Give the Gift of Safety this Christmas

Does your Christmas gift come with a set of wheels or a warning label? Mercy’s Injury Prevention Center and Safe Kids Springfield have launched a “Gift of Safety” campaign to remind those playing Santa to also play it safe.

“We had a mother call to register her daughter for our driving lessons,” said Cheryl Weston, outreach coordinator. “They bought a new car for their daughter’s Christmas present and wanted to make sure she gets lessons from a professional.”

While the gift of a car may be rare, behind-the-wheel training is growing in popularity as more schools drop driver’s education from their curriculum.

“It was a fantastic investment,” said Annmarie Kollmeyer, who decided her 15-year-old son Christopher could get much better training from a professional. “It took the ball out of my court. They made sure he learned all the things he should and not just the things mom would think about.”

Christopher went through six one-hour sessions with Mercy instructors who are each certified through the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Their one-on-one training was more flexible than Annmarie expected. “I went from overly cautious and tense to incredibly relieved. I will probably go this route again when my daughter gets older.”

Mercy’s driving program is open to anyone older than 15 with a valid Missouri learner’s permit. “It started out as just teens,” added Weston. “Now we help with spouses, international students, and even parents.” To learn more, click here, or call (417) 820-7233.

Whether you’re buying for an infant or a grandparent, keep some of these ideas in mind: Bicycle/ripstick/rollerblades/scooter: helmets, kneepads or elbow pads BBQ grill or patio stove: fire extinguisher Boat or swimming pool: life jacket Vacation: free car seat installation at Mercy Other items for homeowners or parents: cabinet locks, corner guards, smoke/carbon monoxide alarms, surge protectors, first aid kits and flashlights

The Mercy Injury Prevention Center is dedicated to reducing the number of injuries by providing education to families throughout the region. With three full-time hospital-based injury prevention coordinators, Mercy leads the region in providing injury prevention education. It also leads Safe Kids Springfield, which is part of a nationwide network of organizations working to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability for children ages 1 to 14.

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