Who is Safe Kids Wyoming?
Unintentional injury is the number one cause of death among children ages 14 and under in the United States. Also, each year one out of every four children needs medical attention for an accidental injury.

Safe Kids Wyoming and its network of Coalitions and Partners are members of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injuries in children. We know our efforts are needed because as many as 90 percent of accidental injuries can be prevented.

In late 1994, at the request of then First Lady Jane Sullivan and local McDonalds operators Jack and Suzanne Preiss, the Wyoming Department of Health’s Maternal and Child Health Program and the Department of Transportation initiated a media campaign originally called Help Me Grow!, by drawing together a group of public and private stakeholders. While diverse, these stakeholders all shared a goal to reduce mortality and morbidity through the prevention of health problems and the reduction of unintentional childhood injury. The campaign, which consisted of public service announcements promoting issues ranging from the importance of prenatal care, to car seat safety, to child abuse and neglect, was launched in the spring of 1995. First Lady Sherri Geringer served as its spokesperson. Wyoming was the second state in the nation to launch such a collaborative initiative.

In late 1995, a partnership between the Department of Health and National SAFE KIDS enabled Wyoming to finally join the other 49 states affiliated with the National SAFE KIDS Campaign and the program changed its name to Help Me Grow! Safe Kids. As its focus began to evolve from simple media messages to one of strategic integration of resources in support of a achieving a common mission – a state wide coalition was born. At that time, as a result of this partnership, Wyoming was the only state in the nation to have a formally recognized integration strategy to leverage both health and injury prevention resources to ensure its children’s healthy and safe future.

Recognized in 1997 as a National Best Practice by the National Governor’s Association, the coalition represented an historic collaborative effort on the part of the Wyoming Governor’s office; the Departments of Health, Family Services, Education, and Transportation; and its founding sponsor, Ronald McDonald House Charities.

In 2000, the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center Foundation formally became a co-sponsor of Help Me Grow! Safe Kids, thereby strengthening the public/private nature of the coalition. As the regional trauma center for our community, Cheyenne Regional Medical Center is committed to prevention and education and the collaborative effort of the coalition supports its mission; “To reduce the number of preventable illnesses and injuries affecting Wyoming children.”

Despite these efforts, unintentional injury continues to be the number one cause of death of children ages 1-18 in Wyoming. Falls were the leading cause of hospitalizations in children and youth less than age 19, followed by motor vehicle crashes and then poisonings. The data was compelling and would indicate a need for a more comprehensive injury prevention program statewide.

Effective October 15, 2003, Help Me Grow! Safe Kids was officially renamed Safe Kids Wyoming with a new mission statement “Dedicated to reducing the number of unintentional injuries in children in Wyoming”. In 2010, Safe Kids Wyoming was one of the first states to implement the restructuring of Safe Kids USA into the State Office Based Model. Safe Kids Wyoming now boasts a presence in 20 of the 23 counties. Within that there are eight coalitions, six partners and four affiliations.

The lead agencies of Safe Kids Wyoming are: The Wyoming Department of Health/Public Health Division, Maternal and Child Health Unit and Cheyenne Regional Medical Center Foundation.