U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission chairwoman Inez Tenenbaum's full-time job is to protect the public, especially children, from danger.
But she said 12 South Carolina schoolchildren are doing as good a job as the recent Obama appointee in keeping children safe.
Safe Kids South Carolina unveiled its annual calendar featuring schoolchildren's safety-themed artwork at a Thursday luncheon in Columbia.
Among the admonitions in the calendar are a reminder to parents to lock up their firearms, a reminder to children to look both ways before crossing the street and a how-to on wearing a helmet and pads when riding a bicycle.
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The calendar, Tenenbaum said, is a model for raising awareness about safety.
"You're doing something that is really important, and that is getting in the homes of children," Tenenbaum said.
Safe Kids South Carolina will distribute 50,000 calendars. The effort is underwritten buy The Children's Trust of South Carolina, a nonprofit whose mission is to prevent neglect, child abuse and unintentional injuries.
"We live in a culture so reactionary to crisis," Tenenbaum said, "so its good to see the work of an organization that is prevention based."
Tenenbaum was appointed by President Barack Obama last year to run the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the nation's safety watchdog for thousands of consumer products, from toys to cribs.
Tenenbaum previously served as the state's education chief from 1998 to 2006. She lamented the cuts in school funding state lawmakers are close to approving, which she says threaten to roll back the gains made over the past two decades.
The losses are big and small, she said. An example she cited is a program lawmakers funded for $400,000 that taught principals, district-level administrators and superintendents leadership skills.
She said the program is critical to providing the type of leadership that can turn around schools and entire districts.
"It's tragic," Tenenbaum said. ". . . We had such a positive trajectory, but that could be rolled back."
- Leroy Chapman Jr.