June 11, 2002
Year-round safety tag campaign begins in south Mississippi
By Jim Albritton
Health and Research News Service
HATTIESBURG, Miss.—Due to the success of Methodist Rehabilitation Center’s safety tag campaign last Christmas, the Jackson hospital has begun offering the tags to bike shops and other retailers is south Mississippi year-round.
The tags encourage parents to remember to buy safety helmets and knee and elbow pads when they purchase bicycles, scooters, roller blades and skateboards for their children.
The safety tag campaign is part of Think First, Methodist Rehab’s statewide safety and injury prevention program that aims to prevent spinal cord, brain and other traumatic injuries by focusing on bicycle, automobile, firearm, boating, swimming and diving safety.
Sammy Safety, the Jackson hospital’s injury prevention mascot, kicked off the campaign at Moore’s Bicycle Shop and at the Hattiesburg Bicycle Center in Hattiesburg. Sammy and members of the Think First team placed safety tags on bicycles and scooters in the Hattiesburg stores.
“We always encourage parents and children to wear safety helmets anytime they ride a bike or scooter,” said Think First director Lauren Fairburn. These tags provide valuable safety information and will serve as reminder of the importance of protective gear.”
Methodist Rehab is offering the safety tags to any Mississippi store that sells bikes, scooters, skateboards or other toys with wheels. Stores interested in distributing the tags should call 601-364-3451.
“Parents must remember that for bikes, scooters, skateboards, roller skates or in-line skates, a helmet is a necessity, not an accessory,” said Methodist Rehab medical director Dr. Rahul Vohra. “And children who are outside riding bikes or scooters or skating should always wear reflective clothing or stickers or use bike reflectors.”
Each year an estimated 580,000 cyclists are treated in emergency rooms and more than 20,000 others are admitted to hospitals.
“Wearing bike helmets can reduce the risk of head injury by 85 percent and the risk of brain injury by as much as 88 percent,” said Fairburn. “We work closely with schools and other health care professionals to do all we can to prevent traumatic, often life-changing injuries. Students are very responsive when they meet our speakers and our injury prevention mascot, Sammy Safety. They really seem to understand the message and we hope they learn to think first about safety and injury prevention.”
Sammy Safety, a certified safety superhero, encourages south Mississippians to think first safety and always buy bike helmets and other safety equipment whenever they buy bikes.
Sammy Safety and the Think First team kicked-off the statewide safety tag campaign at Moore's Bicycle Shop in Hattiesburg.