Still another example is found in the crib. Eighteen years ago, our nation was horrified by the number of infants dying in their cribs by sudden infant death syndrome. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development began a government-run public awareness campaign to stop SIDS: “Back to Sleep.” Just like the name of the program, the “diagnosis” was very simple. It recommended that parents make sure infants slept on their backs. What happened? Since 1990, SIDS deaths in the United States have fallen by more than 50 percent. There is still work to do to further reduce unexplained infant deaths, and government continues to work on it along with the medical community and parents.
There are similar success stories involving baby carriages and strollers, toys and warnings about dangerous substances and medication. We still face significant challenges involving things like sports-related concussions and creating safe kids’ homes.
This is not to say that it must all be on government. As the president and CEO of the organization Safe Kids Worldwide, I work with thousands of parents in more than 600 coalitions. We provide advice to parents on how to keep their kids safe, alert them when a product is recalled and promote safety when children walk to school or ride their bike in the neighborhood.
As the mother of three, I can tell you that parents cannot do it alone — just the same as we, alone, cannot put out a fire, respond to crime or make the air cleaner. Government must be on hand to promote the general well-being of our children. It is.
Kate Carr is president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide.