|April 5, 2004|
WORLD HEALTH DAY TO FOCUS ON FAMILY ROAD SAFETY
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The Illinois Department of Public Health will join Springfield officials in observing this year's World Health Day on Wednesday (April 7). The theme for this year's event is "Family Road Safety: Protect the Ones You Love."
"There is no doubt that road safety is an important public health issue," said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director. "In 2002, motor vehicle crashes in Illinois resulted in 1,420 deaths and an additional 127,719 injuries. Too often, we think these kinds of deaths and injuries are beyond our control. But we know the risks involved and, when our prevention efforts are properly focused, we can reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries."
According to Dr. Whitaker, one important step Illinois motorists can take is to ensure all passengers - especially children - use appropriate passenger restraint systems.
"The evidence is clear and convincing," Dr. Whitaker said. "The proper use of seat belts, booster seats, and child safety seats can save lives and prevent injuries in the event of a motor vehicle crash. Of the eight children killed in crashes in 2002, only two were properly restrained in a child safety seat."
To mark World Health Day, the Illinois SAFE KIDS Coalition (sponsored by the Illinois Department of Public Health), in conjunction with the Springfield Police Department and the Springfield Department of Public Health will be sponsoring an informational display Wednesday. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. along the west side of the Old State Capitol Plaza.
Among the items on display will be a "crash car" in which all occupants of a serious crash survived because of the proper use of passenger restraint systems. Car safety seat information from certified technicians will be available at the event. Mayor Tim Davlin, Springfield Health Department Director Ray Cooke and representatives of the Department will be available to answer media questions at 11 a.m.
SAFE KIDS is the largest national nonprofit organization devoted to the prevention of unintentional injuries in children. In Illinois, 28 community organizations are part of the SAFE KIDS Coalition. Local SAFE KIDS coalitions and chapters work with the Department, the Illinois State Police, the Secretary of State Police and the Illinois Department of Transportation to educate their communities about injury prevention, with a major emphasis on child passenger safety.
Each year, the World Health Organization sponsors World Health Day to address a critical global public health issue. This year marks the first time in its history that worldwide road safety and prevention efforts will be highlighted.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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