Preventing Accidental Injury.
KDHE Office of Communications
Topeka, Kan. —Injuries can unexpectedly affect anyone at home, at work, in their communities, on the move and at play. While everyone is at risk, older adults and children are the most vulnerable. We know that unintentional injury is the number one killer of children ages 1-14 in the United States. Those children at greatest risk are ages 4 and under, who account for approximately half of all unintentional injury deaths. Safe Kids Kansas recognizes National Public Health Week, April 4-10, by promoting “Safety is no Accident: Live Injury-Free.”
For all ages, injury is the most expensive medical problem in the United States. In a single year, $80 billion will be spent on medical care; another $326 billion on lost productivity; and an untold amount on social support for the individuals and families caring for the severely injured. Injury prevention not only saves dollars, but also the unnecessary emotional costs that affect individuals and their loved ones.
In an age of escalating health care and insurance costs, we know that injury interventions are an effective investment in terms of cost savings. For example, according to a report by the Children’s Safety Network, battery operated smoke alarms yield an estimated cost savings of $780 for a cost of only $47 per smoke alarm. On average, a $12 bicycle helmet for children ages 3-14 will generate $580 in benefits to society. Child safety seats yield an estimated cost savings of $2,200 for an average cost of only $52. And, the average call to a Poison Control Center costs $43 but saves $320 in medical costs. These interventions serve to both prevent injury and lessen the severity of injury.
There is no single intervention, no panacea that will eliminate injury. But through a multi-faceted approach including education, behavior and environmental changes, policy implementation and enforcement, and technology, most injuries can be prevented. “Our network of local Safe Kids coalitions across Kansas work to bring communities together and provide many of these components, including access to low-cost or no-cost safety devices for families and caregivers,” said Cherie Sage, State Director for Safe Kids Kansas. But most injury prevention measures don’t cost anything at all and small, positive changes can make a big difference, like buckling up in your vehicle, keeping lighters and poisons out of sight and out of reach of children, and providing active supervision.
National Public Health Week is an annual celebration of the American Public Health Association. Since 1995, communities around the country have celebrated NPHW each April to bring attention to the need to help protect and improve the nation’s health. Safe Kids Kansas is pleased to support their efforts.
For more information about National Public Health Week and this year’s theme of living injury free, visit www.nphw.org. To read the full report by the Children’s Safety Network, “Injury Prevention: What Works? A summary of cost-outcome analysis for injury prevention programs,” visit www.childrenssafetynetwork.org.
For safety tips, or to contact your local Safe Kids coordinator, visit us at www.safekidskansas.org, and www.usa.safekids.org.
Safe Kids Kansas, Inc. is a nonprofit Coalition of over 70 statewide organizations and businesses dedicated to preventing accidental injuries to Kansas children ages 0-14. Local coalitions and chapters cover Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Butler, Clay, Coffey, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Elk, Ellis, Finney, Geary, Harvey, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Kiowa, Labette, Leavenworth, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Mitchell, Montgomery, Pottawatomie, Riley, Saline, Sedgwick, Shawnee, Smith, Sumner, and Wilson counties, as well as the city of Emporia and the Metro Kansas City Area (Wyandotte county and several Missouri counties.) Safe Kids Kansas a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury. The lead agency for Safe Kids Kansas is the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
Visit us at www.safekidskansas.org and on Facebook.