Safety Store Works to Prevent Childhood Injuries in Memory of Girl Who Died in Accident

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Walk down the hall at Iowa Methodist Medical Center and you will find a room full of car seats, bike helmets, bassinets and more. Jaime Geneser said, “Every single product that’s in here, there’s a story behind it.”

It’s the Hannah Geneser Learning Center and Safety Store. “When I walk in here, I feel her in here. Her presence is here. There’s an image of her. Hannah would be 13.”

Hannah died eight years ago when a screen gave way and she fell from an open window.  “The last thing I think about when I go to bed at night is my daughter Hannah, and the first thing I think about every morning when I wake up is my daughter Hannah and what she would look like today and what she would be like as well,” said Geneser.

After the accident, her family founded the Hannah Geneser Foundation. Last year, the foundation partnered with Blank Children’s Hospital’s Center for Advocacy and Outreach. Geneser said, “We wanted to create something that would honor her memory, but also make people, parents and the general public aware of certain things within your home or certain safety hazards in general that maybe they weren’t educated on.”

The Hannah Geneser Learning Center and Safety Store recently celebrated its one-year anniversary. In that time, more than 3,000 safety items have gone out of the door.

Injury Prevention Project Coordinator Janna Day said, “This time of year, one of the things we’re thinking a lot about is carbon monoxide, and the safety store does carry carbon monoxide alarms. If you`re having people in your home or any time of year, we want you to have a carbon monoxide alarm on every floor of your home.”

They also have smoke alarms, radon kits and childproofing products. Everything is brand-new, name brand and below-retail cost.

“Bike helmets at the store are $9.50. It`s more than just coming in and getting a good deal. It’s actually learning about the safety component of the helmet and making sure that it fits properly,” said Day.

Geneser said the store has already made a difference. “There was a family who came in here months ago and didn’t have carbon monoxide detectors in their home. They implemented them. About a week later they came home and they were on. Had they stayed in bed that night, nobody would have woken up. So that`s the type of impact this store is making and that`s the type of impact she`s still making,” said Geneser.

The Hannah Geneser Learning Center and Safety Store is open Mondays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon, Tuesdays and Thursdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It’s located in the North 1 hallway of Iowa Methodist Medical Center.

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