Friday, September 26, 2014

Building Our Future by Bob Gfeller

I've now been in my position for 120 days, and the team and I spent a lot of time looking at what we do well, what we need to do better, and clarifying how we will build our future.

In the six years since the Institute started in 2008, the death rate for injured children has been reduced from 12,400 to the 9,500 per year in the U.S. Many organizations are focused on improving those numbers. The Institute wants to work on topics that have societal impact over the long haul, so we need to clarify our message so that our audience understands what we do.

Part of that is clarifying our mission. Our new mission is to discover and share the best ways to prevent and treat severe injuries in children. We're going to focus on identifying and sharing best practices, particularly from the best pediatric trauma centers to the ones in need. We are going to work more in the area of prevention in addition to treatment and care after an injury.

Our three overarching strategies will now be funding research, education and advocacy, with measurable outcomes for each. From an advocacy standpoint we have to ignite the discussion of pediatric trauma at the local, state and federal government levels, because we need funding help from the government. Additionally, we are going to redesign our private fundraising initiatives to insure that we can raise at least $5,000,000 over the next five years.

With those three strategies we are going to focus our work in two areas:

1. Raising the level of pediatric trauma care nationwide

If your child is cared for at a Level I pediatric trauma center after a severe injury, they have a 25% better chance of surviving than if they're not. The bottom line is certain communities are better prepared to address a severely injured child when they show up at their hospital doorstep than others. We have an opportunity to help those in need get better prepared.
We've preliminarily mapped the U.S. and identified a number of states like Idaho, Nevada, Montana, Utah, and Georgia, whose pediatric trauma readiness clearly lags states like North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, Ohio, and New York, particularly as it relates to having a Level I or Level II pediatric trauma center in their state.
  • Pediatric Trauma Summit 2015
We are planning another pediatric trauma summit for 2015, which will resume the work laid out at the 2013 summit. The next summit will move theoretical ideas to more concrete action plans behind two specific aims: 1) extend pediatric trauma care to rural communities through innovative ways, and 2) create a toolkit to share best practices, tools, and techniques from well-established Level 1 pediatric trauma centers to others.

2. Prevention and treatment in youth sports and recreation
  • Youth Sports
You've heard a lot about injury in sports, mainly from all the news about traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and concussions (mTBI) in football. We have funded the ongoing iTAKL youth football study for three seasons now. We need to focus on youth, 14 and under, because there is very little work being done for that age group. We plan to go beyond football to learn more about sports injuries for boys, particularly hockey, and we need to research soccer, basketball, lacrosse, cheerleading and other injury-prone sports for girls.
  • Youth recreation
Additionally, we need discover ways to improve safety and treatment for recreational injuries to children, especially regarding ATV safety in the U.S. There are millions of ATVs on the road and there are millions of kids riding ATVs improperly, even though all states have laws regulating children riding ATVs. The problem is that they're riding without supervision, without helmets. They're riding on and driving equipment that's too powerful for their age, and they're falling.

Twenty-one percent of injuries amongst children on ATVs are multi-causal – head, bone, internal injuries. Nationwide, the research says that while children are only 20% of the riders on ATVs, they are 50% of those injured on ATVs. The most astounding fact is that 90% of kids riding ATVs don't wear helmets. We will leverage our relationships and Richard Childress' passion for the outdoors to help address this issue.

We will keep you posted on our progress through our newsletters as each initiative evolves. As always, we welcome your input and support.

Stay inspired!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Cheer the Kids by Austin Dillon

Through my association with the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma I’ve had the opportunity to visit some really cool kids at hospitals all across the country. Recently, I teamed up with General Mills and their Cheerios brand to visit Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU to bring some cheer to children at the hospital there.

Cheerios is working with artist Justin Helton to design a special Cheer the 3 piece of art, which we presented to the hospital before the race weekend at Richmond International Raceway. After the art presentation, I had the opportunity to present replica, signed prints of the art to some of the children at VCU and visit with them.

That’s the fun part of my job. I love meeting kids and spending time with them. Some of them had a genuine interest in NASCAR, and really wanted to know all about what we do in the garage to make the car go fast. These kids could grow up to be future crew chiefs and engineers in our sport. A childhood injury doesn’t have to prevent you from living a full, productive life.

I’m thankful to my grandfather and grandmother, Richard and Judy Childress, for the work they do with the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma. The Institute provides funding and research so that children like the ones I visited in Richmond can have a chance at a normal life, even after traumatic injury.

Hopefully one day we will be cheering for these kids and all that they will accomplish. You can help support the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma and obtain your own copy of the Cheer the 3 artwork Justin Helton created on behalf of Cheerios by being one of the first 100 people to make a $3 donation. Visit or Cheer the 3 on Facebook and Twitter for more information.

- Austin Dillon, Driver of RCR's No. 3 Cheerios Chevrolet

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Child Passenger Safety Week: Research, Register, and Reach Out to Help Others

As the father of a young son, I know the worries that accompany the joys of parenthood.

As a parent you will always worry. But, there will come a day when you can worry less: maybe once you see a son or daughter graduate college, find career success, or get married. And until then, it’s up to us to keep our children safe.

That’s why we’re reaching out directly to parents and to organizations committed to protecting children about car seat safety as part of Child Passenger Safety Week, which runs from September 14-20. We want everyone to know that protecting children means researching the correct car seat, making sure it’s registered so you’re notified of any safety recalls, and -- if you’re as committed to this issue as we are at NHTSA -- to reaching out and spreading the word about car seat safety on social media this week.

One of the first purchases for any new parent is a car seat. Your child cannot travel safely unless he or she is restrained in a car seat that is appropriate for your child and that has been been properly installed. But how are parents to know what seat is best? With the help of NHTSA’s new Car Seat Finder every parent or caregiver can quickly and easily identify the type of car seat that will best protect your child. Additionally, our Parents Central Page at offers lots of other helpful tips for protecting our kids.

But our responsibilities don’t end with the selection and purchase of the right car seat or booster seat. In order to be informed of any possible safety recalls your car seat must be registered with the manufacturer. Yet far too many fail to register their seats.

As soon as you bring a new car seat home, immediately mail the postage-paid registration car that comes with it. If you can’t find the card, don’t worry; this web page allows you to register your seat online.

Our “SaferCar” app for iOS -- and the new Android version we recently launched -- also offer access to recall information, NHTSA’s 5-Star Safety Ratings, and other helpful information. “Snail mail” also remains a central way to notify Americans of safety recalls, which is why NHTSA recently mandated that all manufacturers use a new, distinctive label on required mailings so that notices aren’t lost among the junk mail.

Reach Out.
If you or your organization wants to help spread the word throughout Child Passenger Safety Week and beyond, we hope you’ll participate in our Twitter chat on September 17. You can follow the chat or participate by using the hashtag #therightseat. You can also enhance your engagement with your followers by using marketing materials we’ve made available to the public at and sharing brief videos on the topic from our Vine page.

It’s About Keeping Kids Safe in Car Seats
If you want to be sure your car seat or booster seat is safe, or help others protect kids, then remember following steps.

When you hear about a car seat or booster seat recall, be sure to:
·         Find out which models and manufacture dates are involved.
·         Call the manufacturer or visit their Web site for more information and to verify if your car seat or booster seat has been recalled; or
·         Call NHTSA’s toll-free Auto Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236.

Before you call, have the following information:
·         Manufacturer’s name
·         Model Name
·         Model Number
·         Date of Manufacture

If your car seat is recalled get it fixed right away.
If you don’t have another car seat or booster seat to use, keep using the recalled seat while you wait for the repair kit—if the recall notice says you can. Using a recalled car seat or booster seat is almost always safer than letting a child ride in just a seat belt. Many problems are minor but some are serious. All problems should be fixed as soon as possible.

The Bottom Line is Our Kids’ Safety.
There will come a day when parents can worry less, but until then, it’s up to us to keep our children safe. 

- By David J.Friedman, Acting Administrator, NHTSA

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Recognizing Concussions

USA Today recently brought up the topic, “how do families with concussion concerns pick sports?” Although there is much talk in the news about youth football injuries, many other sports pose injury concerns for parents and athletes. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, soccer players have the same percentage of injuries that are concussions as football players. Soccer player Tori Bellucci told her concussion story earlier this year as part of the White House’s summit on concussions and youth sports. The summit shined a spotlight on the nation’s interest in finding new ways to identify, treat and prevent serious head injuries in youth athletes.

After a successful high school soccer career at Huntington High School, Bellucci was offered a full scholarship to play soccer at Towson, but the physical and emotional effects of multiple concussions made her realize the risks of continuing to competitively play the sport she loves. Tori elected not to play soccer in college after she suffered her fifth concussion.

“It changes the way you think and feel,” Bellucci, 18, said. “I was just like really sad, really kind of desperate type of feeling. I couldn’t do anything because of my head, so I would just be in my room with the shades drawn. I was like, ‘I don’t want to live like this anymore.’”

Unfortunately, the effects of initially unrecognized and repeated concussions meant Bellucci’s dream of playing soccer in college ended, but she continues to work hard to recover and remains active in sports by teaching young children how to play soccer. At the summit, President Obama referenced Bellucci’s experience as an example to other young athletes and parents about the commitment ahead of us to change perceptions and improve outcomes.

Safe Kids reports that every three minutes in the U.S., a child is seen in the emergency department for a concussion, yet 54 percent of athletes admit they have played injured. The CDC has great resources for parents and athletes for preventing, recognizing and treating sports injuries.

Signs of a concussion that coaches, athletic trainers and parents may notice:

·         Appears dazed or stunned
·         Is confused about assignment or position
·         Forgets an instruction
·         Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
·         Moves clumsily
·         Answers questions slowly
·         Loses consciousness (even briefly)
·         Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes
·         Can’t recall events prior to hit or fall
·         Can’t recall events after hit or fall

Symptoms that athletes may report:

·         Headache or “pressure” in head
·         Nausea or vomiting
·         Balance problems or dizziness
·         Double or blurry vision
·         Sensitivity to light
·         Sensitivity to noise
·         Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
·         Concentration or memory problems
·         Confusion
·         Does not “feel right” or is “feeling down”

For an easy reference, visit the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma's easy concussion overview and click the graphic to download and print. For more information and stories from athletes, parents, coaches and athletic trainers, please visit: