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Prevent Injuries and Violence

Injury and Violence – A Preventable Public Health Problem

In the United States, injuries are a leading cause of death for people of all ages. In 2007, more than 180,000 people died from injuries. And, injury deaths are only part of the problem. Every year, 50 million people are injured severely enough to require medical treatment.

Graphic: SAFETY. Safety is no accident. Live injury-free. National Public Health Week. April 4-10, 2011. www.nphw.org.It is likely that you or someone you know are among these statistics—a friend who suffered a fatal injury fromdied ain a car crash, an elderly family member who broke a bone from a fall, or a co-worker who was the victim of violence. Injuries affect everyone, regardless of age, sex, race, or economic status; and they impact the mental, physical and financial well-being of individuals and their families. Injuries are also a significant economic burden costing society over $406 billion in medical costs and productivity losses in 2005.

Many people accept injuries as fate or as "part of life." The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (Injury Center) is working to transform the notion that injuries are accidental, unavoidable occurrences. The Injury Center is leading efforts to raise awareness of the predictability and preventability of injuries and violence. Through research, policy, programs and partnerships, the Center is committed to reducing the burden of injuries and helping people live to their full potential.

This week during National Public Health Week 2011, the Injury Center is joining the American Public Health Association (APHA) and other injury and violence prevention and response organizations across the country to encourage all Americans to work together to prevent injury and violence. Take a moment to learn more about ways to prevent some of the leading causes of injury including: motor vehicle injuries, child maltreatment and falls among older adults. Join us as we work together to make our nation safer and injury-free!

Photo: A father handing the car keys to his daughter.Motor Vehicle Injuries: The Leading Cause of Death for People Age 5-34

Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death for people between the ages of five and 34 and cause millions of serious injuries each year. Like all injuries, motor vehicle crashes are preventable. The Injury Center is focusing on three proven strategies for preventing motor vehicle safety:

  • Seat Belt Use: The simple act of buckling up is the best way to save lives and reduce injuries from crashes. The Injury Center recommends that you wear your seat belt on every trip, no matter how short, and encourage everyone else in the car to buckle up too. And, make sure kids are properly buckled into a seat belt, booster seat, or car seat.
  • Teen Driving Safety: Parents can play a key role in protecting teen drivers. The Injury Center recommends talking with your teen about rules of the road and practicing driving with them as often as you can. In addition, the Injury Center encourages you to get to know your state's graduated drivers licensing (GDL) laws which help new drivers gain skills under low-risk conditions. As drivers move through stages, they are given extra driving privileges. These privileges may include driving at night or with passengers.
  • Alcohol-impaired driving: The Injury Center recommends the use of ignition interlocks for all convicted DWI offenders. Ignition interlocks, or in-car breathalyzers, are devices that can be installed in vehicles to prevent persons who have consumed alcohol from driving. The Injury Center also reminds you to identify a non-drinking designated driver or call a taxi if your plans involve drinking. And, don't let your friends drive impaired.

Child Maltreatment Prevention: Prevent it before it Begins

In 2008, 1,740 children died from and 772,000 children were found to be victims of maltreatment in the U.S. Child maltreatment includes all types of abuse and neglect (physical, sexual, emotional and neglect) of a child under the age of 18 by a parent, caregiver, or another person in a custodial role (e.g., clergy, coach, and teacher). Based on research and reviews of promising practices, the Injury Center recommends strategies that support parents and teach positive parenting skills including good communication, appropriate discipline, and responding to children's physical and emotional needs.

Photo: A two people walkingFalls Among Older Adults: Living Fall-Free

Each year, one in every three adults age 65 or older will fall and two million will be treated in an emergency department for injuries caused by falls. Fall injuries, such as hip fractures and traumatic brain injuries (TBI), can be a serious threat to seniors' health and independence. Falls are not an inevitable part of aging, and in fact are preventable. Older adults can protect themselves by following these steps:

  • Begin a regular exercise program
  • Have their health care provider review their medicines
  • Have their vision checked
  • Make their home safer

More Information

  • Page last reviewed: April 4, 2011
  • Page last updated: April 4, 2011
  • Content source:
    • Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs
    • Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs
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