Car seats, bike helmets, and Tide pods? What’s new at TMC’s 9th annual Be Safe Saturday: March 23

Becoming a parent makes you suddenly care about a thing you seldom thought about before:  child safety.  The world begins to look very different when you have a little one who depends on you to keep them safe in every environment.

Your vehicle is no longer just a way to get from point A to point B, but a 2,000-pound machine that your child can get severely injured in – or worse.  Your living room is no longer just a place to hang out– it’s a maze of electrical outlets, corners, and dangerously tempting attractions for little ones.  As they grow, it’s a different set of worries – like making sure they wear their helmet correctly every time they get on a bike. 

As parents, grandparents and caregivers who are constantly juggling a full plate, it’s impossible for us to look at everything through the “safety filter” in our minds.  As technology evolves and new products are developed, hazards exist that may surprise you. 

Take those convenient Tide laundry detergent pods, for example.  Toss them in the wash, and laundry is a snap, right?  “They’re bright, and colorful.  You’d be amazed at how many children end up in intensive care because they’ve swallowed one, thinking it’s candy,” said TMC Pediatric Emergency Department manager Jennie Westmoreland, RN. 

be safe 1TMC’s Be Safe Saturday aims to let people know about new dangers as well as ones that continue to send children to the emergency room every day.

“We use the data we get from the Arizona Department of Health Services to identify our main areas of focus.  They are consistently child passenger safety, water safety and bike/pedestrian safety.  That’s what started our initial Be Safe Saturday event nine years ago,” said Hope Thomas, TMC Community Programs Director.

The conclusion from that data absolutely transfers into real life. Those focus areas are exactly what Westmoreland and her team treat in the emergency room.  “We tend to see a lot of children who have been in car accidents – ages 5, 6, and 7 for example – who are injured because they were not in a booster seat.  This is the age group where we see less compliance.”

Westmoreland says parents are shocked to learn how little water it takes to be a threat to a very young child.  “Toilets, buckets, even a bowl of dog water.  It just takes a few inches for a baby to drown.  It doesn’t always happen in a swimming pool.  And it doesn’t always happen in the summer.  Water is still water,” she said.

A near-drowning has been reported in Pima County this year – a toddler in a bathtub.

The number one safety-related reason children are brought to the pediatric emergency department?  Westmoreland said the data is pretty consistent.  Head injuries typically top the list.  Children who fall down stairs, fall out of bed, or fall out of shopping carts.  For older kids, they’re usually sports related, because they’re not wearing a bike helmet or they’re not wearing it correctly. 

be safe 3“Education plays a huge role in many of our cases,” Westmoreland said.  “Oftentimes, if parents were more aware, an accident or tragedy could have been prevented.  Events like Be Safe Saturday are so important because they teach people things they were unaware of before.  I love it when I tell parents something and I can just see the light bulb go on.  Be Safe Saturday allows us to make an impression on thousands of lives.”

The event is sponsored by Children’s Miracle Network, which helps TMC provide the 4,000 bike helmets and 1,200 booster seats that will be handed out.  Be Safe Saturday will feature approximately 100 interactive booths, and is expected to draw 13,000 people this year.  “The commitment we have to the community is strong and unique to TMC.  Every booth is engaging.  It’s about providing education and resources to keep kids and their families safe in their everyday lives,” said Thomas. 

There will be information on martial arts for kids, a jumping castle, a climbing wall,  even a corral set up to reinforce safety practices around horses.  With warmer months ahead, the Kohl’s Cares Vest It Up! program can help parents track down free swim lessons for their kids.  Tucson’s new soccer team, FS Tucson will be there, and as an added bonus, Tucson Food Truck Roundup will feature gourmet food for purchase from funky mobile kitchens.

Turtle_PicBe Safe Saturday
Sat., March 23
9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
TMC parking lot #11


  1. […] estimated 13,000 people are expected to pour into TMC’s Parking Lot 11 for the 9th annual Be Safe Saturday this Saturday, March 23.  Parking will be available nearby in surface lots and in the new […]

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Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461
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