A fund to provide bike and ski helmets as well as child car seats has been set up with a grant from the North Shore Health Care Foundation. The fund is designed to create a sustainable program within Cook County that will provide safety equipment for all children that are in need of it. Christine Kunze is a nurse and child passenger safety technician who directs the program for the North Shore Hospital and Cook County Ambulance.
Kunze: North Shore Hospital has developed a fund called the Cook County Head and Butt Fund with a generous grant from the North Shore Health Care Foundation. What this program is intended to be is to enable everybody in Cook County to have a helmet and/or a car seat if they need one. What we’ve found in the last two years doing different programs through the hospital and through the Early Childhood Coalition, number one, people could not buy a car seat in Cook County and, number two, people were misusing car seats.
Kunze added the program’s vision is to improve health, safety and the quality of life through education and community service. She said it’s the programs belief that every child has the right to a car seat and bike helmet, and that emergency room visits should not be the right of passage for local children, because childhood injury is preventable.
Kunze: The Head and Butt Fund was encompassed with the emergency medical system here, which already had the grant and that grant had expired. We had given all of our helmets out in a one-day event at a kindergarten class last year.
She said that established a definite need for child safety equipment in the county, and now the fund will fill that need.
Kunze: And that is a program where if you came and you said, “I need a helmet,” I will get you a helmet. When I give you that helmet or that car seat, I will ask you if you could make a generous donation of any and/or all or part of the car seat to go back into that program to buy another car seat and a helmet.
In addition to car seats, Kunze said they are currently working to expand the program to include snowmobile and ATV helmets as well as those for biking and skiing.