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About Us: Philosophy

Safe Kids Sonoma County uses a prevention model that describes six levels at which prevention activities can occur.

The spectrum of prevention chart


The Spectrum of Prevention model, developed by Larry Cohen while at the Contra Costa County Health Services Department, includes individual and community education, but also includes training providers, building partnerships, changing organizational practices, and influencing policy. Since the circumstances of injuries are usually complex, the best solutions involve a comprehensive approach that addresses all levels of the spectrum. These levels build on each other and often overlap.

  1. Strengthening Individual Knowledge and Skills

This first level assists individuals to increase their knowledge and capacity to prevent injury. Safe Kids Sonoma County works with all members of the coalition to teach safety skills. Many of the member organizations engage in this level of prevention with families.

  1. Promoting Community Education

Level two goes beyond the individual to reach groups of people with information and resources. Safe Kids Sonoma County holds large events such as bike rodeos and car seat check-ups to teach children, parents, and caregivers about injury prevention. The coalition also offers a child passenger safety education class. Media is a large part of community education. Safe Kids does many radio interviews and works with local print and TV news to spread safety messages.

  1. Training Providers

This level means educating people who influence others on injury prevention such as doctors, home visitors, law enforcement, or peers. It is very important that those who provide training, advice, or serve as role models have the correct information and skills to effectively promote injury prevention with youth, parents, community members, and local elected officials. Safe Kids Sonoma County trains car seat technicians who can teach parents and caregivers how to properly install a child car seat. Home Safety for the Home Visitor training's show professional home visitors how to teach parents about childproofing their home.

  1. Fostering Coalitions and Networks

Fostering Coalitions and Networks means creating or strengthening partnerships that increase the ability of people and organizations to address injury prevention. Safe Kids Sonoma County constantly reaches out to new partners to join the coalition. The coalition as a whole can accomplish much more than any one organization. Benefits of the coalition include information and data sharing, coordination of services, and advocacy.

  1. Changing Organizational Practices

The fifth level means changing internal regulations or norms at a business or agency. Key groups, such as law enforcement, health departments, and schools can have a huge impact on the health and safety of the community. Safe Kids Sonoma County creates ready reference cards for all police officers about bicycle and child passenger safety laws to help them cite violators more easily. Law enforcement now reviews these laws during patrol briefings on a regular basis. Safe Kids Sonoma County also is involved with the Safe Routes to School program that aims to improve the safety at schools with organizational changes.

  1. Influencing Policy and Legislation

The final level means working to change laws or regulations at the local, state or federal level. Often, the greatest improvement in injury prevention, affecting the largest number of people, can be accomplished through policy. Safe Kids Sonoma County works with other Safe Kids coalitions in CA and Worldwide to support laws to strengthen child passenger safety, bicycle and pedestrian safety, water safety, and other injury prevention measures.

For more information about the Spectrum of Prevention, visit the Prevention Institute.


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