When the Uncomfortable Becomes Our Reality

Houses were filled with chips, dips, wings, pizzas, sodas, football and funny commercials. Yep, Sunday was Super Bowl Sunday.

Some of you had a vested interest in it. Some of you, like me, don’t even follow NFL football but tuned in for the famous commercial viewings.

You got excited when McDonalds unveiled their “Pay with Love” campaign. You “awed” at the Dove “Daddy” #RealStrength commercial. You laughed at the Doritos “Middle Seat” ad.

And then you saw this Nationwide ad. 

You sat, stunned. Why in the world did they use an ad like that? My father-in-law and husband commented, “Gee. I’m really happy now.”

It made us uncomfortable. Among a few hours of pure entertainment and exciting television, Nationwide rained on our parade. No, they sent a monsoon all over it. 

Later, when you were on Facebook, you commented on everyone else's posts about what a bad ad it was. You "Liked" statuses condemning Nationwide. You read the Huffington Post article "Nationwide Killed a Hypothetical Kid to Make A Point (And A Commercial) And The Internet Had None Of It.

You talked to others about how inappropriate it was.

And, later that night, you hugged your own children just a little bit longer than usual.

Kudos, Nationwide! It worked!

Why show that ad during the Super Bowl? Because millions of people were watching.  Because 49th Super Bowl was the most watched TV event of the year and most Tweeted about too.Because here, in Alabama, one third of all child deaths are considered “preventable.” Because in 2012, Alabama suffered 175 preventable teen deaths. Because it made us talk and think. 

Personally, I’d like to thank the team that created the ad. Our children’s safety should be of put utmost concern. Ask anyone who has lost a child—the results are devastating to the family. Families break up. People lose hope in life.

If just one life can be spared because someone saw this ad, it was worth it. 

So, what now? Stop the talking and take action. Don’t just think about safety, do it!

Is your car seat installed correctly? Are you following best practices when buckling your child in it?

Do you follow “Safe Sleep” practices with your infant?

Are your medicines and hazardous products inaccessible to children? Do you properly store your firearms in the home?

Do you practice self care as a parent or caregiver? High stress levels can cause Shaken Baby (Abusive Head Trauma) Syndrome.

Educate yourself.  Safe Kids is a great place to start. But don’t stop there: take action (lots of them). Support programs for childhood well being and safety—The Children’s Trust Fund of Alabama is committed to it. (Consider checking their box— “Child Abuse Trust Fund” (1d)—for a donation when you file your taxes this year.)

Childhood death makes us uncomfortable. Let’s do our best to eliminate it.