Millions of families across America spent Sunday evening in front of their TV’s in anticipation of the Super Bowl. Many tune in for football, while others tune in just for the halftime show and the commercials. One Super Bowl commercial getting a lot of attention is the Nationwide Make Safe Happen commercial. In the segment, a young boy explains how he won’t be able to grow up because of an accident that happened in his youth. Some are calling this the “Worst Super Bowl ad ever” and blaming the ad for putting a damper on an evening that is supposed to be filled with intense competition, musical performances, and commercials you actually want to watch.
Here at KID we have a different take on the ad. Nationwide took the opportunity to address the issue of preventable injuries to the largest TV audience of the year and reminded us that the number one cause of childhood death is something that is, to a certain degree, preventable. KID works everyday with families for whom this is a tragic reality – children killed by unsafe products including dangerous cribs, falling furniture and more. When the ad shows different dangerous situations in the home (a full bathtub, an open cabinet under the sink, a TV that has tipped over) instead of being fearful or depressed, we can take the opportunity to assess the hazards within our own home, refer to reliable resources such as KidsInDanger.org or SafeKids.org (Nationwide’s nonprofit partner in the campaign in addition to safety experts at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital) that can give us the information we need, and make informed decisions regarding the safety in our own homes.
Because the truth is that we can all work together to make our homes safer for the children that live, visit, and play in them. Many people assume that these horrific scenes will never happen in their own homes but the sad truth is that these scenes are happening and they are happening too often. The good news is that we can each take steps to reduce childhood injury. While it may have been upsetting to be confronted during the Super Bowl with these scenarios, and Nationwide may have done better at focusing on their MakeSafeHappen resources, we as a country do need to address the epidemic of childhood injury.
The responsibility doesn’t lie on parents and caregivers alone. Organizations like KID hold manufacturers and retailers responsible for designing safer products and doing more to get unsafe or recalled products out of homes and child care. Through stronger standards, better oversight, strong recall efforts and programs such as the Toys”R”US Great Trade In event which gives incentives to remove older, unsafe products; progress is being made but it is undeniable that there is still work to be done. We need to encourage, rather than penalize, efforts that help spread the word about child safety and encourage action. These shifts can add up to monumental changes and, more importantly, keep our most vulnerable population, children, safe.
Our hearts go out to families who have lost children from dangerous products – our work is the legacy of these children – keeping other families safe.