Tag Archives: Rene Hopkins

A.C.T. to keep kids from hot cars

AUGUSTA, Ga. – More than 500 children have died since 1998 after being left or becoming trapped in a motor vehicle.

“Heat is more dangerous to kids than adults,” said Rene Hopkins, a nurse educator and coordinator for Safe Kids Greater Augusta, led by Children’s Hospital of Georgia. “When left in a hot vehicle, a young child’s core body temperature can increase three to five times faster than that of an adult. A locked car in the summer sun quickly becomes an oven.”

Temperatures inside a vehicle on a warm day can climb from 78 to 100 degrees in three minutes and to 125 degrees in just six minutes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“At those temperatures, kids are at great risk for heat stroke, which can lead to a high fever, dehydration, seizures, and death,” Hopkins said.

Safe Kids urges parents, caregivers, and bystanders to A.C.T. to prevent hot car dangers:

Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. Also, make sure to keep your car locked when not in use, so kids can’t get inside and become trapped.

Create reminders when transporting children, so they are not left in the vehicle. For instance, place something in the back of the car next to your child, such as a briefcase or purse that will be needed at your destination. “This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine,” Hopkins said.

Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel are trained to respond to these situations. “They’d much rather respond to a false alarm than a fatality,” Hopkins said.

Safe Kids Greater Augusta, led by Children’s Hospital of Georgia, works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children ages 1 to 14. Safe Kids Greater Augusta is a member of the Safe Kids Worldwide network. To find out more about local Safe Kids programs, call 706-721-7606, or visit grhealth.org/safekids.

Safe Kids records big numbers in 2014

Safe Kids Greater Augusta, led by Children’s Hospital of Georgia, logged nearly 2,000 hours of service in 2014 among its members, according to Coalition Coordinator Rene Hopkins. As a result, more than 6,000 adults and children combined were provided valuable  safety tips and educational tools to help prevent childhood injuries, the leading killer of children ages 1 to 14.

Hopkins shared the numbers at the annual Safe Kids Awards Luncheon on Jan. 30. Here are other 2014 achievements she highlighted:

  • 1,600 pedestrian reflectors were greater augusta trnsprntdistributed
  • 170 car seats were distributed, which included education on appropriate installation and usage
  • 93 infant sleep safety kits were given through Cribs for Kids classes
  • 84 bike helmets were distributed
  • 49 Safe Sitters were trained

These numbers are quite impressive, considering Hopkins is the sole staff member of CHOG’s Safe Kids coalition. “I couldn’t have had such a good year of prevention efforts without all of the instructors, volunteers, and members who help me put on these classes and events,” Hopkins said.

In addition, Angie Gifford was named the Safe Kids Greater Augusta Member of the Year for 2014.  Gifford, a full-time nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at CHOG, has been a member of Safe Kids for many years and is a certified Child Passenger Safety technician and Cribs for Kids instructor.

“When we launched our Car Seat Class, Angie was one of the first to sign on as an instructor,” said Hopkins. “Then when we launched our sleep safety class, she was among the first to sign on to teach that class as well. Over the years she has helped to develop training programs and hospital policies for angle tolerance testing of low birth weight and premature infants to assure their safety in the car.  Hopkins said that Gifford even comes in on her days off to be sure that a premature child is properly fitted in a car seat before the parents take the baby home. “That’s how much she cares.”

Safe Kids needs more instructors and donations to provide training in the community. To find out more about Safe Kids, contact Hopkins at 706-721-7606 or ihopkins@gru.edu, or visit grhealth.org/safekids.

 

 

Don’t leave children in vehicles, especially in hot weather

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal hopes a new YouTube video titled “Look Again,” featuring Georgia parents who have lost children to vehicular heatstroke accidents, will help raise awareness and prevent similar incidents in the future.

Watch video.

“During Georgia’s hot summer months, there is a higher risk of serious injury or death as a result of a child being left alone inside a vehicle,” said Deal. “Since 2010, seven children in Georgia have died due to vehicular heat stroke. I ask that all Georgians join me in preventing future loss of life by being aware of your surroundings and never taking the chance of leaving a child in a car, even for just a minute. Lives can be saved if we take the time to Look Again.”

Safe Kids Greater Augusta, led by Children’s Hospital of Georgia, is a supporting partner in the Governor’s initiative, and also works in an ongoing basis with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the General Motors Foundation,  and other partners to spread the word about the dangers of heatstroke nationwide.

“Heatstroke sets in when the body isn’t able to cool itself quickly enough. Young children are particularly at risk as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s,” said Rene Hopkins, nurse educator and Safe Kids Coordinator for CHOG.

“Children simply can’t cool their bodies fast enough to handle the extreme heat. And when a child’s temperature reaches 107 degrees, the child is at risk of death,” she cautions.

Watch this interview with Hopkins about how fast cars heat up.

Safe Kids recommends parents, caregivers and bystanders A.C.T. to save children:

  • Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. Also, make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not in it so kids don’t get in on their own.
  • Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child, such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine.
  • Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel are trained to respond to these situations, and they’d much rather respond to a false alarm than a fatality.

Do your part, A.C.T. and Look Again.

 

For more Safe Kids tips visit safekids.org.

Hopkins named Georgia’s Safe Kids Coordinator of the Year

ReneAwardPic2013
Safe Kids Worldwide CEO Kate Carr (left) presents the Safe Kids Coalition Coordinator of the Year award to Rene Hopkins, Coordinator of Safe Kids Greater Augusta, led by Children’s Hospital of Georgia.

AUGUSTA, Ga. – If there’s one message Rene Hopkins wants you to remember, it’s this one: “The greatest gift you can give a child is a safe environment.” Hopkins, Coordinator for Safe Kids Greater Augusta, led by Children’s Hospital of Georgia, has been named the Safe Kids Coalition Coordinator of the Year for 2013 by Safe Kids Georgia.

“Rene has passion and commitment for children and their safety, and it shows in everything she does,” said Kimberly D. Basso, Director of Pediatric Patient Care Services at Children’s Hospital of Georgia. “Under Rene’s direction, the coalition has developed several effective programs aimed at reducing childhood injuries in the Augusta area. She is truly deserving of this award.”

Though she only has an annual operating budget of about $13,000, Hopkins is able to distribute more than $60,000 in child safety products to the community each year because of her ability to secure grants, donations, and community partnerships.

A registered nurse educator, Hopkins is responsible for establishing and maintaining childhood injury prevention programs through grant writing, research and data collection, community partnerships, education, legislation advocacy, and distribution of safety equipment. She coordinates more than a dozen monthly Safe Kids programs to educate parents and caregivers, including Safe Sitter, Car Seat Classes, Youth Firesetters Prevention Intervention, and Cribs for Kids.

In addition, Hopkins provides Child Passenger Safety Certification training for local law enforcement personnel, teaches early childhood development at local colleges, and organizes the annual Babypalooza baby safety expo.

Hopkins has been CHOG’s Safe Kids Coordinator since 2001. Previous positions include assistant pediatric nurse manager, pediatric transport nurse, and pediatric intensive care nurse.

She has been widely published in local, regional, and national media on child safety topics and is a frequent conference speaker and presenter. Hopkins is the recipient of several other awards and recognition, including the 1997 Medical College of Georgia Dedication to Excellence award, the 1998 Georgia Nurses Association Spirit and Commitment Award, and the 2010 Georgia Poison Prevention Award.

Safe Kids Greater Augusta, led by Children’s Hospital of Georgia, works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children ages 1 to 14. Safe Kids Greater Augusta is a member of the Safe Kids USA and Safe Kids Georgia network. To find out more about local Safe Kids programs, call 706-721-7606, or visit grhealth.org/safekids.

Jaguar of the Week – Rene Hopkins

Kate Carr (c), CEO for Safe Kids Worldwide, and Carla Allen(r), a lead instructor for Safe Kids Greater Augusta, congratulate Rene Hopkins(l) on being named the Outstanding Coalition Coordinator of the Year.
Kate Carr (c), CEO for Safe Kids Worldwide, and Carla Allen(r), a lead instructor for Safe Kids Greater Augusta, congratulate Rene Hopkins(l) on being named the Outstanding Coalition Coordinator of the Year.

Rene Hopkins, Safe Kids Greater Augusta Coalition Coordinator, has been named the Outstanding Coalition Coordinator of the Year for the state of Georgia.

Safe Kids is a non-profit program devoted to childhood injury prevention. Focus areas include proper car seat installation; bicycle, water, and playground safety; poison control awareness, and more. Safe Kids hosts inspection stations to ensure car seats are installed properly.  Safe Kids uses the Children’s Hospital of Georgia as a lead agency and it is a true coalition with members and volunteers from all aspects of the community.

“I was very excited; I am usually a talker, but I was speechless,” said Hopkins, who received the award Oct. 4 in Atlanta.  “There are so many wonderful coordinators in the state, it’s an honor to be selected.”

Hopkins said the real honor, however, was being selected by her colleagues.

“Other coordinators voted for the winner,” she said with a smile. “That made it really special to know that it was from my peers.”

Hopkins has been extremely busy building up the Safe Kids program over the years, from adding programs to expanding a training space.

“We have recently been working on sleep safety for infants, and holding sleep safety classes,” Hopkins said. “We provide portable pack-and-play cribs for basically no cost to needy families. The numbers of infant sleep deaths have already dropped drastically in our area since we started the program, and we like to think we had something to do with that.”

“Most people don’t realize it, but up until the age of 35, preventable injuries in accidents are the leading cause of death,” Hopkins said. “We are hoping to prevent some of those deaths through education and by providing proper equipment, like bike helmets and car seats, to the needy.”

Funding is an ongoing challenge, according to Hopkins.

“We are predominately grant- and donation-funded,” she said. “But we can save the community a lot of money, as studies have found that every dollar spent on a car safety seat saves $32 on average down the road.”

Children’s deaths from preventable injuries have decreased 50 percent since Safe Kids’ inception in 1988, making this determinant second only to immunizations in affecting children’s health, according to Hopkins.

Hopkins is very happy to help educate the public about children’s safety and to help those with limited means.

“I love it,” she said. “People say if you find a job you love, you will never work a day in your life.”

To learn more about Safe Kids or to donate or volunteer, contact Hopkins at 706-721-7606 or ihopkins@gru.edu.