WATERBURY — The Pediatric Emergency Department at St. Mary’s Hospital is establishing a Pinwheels for Prevention garden outside of the main lobby entrance.

Each pinwheel represents a child in Waterbury who suffered medical neglect or sustained sexual and/or physical abuse.

The garden will be located just outside of the front lobby entrance on Franklin Street.

Pinwheels for Prevention is an initiative of Prevent Child Abuse America, an advocacy group dedicated to promoting services that improve child well-being and developing programs that help prevent all types of abuse and neglect. 

Krystal Rich, executive director of Connecticut Children’s Alliance said, “The Pinwheels for Prevention initiative has come to serve as a reminder of the importance of ensuring each individual child has a great childhood and that we all have an important role in making that happen.”

According to the state Department of Children and Families, in 2019 nearly 590 children in Waterbury were substantiated as abused, neglected or uncared for. Most startling for healthcare providers, is that 150 children in Waterbury sustained medical neglect and/or sexual and physical abuse.

“Unfortunately, children are sometimes exposed to extreme and sustained stress like child abuse and neglect, which can undermine a child’s development,” said Dr. Karl Hellstrand, director of the Pediatric Emergency Room Department. “Our most basic obligation is to support the healthy development of our community’s children.

“The great childhoods we want for our children require a loving and supportive environment. Every day is our call to action and an opportunity for us to recognize that we all play a role in the lives of children.”

Those seeking additional information on St. Mary’s Hospital pediatric emergency department may visit www.trinityhealthofne.org. More on the Pinwheels for Prevention campaign or Prevent Child Abuse CT may be found at www.preventchildabusect.org.

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