April 1998 Bulletin

Orthopaedists promote injury prevention

Dr. Sarwark urges "Drive It Safe"

By Cynthia Oertel

Injury prevention has taken on a new and more important dimension in the past few years. Medical professionals are volunteering in their communities to help implement injury prevention programs on important topics like driving safety, sports injury prevention and home safety issues.

John F. Sarwark, MD, used the Academy’s "Drive It Safe" slide presentation last month to tell the importance of passenger safety among young children at a conference, "Moving Kids Safely," sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Region V Office in Olympia Fields, Ill.

Representatives from Chicago area hospitals, police departments, health departments and traffic safety organizations listened to Dr. Sarwark stress the importance of buckling up young children to avoid serious injury.

"Orthopaedists see many young victims injured in automobile crashes every day," he said. "If only someone had taken the time to properly put them in a safety seat or fasten their safety belt, our emergency rooms would be a lot less crowded."

The two-day conference was organized by NHTSA to motivate participants to develop their own driving safety injury prevention programs in their organizations.

Jolene Molitoris, administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration, was the conference’s guest speaker. She urged participants to "educate the public about safety because it is the one of the most important contributions you can make in today’s society."

Conference participants also received tips from NHTSA on how to organize a traffic safety program in their communities. Officials stressed three key components. They are:

The Academy’s "Drive It Safe" slide presentation contains state-specific information that can be used by members in their own communities. Information on each state’s child restraint laws, speed limits and safety belt use is included in the script. Brochures, pledge cards and fact sheets for audience distribution also are included in the set. The "Drive It Safe" slide presentation is available to Academy members, free of charge on a loan basis, by contacting the communications department, (800) 346-2267, ext. 4123.

John F. Sarwark, MD, greets fourth grade students who won an art contest with a drawing showing children and a parent properly buckled up in a car.

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