DPH Participates in 4th Annual Children’s Day at the Capitol Event

March 9, 2015

More than 30 organizations throughout the state participated in the 4th Annual Children’s Day at the Capitol last week to present a unified voice for 2.4 million citizens who don’t have a vote – children.

Among the participating state agencies was the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) represented by its Injury Prevention and Environmental Health programs as well as leaders from Georgia Shape, the Governor’s childhood obesity initiative.

Hosted by Voices for Georgia’s Children, this annual event affords elected officials, decision makers and the public an opportunity to learn about the wide-ranging issues and policies that impact the experience of children in the state.

In a given session of the General Assembly, legislators file more than 2,000 bills in the House and Senate. In previous years, more than 200 of them were specific to children, affecting their health, safety, education and family relationships. Other bills can also impact children such as liability laws, economic development investments, tax reform, transportation planning and public health regulations.

“Children are citizens without a vote so we must be their voice,” said Pat Willis, executive director of Voices for Georgia’s Children, organizer of the event. “Children’s Day at the Capitol is meant to highlight the many bills that address the specific interests of children but also to ask our lawmakers to think about the impact every vote they make has on the children of their district.”

During the event, DPH’s Injury Prevention Program staff shared their expertise about safe infant sleep practices and child transportation recommendations. DPH’s injury prevention and environmental health teams are collaborating to launch a new partnership for water safety around pools to expand the agency’s children’s safety initiatives.                                                                                                  

“Motor vehicle crashes continue to be a leading cause of death for all children in Georgia,” said Lisa Dawson, DPH’s Injury Prevention Program director. “For babies, newborn to age 1, safe sleep environments are a major health issue. We were excited to share our insights with the event’s participants and discuss what we’re doing to protect children throughout the state of Georgia.”                                

Emily Anne Vall, Ph.D., project manager for Georgia Shape, used the opportunity to promote increased physical activity among the state’s youth population.

“A healthy mind and body is the cornerstone of a child’s success,” said Vall. “We hope attendees will share our messages of health and its positive impact on academic performance throughout their communities to help us continue nurturing a healthier generation of Georgia’s youth.”

Established in 2003, Voices for Georgia’s Children is a nonprofit child policy and advocacy organization that provides research-based information, measures, collective voice and proposed legislation to support policies that ensure Georgia’s children grow up to be healthy, educated and productive citizens.

Visit www.dph.georgia.gov/injury-prevention-program to learn more about DPH’s child safety initiatives or contact Terri Miller, MPH, CHES, Safe to Sleep coordinator for DPH’s Injury Prevention Program. Information about Georgia Shape can be found online at www.GeorgiaShape.org.

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