National Injury Prevention Day shines light on preventable injuries
Injuries are the leading cause of death and disability to U.S. children. Every day, 20 children die nationwide from preventable injuries, resulting in more deaths than all other diseases combined. In fact, injury is the leading cause of death for people through 44 years of age.
On Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, the country’s leading injury and violence prevention organizations and health professionals are joining forces for the second annual “National Injury Prevention Day.”
“Injury prevention is a broad category of academic research and community practice,” said Terry Bunn, PhD, Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center (KIPRC) Director and a professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health at the University of Kentucky’s College of Public Health. “Injuries can be of intentional intent, such as injuries by firearms, suicides, and domestic violence, or can be of unintentional intent, such as injuries due to motor vehicle and bicycle crashes, drug overdoses, heat exposure, drownings, burns, and falls. No matter the intent, injuries are preventable through evidence-based and evidence-informed program and policy interventions and through promising practices.”
KIPRC serves both as an academic research center and as the Kentucky Department for Public Health’s designee, or “bona fide agent”, focusing on the surveillance of injuries and implementation of injury prevention practices.
This state–university partnership provides KIPRC access to expertise and support in injury- and violence-related research, data, services, outreach, communications, interventions, evaluation techniques, and policy development, at both the state government and academic levels.
KIPRC focuses on prevention of multiple types of injury such as drug overdoses, motor vehicle injuries, occupational injuries, and self-harm injuries. It works to implement, evaluate, and promote interventions with community partners and coalitions in order to prevent injury and mitigate injury-related outcomes at the local and state levels.
An example is the Kentucky Violence and Injury Prevention Program (KVIPP), which focuses on the prevention of adverse childhood experiences, traumatic brain injury, falls, and motor vehicle crashes.
“KVIPP analyzes and monitors injuries across the state that identifies disproportionately affected communities; informs the public, stakeholders, and policymakers; and supports key partner implementation strategies. Our partners are critical to our success,” said Ashley Bush, DrPH, principal investigator of KVIPP.
KVIPP collaborates with partners to translate injury surveillance data to action through high-impact, evidence-based, and informed prevention interventions such as pediatric abusive head trauma training, traffic sobriety checkpoints, and Kentucky CheckpointsTM. Checkpoints is free and works with county and community entities, high schools, and health departments to educate parents and teens on Graduated Driver Licensing requirements and risks to teen drivers.
Several Kentucky Occupational Safety and Health Surveillance (KOSHS) research studies and worker fatality investigations have been used by agencies for everything from trainings to worker safety changes. KOSHS studies also have contributed to the revision or establishment of federal and state worker safety regulations.
Motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of worker injury fatalities in Kentucky (37%) and in the U.S. (24%) in 2018. One KOSHS study found that the odds for injury increased 2.25 times for semi truck drivers and sleeper berth passengers who did not use occupant safety restraints, compared to those who did use occupant safety restraints. The study results were used as justification for a 2016 Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rule revision that requires commercial vehicle passenger seatbelt use. Until 2016, only the commercial vehicle driver was required to wear a safety belt.
To view all of KIPRC’s programs, visit https://kiprc.uky.edu/programs. For a list of resources and outputs from KIPRC, visit https://kiprc.uky.edu/resources. To learn more about KVIPP’s driving programs, visit safekentucky.org.
For more safety tips and information on National Injury Prevention Day, visit injuryfree.org.