Injury is among the most under-recognized public health problem facing our nation today and is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among children in the United States.  Injuries cause more deaths in children over the age of 1 than all diseases combined.  Nonfatal injuries requiring medical attention affect approximately 20 million children and adolescents and cost $17 billion annually in medical costs. 

Stair gates can prevent injuries.At Cincinnati Children’s, we have made reducing the prevalence of injuries in our community part of our strategic plan and set a goal of reducing by 30 percent the occurrence of unintentional pediatric injuries in Hamilton County by 2015. 

Starting with a pilot project in the community of Norwood, we will partner with neighborhood agencies to implement injury prevention (IP) policies, educational community programming and school-based projects promoting safety. The small-scale implementation of IP strategies within Norwood will identify effective policies, programming and projects that can be replicated throughout Hamilton County.

Key drivers for this work include data and community input, targeting high-prevalence  injury mechanisms, increased safety practices including proven injury prevention techniques and improved access to IP education and resources.  This multidisciplinary approach supports the most effective IP outreach and promotes a community understanding of how choices and personal behaviors can directly impact the lives of children and the community.  

Injury prevention outreach provides children, families and communities with implementable actions, which serve as a model to preventing or reducing the severity of injuries. It is only through a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach that injury prevention and intervention efforts will be able to respond to the enormous challenge of reducing injury to children.