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MRC News

Published on December 12, 2001
Jim Albritton
Health and Research News Service

Sammy Safety, Methodist Rehabilitation Center's injury prevention mascot, places a safety information tag on a scooter at Toys 'R' Us in Jackson.

JACKSON, Miss.—Methodist Rehabilitation Center’s Christmas safety tag campaign is catching on with retailers across Mississippi.

Two weeks ago the Jackson hospital began offering stores that sell bikes, scooters, skates or skateboards safety information tags to place on those popular Christmas gifts. The tags, which feature the hospital’s injury prevention mascot, Sammy Safety, encourage parents to buy safety helmets and knee and elbow pads when they purchase any toy with wheels that children can ride.

Toys ‘R’ Us on County Line Road in Jackson is the latest retailer to join the safety tag campaign. Brookhaven Cycle and Sport in Brookhaven, The Bike Rack in Flowood and Indian Cycle and Fitness in Ridgeland are also participating in the effort to prevent injuries.

The tag campaign is part of Think First, Methodist Rehab’s statewide safety and injury prevention program that aims to prevent spinal cord, brain and other traumatic injuries by focusing on bicycle, automobile, firearm, boating, swimming and diving safety.

“It is a great idea,” said Cathe Knott, owner of Brookhaven Cycle and Sport. “We want to do all we can to promote safety in our community and encourage everyone to wear a helmet.”

This is the first year Methodist Rehab has offered the tags to Mississippi stores.

“We are very pleased with the response we are getting from retailers,” said Lauren Fairburn, Think First director. “We hope that parents will read the tags and understand how important it is that they protect their children from devastating brain or spinal cord injuries.”

Each year an estimated 580,000 cyclists are treated in emergency rooms and more than 20,000 others are admitted to hospitals. Wearing safety helmets can reduce the risk of head injury by 85 percent and the risk of brain injury by as much as 88 percent.

“Children who are outside riding bikes or scooters or skating should always wear reflective clothing or stickers or use bike reflectors,” said Dr. Rahul Vohra, Methodist Rehab’s medical director. “And parents must remember that for bikes, scooters, skateboards, roller skates or in-line skates, a helmet is a necessity, not an accessory.”