Preventable injuries among children and teens

Magnus Health
July 24, 2013
3 Minute Read

Preventable injuries among children and teens

We’ve all heard about it. The royal baby, His Royal Highness, George Alexander Louis, Prince of Cambridge, arrived just two days ago. I don’t know them personally, but I feel confident that Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, have spent every moment since the birth ensuring the future King of England’s health and safety. In that regard, the rest of us aren’t unlike royalty. SafeKids ImagineWe may be peasants, yet we love our kids just the same, and we’ll go to great lengths to protect them. We can’t do that every second of every day, and it’s unrealistic to think we can. Children and teens are injured regularly, and a scrape of the knee or a bruised hand won’t likely ruin a life. But we can make choices, educate ourselves, children, and parents, and work together to prevent as many injuries as possible. Simple things like putting on a helmet when biking or wearing a seatbelt (or creating a human shield from paparazzi), can mean the difference in a healthy life, and serious injury or death.

The facts:

  • One child dies every 30 seconds of a preventable injury worldwide (Safe Kids).
  • Preventable injuries are the number one killer of children ages 14 and under in the U.S. (WakeMed Hospital).
  • Each year, one in four children is injured severely enough to require medical attention, and treating those injuries costs $175 billion annually (WakeMed Hospital).
  • Ninety percent of injuries can be prevented (WakeMed Hospital).
  • Males have higher fatality rate from preventable injuries (CDC).
  • Males also have a higher non-fatal injury rate (CDC).
  • Falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injury for children under 15. Other leading causes of non-fatal injury include being struck by/against an object, animal/insect bites, overexertion, and motor vehicle accidents (CDC).
  • Car accidents are the leading cause of fatal preventable injuries (CDC).
  • Rate of child injury from falling televisions has increased 95% in the last 22 years (MedPageToday).

I’m no doctor. I don’t have a PhD. And numbers aren’t my hobby. But those stats don’t look good. Work must continue. Safe Kids notes that since their organization’s inception in 1988, there’s been a “55 percent decrease in the unintentional injury rate among children 19 years and younger.” Let’s work together to see that percentage continue to fall. Parents are the most influential in helping prevent injuries, but educators and school nurses also play a part. Safe Kids provides tips and resources for educators to encourage home safety, and road and car safety.

Additionally, The Washington Post recently published, “How to Prevent Common Sports Injuries in Children”, addressing concussions, heat illness, and orthopedic injuries, their symptoms, and how to treat and prevent them. There’s also evidence that movement programs may help prevent sports injuries.

A CDC initiative, Protect the Ones You Love: Child Injuries Are Preventable, also works to raise awareness to child injuries and prevention, and provides a list of organizations and resources to aid with the cause.

It’s important that we all take a look at the resources available, educate ourselves as much as possible, and share that information, (along with a little common sense), with children and peers. When it’s possible to save a life and/or avoid an emergency room visit, we must make injury prevention a reality, not just a conversation piece.