What’s better than saving the lives of injured kids? Preventing them from getting hurt

September 29, 2015

University Hospital announces pediatric trauma center renewal & new safety initiatives:

  • Pedi trauma Center is re-verified by the American College of Surgeons
  • New partnership to bring best-in-class child safety programs to SA
  • Local organizations invited join the new Safe Kids San Antonio coalition

Hoping to make walking to school, riding in cars — and doing the kinds of things kids do — much safer, University Health System has joined with Safe Kids Worldwide to prevent injuries in our community. Serious injuries are the leading cause of death in children.

Safe Kids San Antonio will be launching campaigns to improve pedestrian safety, child passenger safety and other important areas of risk for children in the coming months. Area businesses will be invited to join the Safe Kids campaign.

“There’s nothing more important to our community than keeping our kids safe, and making sure they have the best care possible when they’re hurt,” said George B. Hernandez Jr., president and CEO of University Health System.” That’s been an important part of our mission at University Health System for many years, through our pediatric trauma center — which cared for more than 1,100 seriously injured children last year — along with our many injury prevention programs.”

University Hospital is home to the highest level pediatric trauma center in South Texas at level II, and the only pediatric trauma center verified by the American College of Surgeons. Earlier this month, the College re-verified that level II status through 2018.

The new Safe Kids San Antonio — with participation of Safe Kids Worldwide and community partners — will expand University Health System’s active injury prevention programs, which have has distributed thousands of free car seats over the years and taught families how to safely install and use them. Doctors and nurses visit schools to talk to children and teens about the consequences of distracted driving. Earlier this year, University Health System’s Viva Swim program provided free swim lessons at area pools throughout the city to thousands of children.

“We would much rather prevent kids from harm than have to treat them when they’re injured,” said Jennifer Northway, director of adult and pediatric injury prevention at University Health System. “Safe Kids San Antonio will bring new resources to our city to keep kids safe.”

But the pediatric trauma team is ready to provide optimal care to kids throughout South Texas if they do become injured.

“Pediatric trauma centers have specially-trained doctors and nurses available at any time of the day or night, child-appropriate equipment and medications, special pain-management guidelines and other features specific to kids,” said Dr. Lillian Liao, director of the pediatric trauma and burn program at University Hospital, and assistant professor of surgery at the UT Health Science Center. “Studies have shown injured kids do better at pediatric trauma centers. We’re pleased that the American College of Surgeons has recognized our hard work in maintaining this important resource to the community.”

Verified trauma centers must demonstrate they provide not only the hospital resources necessary for trauma care, but also the entire spectrum of care to address the needs of all injured patients. This spectrum encompasses the pre-hospital phase through the rehabilitation process.

Safe Kids Worldwide is a global organization dedicated to preventing injuries in children, the number one killer of kids in the United States. Around the world, a child dies from an unintentional injury every 30 seconds. And millions of children are injured in ways that can affect them for a lifetime.

When a child dies or is seriously injured, the lives of families and entire communities are changed forever. But these tragedies don’t have to happen. The important thing to remember about preventable injuries is that they are preventable. They often occur in predictable ways and can be completely avoided with the right education, awareness and planning.

Safe Kids works with an extensive network of more than 400 coalitions in the United States and partners with organizations in 25 countries around the world to reduce injuries from motor vehicles, sports, drownings, falls, burns, poisonings and more.