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National Action Plan for Child Injury Prevention

Injury is the #1 killer of children and teens in the United States. In 2009, more than 9,000 youth age 0-19 died from unintentional injuries in the United States. Millions more children suffer injuries requiring treatment in the emergency department. Leading causes of child injury include motor vehicle crashes, suffocation, drowning, poisoning, fires, and falls. Child injury is predictable and preventable. It is also among the most under-recognized public health problems facing our country today.

Progress has been made in preventing child injury. Child injury death rates have decreased 29% in the last decade. Yet injury is still the leading cause of death for children and teens. More can be done to keep our children safe.

A National Action Plan

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is committed to preventing child injury by supporting solutions that will save lives and help children live to their fullest potential. The National Action Plan for Child Injury Prevention was developed by CDC and more than 60 stakeholders to spark action across the nation. The National Action Plan’s overall goals are to:

  • Raise awareness about the problem of child injury and the effects on our nation.
  • Highlight prevention solutions by uniting stakeholders around a common set of goals and strategies.
  • Mobilize action on a national, coordinated effort to reduce child injury.

Implementation Projects

Implementation Projects Overview

CDC’s Injury Center funded nine organizations to test the feasibility of using specific strategies of the National Action Plan for Child Injury Prevention (NAP). Learn more about the variety of child injury prevention projects and their outcomes and products.

The project period was 18 months (Sept 2012-Mar 2014) and included efforts designed to:

  • Strengthen collaboration of key stakeholders,
  • Provide tools for the field to improve data and consistency in program execution,
  • Showcase the promise of proven programs on high burden topics,
  • Build capacity in non-traditional settings, such as employers and insurers.

The NAP, released in April 2012, provides a roadmap for strengthening the collection and interpretation of data and surveillance, promoting research, enhancing communications, improving education and training, advancing health systems and health care, and strengthening policy. It was developed by CDC and more than 60 stakeholder organizations to spark coordinated action across the nation to prevent child injury.

A Home Visitation Tool for Assessing Child Injury Risk

The American College of Preventive Medicine developed and piloted an injury risk assessment tool to help home visitation professionals deliver effective unintentional injury prevention education. The home visitation model supports and helps parents of children from birth to age 5 to access the resources and to develop the skills they need to raise children who are physically, socially and emotionally healthy and ready to learn. The project produced a preliminary tool that includes a checklist with observable measures, questions, and brief educational messages. Plans include turning the tool into a mobile app to better facilitate information sharing between home visitation programs and families’ primary care providers or pediatricians to follow-up on injury risks in the home.

Communication Toolkits for Child Injury Prevention

The Child Injury Prevention Alliance established a national partnership, Prevent Child Injury, to collaborate in developing and promoting child injury prevention messages for the public through a bank of communication toolkits including messages, materials, media outreach strategies and recognized spokespeople. The toolkits cover different child injury topics such as child passenger safety, teen driving, medication safety, and infant sleep safety. This project also resulted in a public service announcement on child injury.

Data Collection from Safety Centers

The Children’s Hospital Association developed a mechanism to test the feasibility of collecting data from the network of children’s hospitals that operate safety centers to drive program evaluation and inform replication strategies. Safety centers provide expert health education about childhood safety to families and communities on the proper installation and use of childproofing and safety products, along with low or reduced cost products. The project identified the challenges for ongoing data collection efforts and opportunities to promote benefits of the safety centers.

Online Clearinghouse of Community-Based Injury Prevention Programming

Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin-Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, in collaboration with the Injury Research Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin, developed and piloted a standardized web-based template for describing community-based prevention programs undertaken by county-level Child Death Review (CDR) teams in order to share successes and best practices. The online clearinghouse includes the templates and completed project descriptions on community efforts in water safety, poisonings, and teen driving.

A Free, Online Course on Child Passenger Safety

Eastern Virginia Medical School developed a road map for incorporating injury prevention training programs into health, education, and safety professionals’ continuing education (CE) options. Building on two effective motor vehicle safety programs, Boost ‘em in the Back Seat and Make it Click, the resultant product is a free, one-hour online course entitled Keeping 4-12 Year-olds in Boosters and Belts: Strategies that Work. It provides behavioral strategies to persuade and motivate children and their families to improve motor vehicle safety.

Health Insurance Plans and Child Injury Prevention

The Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) partnered with the National Institute of Health Care Management Foundation (NIHCM) to assess whether health insurance plans currently address child injury prevention and the feasibility of implementing NAP strategies. The project produced an issue brief to improve awareness of child injury burden, costs and prevention strategies relevant to health plans. EDC and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) also hosted five webinars on the NAP.

Tools for Employers

The National Safety Council developed tools employers could use to educate parents and caregivers on how to prevent motor vehicle crashes and injuries among teens and unintentional poisoning. Products include 5-minute safety talks, slide presentations, fact sheets, and checklists to assist employers in promoting off-the-job safety on these topics.

Safe Sleep for Infants

Safe Kids Worldwide examined trends in state infant suffocation death rates and identified successful safe sleep programs and policies to guide community-level programming. Insights helped inform a survey with American Baby magazine and increased Safe Kids’ commitment to infant safe sleep.

Library of Child Injury Data Collection Measures

The Society for the Advancement of Violence and Injury Research (SAVIR) and the Colorado School of Public Health developed a mechanism and process to collect, organize, and catalogue data collection tools and measures used to study factors related to child unintentional injury. Their instrument library from child passenger safety, poisoning, and home safety studies is being sustained and is available on the free, searchable SafetyLit database.