SummaryThe Indiana University School of Medicine Safety Education and Outreach department, formerly known as Community Education and Child Advocacy, operates a not-for-profit Safety Store that offers low-cost or free safety products, including products for children with health care needs or disabilities. Trained staff educate families on how to use the products and practice injury prevention and emergency preparedness regularly. Numerous anecdotal stories suggest that the Safety Store has saved lives, prevented injuries, and increased family confidence and capabilities for keeping children safe.Suggestive: The evidence consists of anecdotal reports of lives saved and injuries prevented.
Developing OrganizationsIndiana University School of Medicine
Date First Implemented2005
Vulnerable Populations > Children; Disabled (physically)
Problem AddressedAccidents at home are a major cause of injury and death for children and adolescents. Safety products can help prevent these accidents, but parents may not know about, have access to, or be able to afford them. The availability of safety products adapted to prevent injury in children with disabilities or health care needs is particularly limited.
- Unintentional injury as leading cause of death: Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 14 in the United States.1 Approximately 2,000 children 14 years old and younger die each year as a result of a home injury, with fire, suffocation, and drowning being the leading causes of death in this age group.2
- Limited awareness and accessibility of safety products for children with disabilities or health care needs: Safety products for children with disabilities or health care needs often are difficult for families to find and afford. For example, families with children who have hearing impairments need smoke detectors with strobe lights, but these products are often difficult to find.3
Description of the Innovative ActivitySafety Education and Outreach operates a Safety Store that offers low-cost or free safety products, including products for children with disabilities or health care needs. Trained staff educates families on how to use these products and how to practice injury prevention and emergency preparedness regularly. Key elements of the Safety Store's services include the following:
- Accessible location and hours: The Safety Store, located within the hospital gift shop, is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except for holidays.
- Low-cost safety products: The store sells low-cost safety products such as smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, baby gates, outlet plug covers, appliance locks, crib sheet clips, and furniture corner cushions. Through December 2012, nearly 19,000 customers have purchased products at the Safety Store.
- Safety products for children with disabilities or health care needs: The Safety Store carries an inventory of adapted safety products for children with disabilities or health care needs, such as Silent Call systems that include a vibrating smoke alarm with strobe light; wheelchair gloves and ponchos; medical/identification bracelets; allergy labels; tracking devices; and Safe-er-Grip bath and shower handles.
- Evacuation products for children with disabilities or health care needs (Safe Escape program): The Safety Store’s Safe Escape program provides products and education to families of children with disabilities or health care needs to support safe evacuation in a fire, emergency, or disaster. Information provided in April 2010 indicates that to date, the Safe Escape program has provided nearly 1,300 families with evacuation products and emergency preparedness education.
- Family education and ongoing support: The Safety Store staff help families identify and select products depending on their unique needs. Staff members also provide education and training to parents about proper product use and installation, along with instruction on how to prevent injuries. For example, staff members teach families how to test smoke detectors, replace batteries, and develop and practice a plan for escaping a fire, emergency, or disaster. In addition, the Safety Store presents education programs and special events featuring safety-related activities for children and parents at Riley Hospital throughout the year. The store informs current and former customers about safety product recalls via e-mail alerts and notices mailed to families.
- Widespread marketing and promotion: Safety Education and Outreach markets the Safety Store through the distribution of brochures and flyers at all hospital newsstands, clinics, and units. In addition, the hospital publishes messages about safety and the Safety Store in a variety of hospital newsletters and on plasma televisions located throughout the institution.
- Future online Safety Store and Safe Escape program: Safety Education and Outreach staff worked in partnership with the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI) to create online templates for Safety Stores and Safe Escape programs. The Web sites will expand the capability of children's hospitals nationwide to be able to offer Safety Stores or Safe Escape after staff has completed training for these programs.
References/Related ArticlesSwartz J. Selling safety: injury prevention store saves lives. Children's Hospitals Today. Fall 2006. Available at: http://www.childrenshospitals.net/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Search3&template=/CM/HTMLDisplay.cfm&ContentID=37737.
The Safety Store Web site is available at: http://www.rileysafetystore.org.
Contact the InnovatorCara Fast, MSW
The Safety Store and National Education Network Manager
Safety Education and Outreach
Department of Pediatrics
Indiana University School of Medicine
705 Riley Hospital Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46202
Phone: (317) 944-6565
Toll-free phone: (888) 365-2022
Innovator DisclosuresMs. Fast has not indicated whether she has financial interests or business or professional affiliations relevant to the work described in this profile; however, information on funders is available in the Funding Sources section.
ResultsNumerous anecdotes suggest that the Safety Store has saved lives, prevented injuries, and increased parent confidence and capability to keep their children safe. (See the Story section for several examples of these anecdotes.) Information provided in April 2010 indicates that Safety Education and Outreach conducted a study of unintentional injury admissions to Riley Hospital's Pediatric Burn Care Unit from 2005 to 2008 to identify leading causes of burn injury, the circumstances of each injury, and ages of children admitted for care. Analysis of data profiling families served by Safe Escape also is under way. This information will help direct future product selection and the development of prevention education materials to support children with different types of special needs for safe escape in emergencies, disasters, and fires.Suggestive: The evidence consists of anecdotal reports of lives saved and injuries prevented.
Context of the InnovationRiley Hospital for Children supports 447 staffed beds, 16,552 admissions and observations cases, and 231,556 subspecialty outpatient visits annually. The hospital is part of Indiana University Health, an Indiana-based, private, nonprofit organization offering a broad base of tertiary services, specialized pediatric care provided by Riley Hospital, and a Level I trauma center. IU School of Medicine's Safety Education and Outreach had considered several models for providing low-cost safety products and injury prevention education onsite since the mid-1990s and drew inspiration from the pioneering work by Johns Hopkins Children's Safety Center, which opened in 1997. Safety Education and Outreach championed an expanded vision for a safety store to be able to serve all children, including children with disabilities or health care needs, with low-cost child safety products and injury prevention and emergency preparedness education.
Planning and Development ProcessKey planning and development steps included the following:
- Generating interest: Safety Education and Outreach staff met with physicians, nurses, administrators (including the hospital’s chief of pediatrics and vice president of operations), and internal committees to build interest in and support for developing the Safety Store. Discussions centered on the importance of providing safety products at low cost to all families along with education; how to promote the Safety Store to families and staff; identification of the location, staffing, and funding support needed to maintain ongoing operations; and identification of the types of injuries treated at the hospital to guide the types of products that could be offered.
- Getting senior management approval: Hospital administration provided the support that was instrumental in identifying and securing the first-floor hospital space to be renovated for the Safety Store.
- Collecting data to determine appropriate stock: Safety Education and Outreach staff analyzed data on unintentional injury admissions to Riley Hospital for the period of 2001 to 2004 to determine which safety products to stock.
- Launching the Safe Escape program: The Safety Store opened in January 2005, providing the Safe Escape program as its initial service.
- Expanding the product line: In the spring of 2005, the Safety Store began selling low-cost safety products to hospital families, staff, and the general public.
- Training staff: All new members of the Safety Store team participated in an orientation that included observing current staff; reviewing all manufacturer instructions and product protocols; and practicing (under the observation of a current staff member) how to use or install all products, assess family needs, and complete paperwork with families.
- Renovation and expansion: The Safety Store was renovated and expanded in 2009 from 306 to 530 square feet, which since then has consistently increased product inventory, customer traffic, and product sales.
Resources Used and Skills Needed
- Staffing: One full-time staff member, several part-time members, volunteers, and interns work together to promote the Safety Store; serve customers; purchase, price, and display products; and enter inventory.
- Costs: The initial cost to open the store was $216,000; hospital funds, in-kind support, and grants support ongoing costs. Because the Safety Store’s mission is to provide low-cost safety products and associated education, the store does not earn a profit from product sales; the store uses revenues to purchase additional safety products and educational materials and resources. The Safety Store renovation and expansion in 2009 was accomplished through a budget of $154,898 with funding provided by Homeland Security and the Riley Children's Foundation.
Funding SourcesFederal Emergency Management Agency; Riley Children's Foundation
The Safety Store opened in January 2005 with a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Assistance to Firefighters Fire Prevention and Safety Grants Program. Several other organizations have supported the store's continued operations. For example, Autism Advocates of Indiana, Inc., provided free ionKids™ child-locating devices that the store distributes to families. This same funder has provided grant support for the purchase of protective helmets distributed to children through a partnership between the Safety Store and the Riley Hospital Occupational Therapy Program.
Getting Started with This Innovation
- Review the evidence: Collect data on admissions caused by accidents and injuries, as this information can be used to guide decisions on product offerings and inform the development of safety education topics for parents.
- Invite staff and family suggestions: Generate interest in the Safety Store by asking clinicians, administrative staff, and families for suggestions regarding priorities, needs, and types of products and education to offer.
- Pursue grant funding: Governmental agencies, foundations, and local community groups with a mission related to child safety may be interested in providing funding to support a Safety Store.
Sustaining This Innovation
- Establish in-house marketing campaign: This campaign can include distributing flyers and brochures and publicizing the store through printed and electronic newsletters.
Use By Other Organizations
- In partnership with the NACHRI, Safety Education and Outreach provides support to other children's hospitals interested in establishing Safety Stores. As part of this effort, Safety Education and Outreach has developed a replication guide and offers consultations on setting up a Safety Store and Safe Escape program.
Service Delivery Innovation Profile
Original publication: April 13, 2009.
Original publication indicates the date the profile was first posted to the Innovations Exchange.
Last updated: October 23, 2013.
Last updated indicates the date the most recent changes to the profile were posted to the Innovations Exchange.
Date verified by innovator: April 22, 2013.
Date verified by innovator indicates the most recent date the innovator provided feedback during the annual review process. The innovator is invited to review, update, and verify the profile annually.