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Celebrating 30 years of keeping kids in Utah safe with the hold on to dear life campaign

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For 30 years, Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital has worked to keep kids safe in our communities with the Hold on to Dear Life child safety campaign.  If you’ve lived in Utah for any length of time, you’ll recognize the Hold on to Dear Life jingle.

The iconic and award-winning public service campaign initially started as a car seat program that has grown into eight safety campaign areas featured under the Hold on to Dear Life umbrella. The campaign began thanks to the Huntsman family, which donated to Primary Children’s Hospital to establish an injury prevention program for children in Utah.

Primary Children’s Hospital is the only pediatric Trauma I center serving the entire Intermountain West.

The goal of Hold on to Dear Life campaign is to keep kids safe and out of the hospital by avoiding preventable injuries, according to Jessica Strong, community health manager for Primary Children’s Hospital.

As needs arise in the community, Primary Children’s Hospital has stepped up to educate families on safety measures that can be implemented to prevent injury and death. They educate the community through schools, partnerships, events, and media campaigns.

The efforts have been successful in many measurable ways. in 1990, the death rate per million for children under the age of 13 was 26.7. In 2018 that rate was down to  12.2.

New elements of the campaign will launch in August that focuses on the emotional well-being to help keep tweens mentally and emotionally healthy.

There are eight current safety areas of focus for the Hold on to Dear Life campaign:

  1. Be Smart About Car Seats
  2. Be Smart by Wearing a Helmet
  3. Be Smart Before Backing Up – Spot the Tot
  4. Be Smart Never Leave Children Alone in a Car
  5. Be Smart Around Water
  6. Be Smart About Pedestrian Safety
  7. Be Smart About Window Safety
  8. Be Smart about Riding ATVs

A few stats about safety from Intermountain Healthcare:

  • Although child bicyclist deaths have declined over the years, deaths among bicyclists age 20 and older have tripled since 1975.
  • Helmet use has been estimated to reduce the odds of head injury by 50 percent, and the odds of head, face, or neck injury by 33 percent.
  • In children younger than 1 year, using car seats decreases mortality by 71 percent. In older children and adults, the use of seat belts decreases the risk of death and serious injury by about 50 percent.
  • The most common age for backovers is 1 year old; 70% of these incidents, a parent or close relative is the driver behind the wheel.
  • Over 60 percent of backovers involve a larger vehicle (truck, van, SUV)

Hold on to Dear Life Timeline Highlights:

  • 1990: Hold on To Dear Life founded
  • 1993: Partner with SafeKids International
  • 1998: Successfully advocate to raise the age of children required to be in a car seat from 2 to 5.
  • 2000: Establish Utah’s first car seat fitting station
  • 2005: Launch Spot the Tot, backover prevention program.
  • 2006: License Spot the Tot to Safe Kids Worldwide and assist with the launch in 10 cities across the US
  • 2008: Successfully advocate to raise the age of children required to be in a car seat from 5 to 8.
  • 2009: Launch Never Leave campaign to prevent heatstroke deaths in cars
  • 2014: Launch Safe Trails, Serious Fun, an ATV safety campaign.
  • 2018: Receive a grant from Kohl’s Cares to focus on youth suicide prevention
  • 2019: Held several firearm safety events to promote safe firearm storage.
  • Aug 2020: Will launch our newest campaign, Emotional wellbeing to keep tweens mentally & emotionally healthy.

A few insits to safety statistics and how they have changed over the years.

  • Seat Belt Use in Utah in 1990 was only 25% and today it is 90%
  • Utah Childhood injury deaths per 100,000 in 1998 was 19.2% and today it is 15%
  • Fatal crashes occurring in Utah in 1999 were every 24 hours and in 2018 it was every 31 hours.

For More information visit the Intermountain Healthcare website. If you or a family member is experiencing a medical emergency, dial 9-1-1.

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