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Kids Offer Safety Advice In 'Now I Know Better, Too'



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Kids Offer Safety Advice In ‘Now I Know Better, Too’

NEW HAVEN — Youngsters from throughout Connecticut offer advice to other children on how to avoid accidents in Now I Know Better, Too, a book on injury prevention published by Yale New Haven Health System.

The book is the follow-up to the award-winning book published by Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital, Now I Know Better, which was released in 1996 and resulted in the 30-minute videotape which was broadcast on Connecticut Public Television and NBC 30 in Connecticut.

The 79 young authors in Now I Know Better, Too represent 32 Connecticut towns and one in New York and were selected from among 1,200 essays on safety and accident prevention submitted last year to Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital, Bridgeport Hospital and Greenwich Hospital.

The co-editors of the book are Dr Doug Baker, director of pediatric emergency services at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital; Dr Thomas Kennedy, chairman of pediatrics at Bridgeport Hospital; and Dr Kevin Smothers, director of emergency services at Greenwich Hospital. The three doctors provide commentary on the advice offered by the young authors. The book also includes a section on safety tips for parents and children and an introductory letter from Gov John Rowland.

One out of every four children ages 14 and under sustain injuries serious enough to require medical attention each year in the United States, according to a 1997 report, Child and Adolescent Emergency Department Visit Databook, published by the Department of Health and Human Services. That translates into 39,000 children per day, or 14 million injured children annually. The report said 34 percent of all emergency department visits involve children and adolescents. On average, a child or adolescent visits an ER every second. Of all child and adolescent visits, 43 percent were injury related.

“Every parent and care giver knows that a child’s safety is often in the youngster’s own hands. Our experience is that letting another kid explain the consequences of a bad decision often captures their attention better than a warning from an adult,” noted Dr Baker of Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital.

In a survey conducted by Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital, three out of four parents whose children read the original Now I Know Better book recommended it to another parent. More than 60 percent of the parents reported that their children initiated a discussion about safety after reading the book.

“When youngsters read these stories three and four and five times, like many children do, and when they talk about what they’ve read with their parents and siblings, real learning is going on,” said Dr Smothers of Greenwich Hospital. “It is important to realize that  injuries are a common cause for people coming to our emergency departments. Commonly kids fall down and hurt themselves and parents are unable to manage it. Their primary care providers are not really available and the emergency department is the prime resource for that kind of care.”

According to Dr Kennedy of Bridgeport Hospital, members of the medical staff of the various Yale New Haven Health System entities who reviewed the children’s safety stories looked closely at the quality of the child’s advice for other youngsters.

“Good advice can avert tragedy,” he said. “The inspiration and direction for this book comes from the children who are quick to point out that they listen to what other children say, imparting a wisdom and credibility to their peers that we as parents and physicians are often not credited with having.”

Some excerpts from the safety essays written by young authors follows:

“Using your common sense is a big thing. Always try to think before you act. You can get hurt,” writes Nicole Miller, 13, on the dangers of too many people jumping around on a trampoline.

“My advice to other kids is to be very careful when crossing the roads. Look both ways. When you get your driver’s license, DON’T SPEED!” writes Jeremy Godenzi, 13, describing how a friend was hit by a car crossing the street without looking.

For information or to obtain a copy of the book, call 888/700-6543 Monday through Friday between 8 am and 5 pm.

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