Safe Kids Larimer County has been in existence since 1998, first led by the Larimer County Health Department and led by UCHealth since 2002. We work closely with a number of community businesses, agencies, and organizations to expand our reach to reduce accidental injury to children birth to 19 years of age. For years Safe Kids’ focus was through age 14 and was primarily targeting child passenger safety. We have expanded to include teen drivers and would like to highlight an organization who is helping us accomplish our mission of reaching the teens with safety messages: Alexa’s Hugs
Alexa’s Hugs began from a tragedy in 2013 when a beautiful, vibrant, and loving 19 year-old, Alexa, lost her life due to fatigue, distraction, speed, weather, and not buckling up. Her parents, Tad and Jona Johnson decided to turn their grief and the tragedy they faced into something positive. They did not want another family to experience what they went through and started Alexa’s Hugs, a non-profit dedicated to educating teens to make good choices and provide positive encouragement for seat belt use, among other teen driving issues.
Alexa’s Hugs and Safe Kids joined forces, with the help of UCHealth, to obtain a 3-year Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) grant to engage high schools in seat belt challenges and messaging. In our first year working together (Alexa’s Hugs had been in the high schools for 2 years prior) we were able to work with ten (10) schools in six school districts to assist them in developing their own safety campaigns. Pre- and post-seat belt observations were done by Alexa’s Hugs and volunteers where we saw an 11.5% increase in seat belt use! A little positive messaging and encouragement from peers goes a long way!
For more information on the results of the high school challenge, visit http://www.alexahugs.com/schools/2015-2016-seat-belt-challenge/.
We are proud to partner with Alexa’s Hugs to address teen driving injuries and fatalities and we look forward to this year’s challenge.