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UPMC Mobile Safety Van takes life-saving tips and delivers them on wheels

UPMC Mobile Safety Van delivers life-saving tips on wheels
UPMC Mobile Safety Van delivers life-saving tips on wheels 02:08

CASTLE SHANNON, Pa. (KDKA) - The UPMC Mobile Safety van travels around the Pittsburgh area and beyond, providing parents and kids skills they can use every day.

"It's really cute. It's like a little house on wheels," said UPMC Injury Prevention Program manager Chris Vitale.

Things you typically see in a house, like stairs and a sink, show how accidents can happen anywhere, at any time. 

"Unfortunately, injuries are the leading cause of death and disability for children," said UPMC Community Programs Educator Marie Pagnotta.  At home, furniture can fall on kids or they can consume something toxic.

The UPMC Mobile Safety Van is a type of learning tool for families so that kids remain safe and out of the hospital. It travels to churches and schools and recently stopped at the Seesaw Center in Castle Shannon. 

"One thing that we really recommend with families is crawling around your home on your hands and knees so you can see where your child has access to," said Pagnotta. 

Taking their safety tips on the road came about after learning the struggles families had in making it to their Safety Center inside UPMC Children's Hospital. By using the van, they're able to make a stronger connection with people who live here. 

"Our original plan is we'll do one program a month in the community, so 12 a year. We did 40 programs in the first three months because the community loved it," Vitale said.

"We give them information that they may not have already heard, and a lot of families tell us these are things they didn't even know existed," Vitale said.

Kids not only have fun with the van, Vitale says they're also like sponges. They soak up information and a lot of times become the teacher in the family. 

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