancing the delivery system for public health programs in the U.S. through coalitions and existing grassroots networks.
Safe Kids Worldwide in the U.S. has to date: donated 440,000 cars seats to families in need, distributed 2 million bike helmets and installed 300,000 smoke alarms in homes. Safe Kids Worldwide has nineteen member countries and, in the U.S., more than 600 coalitions and chapters. Coalition members are policemen, firefighters, paramedics, doctors, nurses, teachers, business owners, lawmakers, community volunteers and retirees. The Home Safety Council, through its various school-based programs, has provided free home safety curriculum to more than 80 million children, teachers, students, and family members in U.S. schools, as well as provided more than 1 million children and caregivers with hands-on home safety demonstrations in thousands of communities nationwide. Also, the Home Safety Council has served over 6,000 fire and life-safety educators of its Expert Network with online injury prevention resources and training.