As a pediatrician, I have dedicated my life to the health and wellbeing of children. The children of the world are our future and our responsibility extends beyond just providing health care to ensuring that all facets of children’s lives are nurturing and safe. For wellbeing, every child requires caring adults, good health, appropriate education and a safe environment in which to live.
We have reduced the mortality rate for most causes of childhood death but motor vehicle crashes remain the most common cause of death and injury to children after the first year of life. Child safety seats and seat belts are known to significantly reduce the risk. Making certain that every child, including children with disabilities, is as safe as possible in the family car, school bus and ambulance has been a career long goal.
Success in promoting child passenger safety has come from working with amazing colleagues. Success has come from teamwork with educational colleagues at the American Academy of Pediatrics, Safe Kids Worldwide and the National Child Passenger Safety Board, engineers and manufacturers, government and legislative colleagues.
I could never imagine when I founded the Automotive Safety Program at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health over 34 years ago that it would become one of the most comprehensive transportation resources for children in our state and nationally and internationally for children with special needs.
Many challenges remain to provide best protection possible for all children on the highways. Globally we must address an ever increasing rate of highway deaths and at home the special vulnerabilities of children on our highways provide continued challenge.
Teamwork is the key to achieving these goals. Nurturing and organizing colleagues, promoting research and education is critical. Every pediatrician, every CPST and every law enforcement and administrative colleague are our real Champions for Change, saving lives one car seat at a time.
Dr. Bull is a neurodevelopmental pediatrician at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, Indianapolis, Indiana.