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Local Children "Play It Safe" at Second Annual Safety Event

  • Category: In The News
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  • Written By: Nanette White

Hundreds of local children and their families combined education with games, demonstrations and refreshments at “Play It Safe.”

The second annual interactive event was sponsored by North Oaks Health System, which earned designation as a Level II Trauma Center in 2015, and more than 30 community partners on Sept. 10 in Historic Downtown Hammond’s Cate Square.

“A big part of our Trauma Center’s mission is to provide education to minimize the occurrence of preventable injuries in our region, which are the #1 cause of death among children in the U.S. according to Safe Kids Worldwide,” stated Katie Sheets, Director of Trauma/Certified Programs Director at North Oaks.

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the park was organized into “zones” highlighting safety and injury prevention tips involving the home, sports, outdoors and motor vehicles. Snack and fun zones also were featured.

A grant from the Hammond Rotary club resulted in more than 200 children receiving free bike helmets, which were fitted by representatives from Gray Cat CycleWorx. Mike Williams, Hammond City Council President and member of the Hammond Rotary Club, points to the organization’s passion for serving others, especially children, as the club’s motivation for contributing bike helmets.

“We couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this great event,” Williams affirms. “And the North Oaks Trauma Center designation is a huge asset to our region and the City of Hammond.”

Play It Safe is a community outreach effort of North Oaks Medical Center’s Level II Trauma Center.

In July, the Trauma Center earned official verification from the American College of Surgeons' (ACS) Committee on Trauma, becoming one of only five trauma centers in the state. It has trauma surgeons in-house at the hospital 24/7 to attend to victims suddenly stricken by serious traumatic injury. The hospital’s Trauma Center serves patients in Region 9, which includes Tangipahoa, Livingston, St. Helena, St. Tammany and Washington parishes.

One area of increasing concern for area law enforcement and health care providers alike is All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) safety, which was emphasized in the Wheel Zone with the assistance of Alexis Ducorbier Insurance Agency.

“An increase in the number of patients treated as a result of ATV crashes actually was the push for Play It Safe to be organized,” explains Tyler Brignac, a trauma performance improvement nurse with North Oaks Health System. “When we saw an uptick in the number of children and adults suffering head and neck injuries, broken limbs and even death from ATV rollovers and collisions, we knew we had to do something to bring ATV safety to the forefront. Play It Safe was born and just grew to include other community safety concerns from there.”

The importance of preventing injury motivated Nicole Nichols, of Tickfaw, to bring her children to the event.

“This is our first time coming,” notes Nichols. “My children are always on their skates and bikes, so I like the fact that this event stresses wearing helmets.”

Children had the opportunity to tour their favorite rescue wheel, including a Hammond Fire Department ladder truck and an Acadian ambulance. Nichols’ son emphasized that his favorite part of the day was touring the fire truck and watching the State Police car demonstration on seat belt use.

According to North Oaks organizer Ashley Miller, the event was successful in large part because of its community partners: Acadian Ambulance Services; Alexis Ducorbier Insurance Agency; All American Healthcare; Animal Care Center & Pet Care Center; Berrytown Produce; Champagne Beverage Co.; Chick-fil-A; Child Advocacy Services (CASA); City of Hammond; Cricket Wireless; Crime Stoppers of Tangipahoa; Cupcake Concept; Daily Star; Domino’s; GreyCat Cycle Worx; Hammond Fire Department; Hammond Kiwanis Club; Hammond Rotary Club; Ideal You at North Oaks; Louisiana Children’s Discovery Center; Louisiana Search and Rescue K9 Team; Louisiana State Police Troop L; North Oaks Nutritional Services; North Oaks Primary Care – Independence; North Oaks Trauma Center; North Oaks Sports Medicine; North Oaks Rehabilitation Services; Northshore Broadcasting; North Shore Safety Coalition; Perfectly Fit; Raising Cane’s; Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority Gamma Mu Chapter; St. Tammany Parish Hospital Parenting Center; Tangipahoa 9-1-1; Theta Phi Alpha Sorority Beta Epsilon Chapter and TRACC Coalition KEYS Alliance.

To learn more about Play It Safe and the North Oaks Medical Center Trauma Center, watch the recap video above or call North Oaks Public Relations at (985) 230-6647.