Whether you applauded or were appalled by Nationwide’s “The Boy Who Couldn’t Grow Up” commercial during this year’s Super Bowl, the fact remains that preventable injuries are the No. 1 killer of kids from birth to 19 years old in the United States. That represents nearly 40 percent of all deaths in this age group. Around the globe, nearly 1 million children die from preventable injuries every year, according to Safe Kids Worldwide.
If a shocking 45-second commercial can begin a long-overdue conversation about keeping kids safe, its impact is positive for kids and families everywhere.
Between 2011 and 2013, the top five causes of unintentional injuries and fatalities of pediatric patients at Norton Children’s Hospital involved falls, car accidents, poisoning, burns and bicycle-related accidents.
“Bad things can happen in an instant, and parents should be warned not to let anything distract them from concentrating on their children,” said Stephen P. Wright, M.D., medical director, Norton Children’s Hospital. “The good news is that preventable injuries are preventable.”
Each year in America, more than 9,000 children and teens die as a result of unintentional injuries, which is equal to losing 150 school buses loaded with children every year. In addition, nearly 9 million kids from newborns to age 19 are treated in hospital emergency departments. They often are left to cope with disabilities and/or chronic pain as a result of their injuries, according to a 2012 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report titled “National Action Plan for Child Injury Prevention”.
Erika Janes, R.N., is the coordinator of Safe Kids Louisville, a program led by the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Office of Child Advocacy of Norton Children’s Hospital. She tells parents and caregivers that 90 percent of unintentional injuries experienced by children and teens are both predictable and preventable and involve the use of a product or a behavior.
“Proper use of products such as child safety seats and bike helmets, for example, can help save lives,” Janes said. “Accidents also can be prevented by changing behaviors, like distracted driving or walking.”
According to Safe Kids Worldwide, one teen dies every hour because of distracted walking — for example, texting or talking on the phone while crossing the street. “How many adults do this as well?” Janes said. “It’s a scary thought.”
For injury prevention tips and more information on keeping kids safe, visit NortonChildrensHospital.com.
Check out Safe Kids Worldwide’s “Safer in 7,” tips to keep your whole family safer.