A Cure for the #1 Cause of Childhood Death

Nationwide Insurance started a public conversation on Sunday night about a topic that I have devoted many years to – child injury.

Good. Child injuries need attention. We want people talking about them. We want people to prevent them. Injuries are the leading cause of death for children in the United States. And we actually have a cure for this leading cause of death. We know how to prevent injuries: bicycle helmets, stair gates, carbon monoxide detectors. Those products and so many others can help keep children safe.

Our Center for Injury Research and Policy have joined with Nationwide Insurance in its Make Safe Happen program. Dr. Lara McKenzie, one of the center’s principal investigators, along with her team, developed the Make Safe Happen app to help parents and caregivers make their homes safer. For years, Nationwide Insurance has supported our center’s research on preventing child injury, and it also supported the development of the app.

You can learn more about the home safety app here. We know the conversation that started with the Super Bowl ad can be uncomfortable. But we applaud Nationwide for starting it. It’s a conversation that can save lives, especially if it causes people to act.

Please consider acting. Download the app and visit the site for ideas about making your home safer and preventing injury to your child.


Gary A. Smith, MD, DrPH
Dr. Gary Smith is a Professor of Pediatrics, Emergency Medicine and Epidemiology at The Ohio State University. He is founder and director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Dr. Smith is board certified in the specialties of pediatrics and general preventive medicine and public health, and in the subspecialty of pediatric emergency medicine. In addition to his clinical training, he holds MPH and DrPH degrees from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Smith has been an active researcher in the field of injury for more than 25 years.He is immediate past chairperson of the national Committee on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention (COIVPP) of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), having served on the Committee for 10 years. He also served as chairperson of the COIVPP of the Ohio Chapter of the AAP for 10 years and chairperson of the Ohio Commission on the Prevention of Injury during its existence from 2001-2003. From 2003-2006, he was a member of the Initial Review Group (research study section) for the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.He has published more than 100 injury-related articles in peer-reviewed journals, was on the editorial board of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine for six years and is currently on the editorial board of Pediatrics. Among other awards, he was honored by the Ohio AAP as the Ohio Pediatrician of the Year in 2003, and by national Section on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention of the AAP with the Fellow Achievement Award in 2006. He was named as the first recipient of the Dimon R. McFerson Endowed Chair in Injury Research in 2007. His research focuses on injuries to children and adolescents, including motor vehicle-related injuries, consumer product-related injuries and home safety.

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