Staying Safe in the Car
(732) 418-8026 • Contact: Diana Starace, Coordinator
Traumatic injury is the leading cause of death in the United States, from early childhood through middle age. From a motor vehicle crash to a child's fall on a playground, trauma affects us all. The Injury Prevention Program at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital's Adult and Pediatric Trauma Center is dedicated to the prevention of these unintentional injuries and deaths. To this end, we participate in research and provide comprehensive safety education and training for all age groups. Our mission is to keep the residents of Central New Jersey safe on the road, at home and at play.
RWJ has been proud to be the lead agency for Safe Kids Middlesex County, the local coalition of Safe Kids Worldwide, for over 10 years! Safe Kids Worldwide is a global organization dedicated to protecting kids from unintentional injuries, the number one cause of death to children in the United States. Safe Kids Middlesex County is one of more than 600 grassroots coalitions in 20 countries. We bring together a cross-section of community leadership including: health and safety experts, law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical personnel, educators , parents, youth, local businesses, public policymakers and media to educate and protect families.
What We Do
We work to accomplish our mission in several important ways; through a combination of education, research, advocacy, and environmental change. All of these strategies work together to ensure that we reach as many individuals and families as possible with the information and resources they need to stay safe.
Our programs and resources are grouped by the places that injuries happen – at home, at play or on the road. Educational workshops and trainings are available for all age groups - for community-based organizations, youth groups, professional associations, and schools throughout Central NJ, and can be tailored for your specific audience. To learn more or to schedule a presentation for your group, please email email@example.com.
You can learn more about these topics by checking out the risk areas below.
- Button Battery Safety
- Drowning Prevention
- Fire and Burn Prevention
- Preventing Childhood Falls
- Fall Prevention for Older Adults
- Medication Safety
- Medication Safety for Older Adults
- Poison Prevention
- Safe Sleep
- Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention
- Toy Safety
- TV and Furniture Tip-overs
- Water Safety and Drowning Prevention
- Playground Safety
- Sports and Recreation Safety
- Concussion Recognition & Management
- Heat Illness and Hydration
- Acute and Overuse Injuries
- Emergency Response
- Wheeled Sports and Helmet Safety
- Winter Sports Safety
On The Road
- Child Passenger Safety
- Car Seats and Seat Belts
- “Never Leave your Child Alone” - Heatstroke Awareness and Prevention
- “Spot the Tot” - Preventing Front-overs and Back-overs
- Distracted Driving Prevention
- Pedestrian Safety for Children
- Pedestrian Safety for Older Adults
- Safe Driving for Older Adults
- Teen Driving Safety
County- Wide Programs and Events
This program, now in its 7th year, links local high school students with 1st and 2nd graders in Middlesex County to provide educational presentations in the areas of injury prevention and safety. The effectiveness of this teaching method is measured through pre- and post-tests and presentation evaluations. This is an opportunity for high school students to volunteer in a leadership capacity and act as role models for younger children in their community. The program makes use of the National Fire Protection Association’s Risk Watch curriculum, supplemented with materials from Safe Kids Worldwide (www.safekids.org).
In order to determine the effectiveness of this program in reducing unintentional childhood injuries, a long-term research study has been implemented to collect data from parents of elementary school children participating in the Safety Ambassador Program regarding rates and types of injuries, at home, at play and on the road.
This is an annual fall event that welcomes 3rd graders from Middlesex County elementary schools to a ½ day program filled with fun, interactive safety demonstrations and information. Teachers are provided with a “Safety Kit” that includes educational information, activity sheets, and sample lesson plans so that the material the children learn at the fair can be incorporated into the school day all year long.
The program goal is to increase the knowledge and practice of safety behaviors in the daily lives of the children in our community. With these skills they then have the potential to become safe adults.
Distractions are the #1 cause of teen crashes in NJ, second is speed. It is estimated that every eleven minutes a teen crashes in NJ and for those who are killed in crashes, over 50% are unrestrained. New Jersey has a strong primary seat belt law which was recently amended to include back seat passengers age 18 and over. However, we still see many teenagers riding unrestrained. Education for teen drivers and their parents is the key to reducing these crashes and fatalities.
The goal of the “High School Traffic Safety Challenge” is to increase restraint use and improve safe driving practices among young drivers in Central Jersey. Local high school SADD chapters (Students Against Destructive Decisions) provide the leadership for this peer-to-peer campaign. Injury Prevention Coalition members and transportation safety advocates state-wide volunteer their support, providing presentations, information and education for participating high schools. Solid program evaluation measures are available through seat belt observations, before and after the campaign. Schools are recognized at the completion of the campaign at an Awards Breakfast held at RWJ.