As schools prepare to let out for summer, experts remind us that we’re approaching the busiest time of year for hospital emergency room visits. On Friday, Mercy Springfield will unveil a new interactive mobile safety education unit with the goal of accident prevention. KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann has the details.
Safety Town is a mobile “town on a trailer,” says Daphne Greenlee, Safe Kids coordinator and trauma outreach coordinator with Mercy. She says it has mini-buildings, traffic signs and signals, and crosswalks to make the educational experience more life-like, interactive and fun.
“Safety Town is a mobile unit that we are going to take out through the communities and teach kids all about safety—everything from traffic safety to poison prevention, to bicycle and pedestrian safety and water safety. The whole purpose of it is really to meet the kids in the community where they are and to share that safety information with them,” says Greenlee.
She says the mobile unit can be utilized by the more than 200 Safe Kids Springfield partners within its 10-county service area. This includes fire departments, EMS, health departments and schools.
“We reach about 30,000 to 40,000 kids and families face-to-face through our educational programs—whether that is in the schools doing education on vehicle safety or whether it’s community events teaching poison prevention and water safety. So we go out and tailor our programs to the audiences that we’re dealing with and try to mold it to what their community needs might be,” Greenlee says.
Safety Town is a nationally recognized program for kindergarten and elementary-aged children, according to Greenlee.
With summer just around the corner, Greenlee explains that kids often have less structured playtime and less supervision, leading to more accidents. The goal of this program is to minimize those risks by educating children and parents.
The $22,000 Safety Town exhibit was funded by Mercy Health Foundation Springfield and an Emergency Medical Services for Children grant by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. It will be unveiled at 10 a.m. on Friday, just north of Mercy Kids, located at 1235 E Cherokee St.
Founded 25 years ago, Mercy’s Safe Kids Springfield program works to prevent unintentional childhood injury.