The Goodyear Foundation awards multi-year grant to support ‘safe mobility’ programs

Staff report

Akron Children’s Hospital recently announced a three-year grant from The Goodyear Foundation to support the “Safe Mobility Project,” enabling the hospital and community partner organizations to expand child safety programs focusing on child passenger seats, bike helmets, pedestrian safety and teen drivers.

At an announcement today, Richard J. Kramer, chairman and CEO of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, said the Safe Mobility Project will build on Goodyear’s long support of Akron Children’s Hospital, engage Goodyear associates in promoting safe mobility, and expand programs that keep children safe in cars, on bikes, on foot and as new drivers.

“The Goodyear Foundation is excited to collaborate with Akron Children’s Hospital on the new Safe Mobility Project to increase the hospital’s reach with existing childhood injury prevention efforts, such as child passenger safety seat and bike helmet programs and to add a new teen safe driving program,” Kramer said. “We’re committed to helping promote safe mobility to make our communities stronger, and ultimately help prevent childhood injuries in our community.”

The Safe Mobility Project will distribute 2,500 child passenger safety seats and more than 2,700 bike helmets and conduct car safety seat and bike helmet safety events with parents and caregivers in Akron-area neighborhoods where children are at high risk for injury. The teen driving program will be new to Akron Children’s safety programs and will become sustainable after the grant’s conclusion. The Goodyear Foundation will contribute $500,000 to support the project over the three year period.

“Advocating for kids and keeping them safe and out of the hospital has always been part of Akron Children’s mission,” said Bill Considine, president and CEO of Akron Children’s. “We see many injuries that can be prevented and greatly appreciate The Goodyear Foundation’s generous financial support and commitment to keeping the children in our community safe.”

The program’s effectiveness will be measured on a regular basis, using Summit County statistics on pediatric unintentional injuries.

“We have made great progress in getting safety information to more parents and removing the barriers to getting bike helmets and child passenger safety seats to those families who need them,” said Heather Trnka, Akron Children’s injury prevention coalition coordinator. “But we know from research that young children still ride in cars without being secured in a car seat or booster seat and as many as 73 percent of child safety seats are not properly installed in cars.”

Trnka said the grant will enable Akron Children’s to partner with more child care facilities, Head Start programs, and government agencies to reach children in high risk communities.

As an example, last year Akron Children’s held a car seat safety event in Akron’s North Hill neighborhood, which has a large population of refugees.

“We were able to remove some of the barriers – transportation, language, financial – in bringing the information to the parents and it was well received,” Trnka said. “Car seats and bike helmets are proven – and affordable – means to protect children from serious harm. We just need to get them to more families. It’s wonderful that this grant from The Goodyear Foundation will help us do just that.”

Staff report