Minnesota Hospital Association


January 16, 2019

Preventing brain injury, pediatric trauma through community education

When children or adolescents experience traumatic injuries, the results can be far-reaching and lifelong. Recognizing that many childhood injuries are preventable, Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare participates in community activities throughout the year that raise awareness about proactive measures parents can take to keep their children safe.

Gillette has a long history of providing education and community outreach around pediatric trauma. The hospital sees children with all types and severities of brain injuries, from minor neurotrauma (concussion) to severe brain trauma. Care team members are passionate about communicating the importance of prevention in thoughtful and structured ways that effectively reach – and resonate with – children, adolescents and their parents.

For example, technicians in Gillette’s Assistive Technology Department developed and fabricated a device that visually represents the importance of wearing a helmet when biking and during other potentially high-impact activities. The device is a palm-sized replica of a bike or ski helmet with space for an egg secured inside. Dropping the egg, sans helmet, represents the human brain without protection. Dropping the egg while secured inside the helmet protects it from cracking. The Egg Helmets are used to engage with members of the community during safety expos and public events.

Engaging young people with games and prizes is a key tactic to increase awareness. Gillette created a spinning wheel game featuring true/false safety-related questions. Participants spin the wheel and answer a themed question about brain injury prevention.

To reach as many people as possible in a space where they are likely to be engaged and thinking about health and wellness, the hospital sponsors or participates in several events throughout the year. In 2017, Gillette invested more than $35,000 in safety-related activities, including:

  • Baby and Kid Expo Safety Education: Between 500 and 700 individuals attended this event at the Mankato Civic Center, which highlighted brain injury prevention, car seat and water safety, and related topics.
  • No Helmet, No Ride Collaborative: Gillette and Regions Hospital co-sponsored the awareness activities of No Helmet, No Ride, a nonprofit founded by the mother of a traumatic brain injury patient. The organization promotes helmet use generally and particularly among adolescents.
  • LaborCare Safety Education: This annual safety event, geared toward blue-collar workers, took place at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis in 2017. It attracts more than 2,000 attendees each year.
  • Como Zoo Safety Safari: Gillette was a sponsor and participant in this event, put on by the Minnesota chapter of safekids.org. Kids received a passport that was stamped at safety stations throughout the zoo. Gillette’s booth highlighted brain injury prevention and featured a real-life car seat to help parents understand the appropriate age for a five-point harness, booster seat and other car safety seats.