Intermountain Healthcare Primary Children’s Hospital Celebrates 30th Anniversary of Hold On To Dear Life Program With New Emotional Wellbeing Campaign to Help Utah Teens

Salt Lake City, Utah, Aug. 25, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital is celebrating the 30th anniversary of Hold On To Dear Life, the iconic and award-winning public service campaign and child injury-prevention program that has saved countless lives in Utah over the past three decades.


In addition to celebrating the 30th anniversary of Hold On To Dear Life, Primary Children’s Hospital is adding an emotional wellbeing component to the public service campaign to help adolescents deal with the challenges that they face during their teenage years.

The new campaign is the ninth safety component under the Hold On To Dear Life umbrella, and the first to focus on child wellness outside of physical safety.


Data shows Utah kids are struggling as they transition into the teenage years and want trusted, informed help — which they are most likely to seek from a parent. The Emotional Wellbeing component of the campaign provides education to parents, in English and Spanish, to help them enhance their parenting skills, begin conversations with their tweens, and nurture kids as they grow into adulthood.


“As adults, we know the middle school years can be tough ones. Young people are experiencing many changes physically, emotionally, and socially. Sometimes parents feel a bit at a loss on how to best help navigate these years with their tweens,” said Jessica Strong, community health manager at Primary Children’s Hospital. “The goal of the Emotional Wellbeing campaign is to give parents very tangible, action-oriented tools they can use to promote mental, emotional, and social health within their family.”


The Emotional Wellbeing resources are available at  


“Talking about emotional health may be an uncomfortable topic for some, but starting small and having frequent conversations will build confidence for parents and tweens alike,” Strong said. “Parents have coached their children through learning the skills to walk, talk, and eat. Mental and emotional health is a similar process of teaching, encouraging, and practicing skills.”


The Hold On To Dear Life program began in 1990 with a generous gift from the Jon and Karen Huntsman family. This gift allowed Primary Children’s Hospital, the only Level I Pediatric Trauma Center in the Intermountain West, to establish a child injury-prevention program.


“We know that Hold On To Dear Life has made a difference in the lives of children and families throughout the Intermountain West, and that many children have been kept safe from injury as a result of this program,” said Dustin Lipson, Primary Children’s Hospital administrator.


“Keeping children healthy, safe and out of the hospital is central to our mission and philosophy of keeping the Child First and Always in all that we do. We look forward to continued success with Hold On To Dear Life’s injury prevention messages, and especially welcome the new Emotional Wellbeing campaign to address the needs of children and families in our community today,” Lipson added.


Initially, Hold On To Dear Life focused primarily on seat-belt use and car-seat safety. Data shows using car seats decreases mortality by 71 percent for children younger than one year old. In older children and adults, the use of seat belts decreases the risk for death and serious injury by about 50 percent.


Seat belt use has improved tremendously since the Hold On To Dear Life campaign began. Prior to 1990, seat belt use in Utah was about 18 percent. By 2019, that number had risen to 90 percent.


One family who benefited from the Hold on to Dear Life message and awareness is Leslie and Jeb Bruce, and their son, Zyon.


The family is alive and well today thanks to seat belts and a properly installed car seat. Not long after Leslie Bruce took then 18-month-old Zyon to a Hold On To Dear Life car seat check point, the family was in a vehicle that was hit from behind on the freeway, causing it to slam into the median and flip over. 


But because the Bruces were wearing seatbelts, and their son was correctly buckled into his car seat, all were safe.


Zyon Bruce is now a high school senior, and Leslie Bruce went on to become a car seat technician to help other families ensure their car seats are installed properly.


“I had a minor injury, and my 18-month-old had bruises – and that’s all. It could have been so much worse had we not been buckled in properly,” said Leslie.


In response to evolving community needs, the Hold On To Dear Life program has grown to include the following safety areas through the years:  


– Be Smart about Car Seats
– Be Smart by Wearing a Helmet
– Be Smart Before Backing Up — Spot the Tot®
– Be Smart Never Leave Children Alone in a Car
– Be Smart Around Water
– Be Smart About Pedestrian Safety
– Be Smart About Window Safety
– Be Smart about Riding ATVs


Primary Children’s has taken the Hold On To Dear Life safety messages to schools, businesses, government agencies, community events, and international organizations to educate communities and keep kids safe.


Between 1990 and 2018, Utah childhood injury deaths per 100,000 dropped from 19.2 to 15. And fatal vehicle crashes in Utah have declined from an average 1 every 24 hours to 1 every 31 hours.


“We know these improvements in child safety are due to the efforts of many partners, in collaboration with Primary Children’s,” said Strong.


The new Emotional Wellbeing campaign features short public service advertisements that will run in digital and online channels. It’s sponsored in part by Kohl’s.

“We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to Kohl’s for their support of the Emotional Wellbeing campaign,” Lipson said. “Parents in our community have been searching for resources to support their tweens. Thanks to Kohl’s, Primary Children’s is able to develop and bring this help to families.”


Kohl’s is committed to inspiring and empowering families to lead fulfilled lives by delivering everyday wellness for families. Since 2000, Kohl’s Cares® cause merchandise program has raised nearly $375 million to fund community initiatives that support the health of families nationwide. To learn more about the impact the purchase of Kohl’s Cares merchandise has on children and families in your community, visit  


Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City is a full-service children's hospital serving Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Montana and Alaska. Primary Children’s is the only Level I Pediatric Trauma Center in the Intermountain West, and provides care for children with the most complex injury and illness, including those who require heart, liver, kidney and bone marrow transplants. The guiding philosophy at Primary Children’s is The Child First and Always®. Primary Children’s is part of Intermountain Healthcare, a nationally-recognized not-for-profit healthcare system based in Utah, and serves as the pediatric specialty teaching hospital for the University of Utah School of Medicine, combining research, training and excellent care to provide the best health care for children.


About Kohl’s
Kohl’s (NYSE: KSS) is a leading omnichannel retailer with more than 1,100 stores in 49 states. With a commitment to inspiring and empowering families to lead fulfilled lives, Kohl’s offers amazing national and exclusive brands, incredible savings and an easy shopping experience in our stores, online at and on the Kohl's mobile app. Since its founding, Kohl's has given more than $750 million to support communities nationwide, with a focus on family health and wellness. For a list of store locations or to shop online, visit For more information about Kohl’s impact in the community or how to join our winning team, visit or follow @KohlsNews on Twitter.  


The link to download images of the Bruce family and Hold On To Dear Life spots is:





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