Munson Healthcare’s Chill Out for Winter Safety program raises awareness to preventable injuries during winter activities.
The mission is inspired by tragedy. A child dies from an unintentional injury every 30 seconds. And millions of children receive injuries that impact the rest of their lives.
Lives are changed forever, like Tammie Budrow’s, a mom and Munson Healthcare employee. Budrow’s daughter, Carly, died in a tragic sledding accident in 2007. She was eight years old.
“Their sled they were on, a blow up tube that was meant for the water, veered off of the hill and went into a small clustered trees,” says Budrow. “There were four kids on that sled three were injured that day and we lost Carly that day.”
She decided to take this tragic event and help others by creating the Winter Safety Program.
“I need to let other moms and dads know about the dangers of sledding without helmets,” says Budrow. “My daughter can die sitting on her bottom going down a hill that I grew up sledding on too. I didn’t know she should wear helmet for sledding but maybe we need to let skiers and snowboarders understand the dangers of that and maybe at least get them to wear helmets.”
Tragedies don’t always happen, and they don’t have to. Budrow and her team of safety educators visit area schools and teach kids four key tips to keep safe.
“I was fortunate enough to meet a couple safety educators with safe kids and we started the safety program,” says Budrow. “The first year I did it with fire and rescue and the police department and we went into Carly’s school and we did a winter safety program. I met Jen and Jen Froelich and Fred Docker and then we kind of brainstormed and came up with ‘Chill Out for Winter Safety.”
Budrow says they teach students about frostbite, hypothermia, skiing, sledding, snowboarding, snowmobile safety and snow plow safety.
There’s also four key point they like kids, and their parents, to keep in mind before heading outside.
- Make sure to dress for the weather, adding layers
- Have the proper gear and helmet if doing something fast
- Take a buddy with you
- Ask for permission from an adult
Chill Out for Winter Safety also received a recent upgrade. A new video will be presented in schools this month. It’s the first time the program will be back in schools since COVID last year.
Tammie Budrow says she would have had Carly wear a helmet that day in 2007.
“Carly was an avid dirt bike rider and when she got out on her bike we made sure she had the proper gear,” says Budrow. “I didn’t know she should wear a helmet for sledding. Who thinks of that? I would have made sure she had a helmet on that day. We’ve Learned from that and hopefully I can keep other kids safe.”
Munson Healthcare partners with the following organizations for the program: Grand Traverse Region Injury Prevention Network; MSU College of Human Medicine Traverse City Campus; Munson Healthcare Family Practice Residency; the US Coast Guard Air Station, Traverse City; Safe Kids North Shore; Grand Traverse Metro Fire Department; and the Carly Belknap-Budrow Memorial Fun-Day-tion.
To watch Beary Careful’s helpful video on Chill Out for Winter Safety visit here.
The annual Carly’s Hill Snow Fun Day Cardboard Classic returns this year, the last Saturday of January.
“Build your sled out of cardboard, duct tape and glue,” says Budrow. “Costumes are encouraged. It’s so fun. It’s a free event, awesome prizes and Safe Kids will be on site. We will be doing helmet fittings and everyone has to sled that day with a helmet on. Carly’s hill and we’ll have some safety games for them to play.”