August 23, 2001
Methodist Rehab teams up with Rankin County Safe Communities for the Sammy Safety Seatbelt Patrol
By Jim Albritton
Health and Research News Service
FLORENCE, Miss.—Methodist Rehabilitation Center’s newest employee, Sammy Safety, heads back to school Thursday, August 23, from 7 to 8 a.m. to encourage students at McLaurin Elementary School in Florence to always think first about safety.
Sammy and his Methodist Rehab co-workers will team up with the Rankin County Safe Communities, the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department and the Central Mississippi Trauma Region to promote the Sammy Safety Seatbelt Patrol which reminds both children and adults to wear their seatbelts at all times when in motor vehicles.
Sammy and friends will reward buckled drivers and passengers with Lifesavers and issue dum-dums suckers to unbuckled motorists. They’ll also give each child a family safety checklist and information about school bus safety.
Sammy, a certified safety superhero, is part of Think First, a Methodist Rehab-sponsored injury prevention program aimed at young children and teenagers that tries to prevent spinal cord, brain and other traumatic injuries by focusing on bicycle, automobile, firearm, boat, swimming and diving safety.
Each year an estimated 500,000 people sustain brain and spinal cord injuries in the United States. The most frequent causes of these injuries are automobile crashes, falls, athletic injuries, especially diving, and violence. Children and teens are at high-risk for these devastating injuries, many of which are preventable.
“We work closely with schools and other health care professionals to do all we can to prevent traumatic, often life-changing injuries,” said Lauren Fairburn, Methodist Rehab’s Think First coordinator. “Children are very responsive when they meet Sammy. They really seem to understand his message and we hope they learn to always think first about safety and injury prevention.”
Think First speakers, including accident victims, physical therapists, paramedics and physicians, are available to speak to assemblies at elementary and high schools in central Mississippi. Call 601-364-3451 for more information about Think First.