Safe Kids Kansas

Preventing Accidental Injury.

December 6, 2011

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

Safe Kids Kansas Honors Childhood Injury Prevention Advocates

Topeka—Safe Kids Kansas presented its annual awards in a ceremony today at the Washburn Institute of Technology in Topeka.  Awards include the prestigious Dr. Dennis Cooley Award of Excellence, named in honor of pediatrician Dr. Dennis Cooley of Topeka.  This year’s Cooley Award was presented to Kansas Secretary of Transportation, Deb Miller.  Secretary Miller was unavailable to attend the ceremony, but will be bestowed the award at a later date.

Secretary Miller has always put safety at the fore-front of the KDOT mission.  She has been a champion for legislative changes to make children safer while traveling on Kansas roads.  Without her actions and support, many of the accomplishments over the past several years would not have come to fruition.  These include the Booster Seat Law, the Primary Seat Belt Law for teens and the Graduated Driver’s License Law.  Secretary Miller also promotes child safety outside of the legislative arena through the Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office.  The educational programs related to child safety in motor vehicles, media campaigns, trainings, and child safety seats provided to inspection stations, would not be possible without the strong support of Secretary Miller.  She has supported the work of Safe Kids through grants in the areas of child pedestrian safety, occupant protection in motor vehicles, and bicycle safety.

“We take this opportunity to recognize Secretary Miller for her leadership and vision in the area of child safety on Kansas roadways.  We are grateful for her support of Safe Kids Kansas and her contributions toward our shared mission, to prevent accidental injuries and death to Kansas children,” said Cherie Sage, State Director for Safe Kids Kansas.

Safe Kids Kansas also presented awards for Outstanding Partnership for Child Safety, Outstanding Coalition Organization, Local Coalition of the Year, and three Service Recognition awards.

The Outstanding Partnership for Child Safety award was presented to the Kansas Insurance Department.  The Kansas Insurance Department has provided support to Safe Kids Kansas through development of promotional materials for our organization and our 20th Anniversary event this year. We greatly appreciate this investment into the shared mission and goals of our organizations.  The Kansas Insurance Department is a member organization of Safe Kids Kansas.

The Outstanding Coalition Organization award was presented to Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics.  Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics has demonstrated a deep commitment to reducing childhood injuries, particularly in the area of child passenger safety.  Through the investment of staff and resources to assist families through their car seat clinic, they ensure children, especially those most fragile, are protected on the roadways.  CMH’s sponsorship of Child Passenger Safety Technician certification and re-certification courses, and Special Health Care Needs supplementary courses, ensure trained technicians are available to families for education and assistance on a wider geographic scope.  CMH also contributes outstanding field experts to the work of multiple organizations, panels and task forces focusing on child safety, including Safe Kids Kansas and many of our member organizations. 

The Local Coalition of the Year award was presented to Safe Kids Kiowa County.  Kiowa County’s coalition has excelled in bringing together varied and diverse members of the community to participate in their activities.  While still a relatively new coalition, they have made great strides in their local community to decrease unintentional injury to children through partnerships with several organizations, active member participation, and a variety of events held in several communities.   In the last year, they have held events focusing on bicycle safety, pool safety, Child Passenger Safety week, Walk to School Day, lawn mower safety, fireworks safety, Airsoft gun safety, and ATV safety. In addition, they held programs including a Cub Scout Automotive Safety Patch program, and The Safest Generation, and Countdown2Drive.
Service Recognition Awards were presented to three individuals who have made significant contributions to the Safe Kids mission, preventing accidental injuries to Kansas children.

Jeanie Craig, of Huggable Images, has lent her business acumen to Safe Kids Kansas in the solicitation of sponsorships for our 20th anniversary event.  Jeanie also serves on our Board of Directors as the liaison for the ad hoc Corporate Advisory Panel.  We thank Jeanie for her dedication and support toward the Safe Kids mission.

Howard Dickinson serves with the Kansas Highway Patrol as the Public Resource Officer for Troop A in the Kansas City area.  During the past two years, he has provided instruction of the National Child Passenger Safety Technician certification course to approximately 250 students. Howard also conducted the law enforcement track of the 2011 Midwest Regional Child Passenger Safety Conference.  Howard serves both Safe Kids Johnson County and Safe Kids Metro KC Coalitions, in addition to many other statewide and local coalitions and groups focused on safety. Howard has provided safety education to countless children and adults across Kansas, and is a true advocate for traffic safety.

Jennie Vargas has shown herself to a be a passionate advocate for child injury prevention during her time with the University of Kansas Hospital. During her time with the University of Kansas Hospital.  She has given numerous presentations on sports-related injuries and traumatic brain injury to medical professionals, coaches, parents and athletes.  She also served on the Youth Concussion Education and Advocacy Task Force.  Jennie has recently accepted a position as a traveling nurse, where she will no doubt continue to be a persuasive educator on safety and prevention.

For more information about Safe Kids, visit and

Visit us at and on Facebook.