Iowa Hospital Opens Lobby Safety Store, Includes Injury-Prevention Education

Iowa Hospital Opens Lobby Safety Store, Includes Injury-Prevention Education

At the Stead Family Children’s Hospital, they know that safety starts with injury prevention. In order to help new parents accomplish their safety goals, they have opened a safety store that has injury-prevention experts staffed to help parents find the right solution for their family.

Iowa’s Stead Family Children’s Hospital recently opened the first children’s hospital safety store in Iowa, but this store goes past only selling products at a low price.

The Stead Family Children’s Hospital’s Safety Store offers a wide variety of affordable children’s safety products for parents who may be overwhelmed while searching for the best way to keep their child safe, including baby gates, outlet covers, car seats and bike helmets.

In 2008, the Children’s Hospital was awarded a $100,000 grant from the National Association of Children’s Hospitals to start the safety store. Pam Hoogerwerf, the coordinator of the Children’s Hospital’s community outreach and injury prevention, said the Safety Store prices their products lower than market price in hopes that price won’t have to deter parents from keeping their child safe.

“We don’t want price to be a barrier for families to purchase these products,” Hoogerwerf said. “We keep our product pricing very low — probably lower than you’re going to see at most other places, whether it’s online or in a retail store. We want families to be able to utilize the products to hopefully be able to prevent an injury.”

The store was originally a mobile cart that moved from ward to ward, but has since moved to a lobby location. Products are also available online.

Hoogerwerf said the original grant funding is the reason the store can keep its prices so low.

“The luxury of our not having to spend the initial grant money on construction or remodeling space in the hospital here and being able to spend the majority of it on the product inventory really has allowed us to be able to order more product and to sell product,” Hoogerwerf said. “That’s been a big benefit to us.”

In addition to offering low-priced products, injury-prevention experts work in the store, and help families find the products they need to keep their child safe.

Brenda Vergara, a storekeeper at the Safety Store, said this feature is a great benefit for parents who just don’t know where to start their injury-prevention measures.

“I think here in the Safety Store — our biggest selling item and education point — a lot of [customers] are new parents,” Vergara said. “They come here a little bit frazzled with how much information is online, and they kind of want to narrow down whatever they’re looking for.”

Vergara said that the store really goes beyond just being a store and works toward being an education point as well.

“Not just being a store — we definitely want education to be a big part of what we do,” Vergara said. “People come in here — we really want to make sure that they feel confident and educated about things they have questions about.”