BURRILLVILLE – Trauma is the leading cause of death of children in the United States.
It’s an unfortunate statistic that Pascoag Fire District Capt. Thomas Smith knows well, and one he hopes to help address locally with a new safety program for expectant parents.
Smith has launched Safe Landings, a comprehensive safety review for Pascoag families expecting a new arrival. The program includes a course taught by a firefighter/EMT to ensure both the family’s home and vehicle are ready for a baby.
“We want to reduce infant and child mortality,” said Smith. “There have been child fatalities in the past in Pascoag.”
Smith, who works part-time as an outreach worker for the Rhode Island Department of Health, learned about the program from the EMS for Children Program Director Carolina Roberts-Santana.
“This is the last piece of the Community Health Program that targets the youth demographic,” he said.
Smith was named Emergency Medical Service Coordinator of the year in Rhode Island in May in recognition of his work in bringing Community Health to Pascoag, making his department the first in the state to implement the program. The aim is to allow EMTs to provide services and assessment in advance of an emergency, in effort to reduce 911 calls.
The other pieces of the Community Health Program include COPD, CHF and asthma education and management; social support and behavioral assistance; and diabetic management and education.
A town in Pennsylvania was among the first to implement the “Safe Landings,” portion addressing infant mortality, according to Smith.
In Pascoag, instructors will go over CPR, teaching infant cardio resusitation and infant choking. They’ll also teach sleep safety, including crib check and the best practices for safe sleep.
“We want to educate parents on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome,” said Smith.
The firefighters/teachers will follow up with a home safety check, looking at things like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and child proofing.
Parent will receive assistance from a certified technician for installing their car seat.
The cost of the complete program is $30. Smith said three village families have already expressed interest.
To schedule an appointment, contact Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or 401-559-6545.