Safe Kids Upstate celebrates 20 years, honors Greenville Journal

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Safe Kids Upstate, a coalition devoted to preventing accidental injury and death in children, celebrated two decades with a gala and visit from Safe Kids Worldwide president and CEO Kate Carr.

The nonprofit honored the Greenville Journal with the Media Award for keeping safety in the forefront of the community

According to Safe Kids Upstate, which is affiliated with Children’s Hospital of Greenville Health System (GHS), childhood deaths from unintentional injuries have dropped 43 percent and unintentional injuries have dropped 22 percent.

The organization has sponsored efforts in Greenville, Oconee and Pickens counties ranging from life jacket loaner boards on Oconee County lakes and car seat inspection stations to safe sleep education and bike helmet distribution.

Carr said the Safe Kids Upstate coalition was touted as an example because of its community partners, physician support and knowledgeable staff.

Bradshaw Automotive was recognized as an early backer of the program and William Bradshaw helped present the years’ awards, including Greenville City Police Department with the Champion Award, Kent and Brent Dill with the Brian Donnelly Legacy Award for advocacy, professional support and compassion.

Dr. Kevin Polley, GHS chief of pediatric emergency medicine, who introduced the Safe Kids program to the area, received the Hero Award along with Easley firefighter Jack Jones, who was honored as Child Passenger Safety Technician of the Year. After Jones taught a family to install their safety seat, the seat later saved the child’s life.

Parenting Place was honored with the Cribs for Kids Partnership Award, and GHS employee Randy Harriger was recognized with a special award for his passion for making a difference for children.

Safe Kids Upstate has fitted more than 24,500 bike helmets, distributed more than 2,000 portable cribs and checked more than 15,000 child car seats to date.

“The ideal way to treat childhood injuries and fatalities is to prevent them from occurring in the first place,” said Dr. William Schmidt III, medical director of Children’s Hospital, in a statement. “That is exactly what Safe Kids Upstate has done.”

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