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'Children are Needlessly Dying': How Families Can Prevent Injuries

Children's Health
Author name: Lee Health

Injury Prevention Graphic

Injuries are the leading cause of death and disability to U.S. children from 1 to 18. Every day, 20 children die 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 – but many of these injuries are preventable with the use of safety practices, products, and the implementation of strong legislative policies.

“Whether it be at home, on the road or at play, precautions need to be taken,” said Dr. Barbara Barlow, the Founder and Director of the Injury Free Coalition for Kids. “Children are needlessly dying. Every day, 20 children die from preventable injuries, resulting in more deaths than all diseases combined. This has to change.”

Lee County and National Injury Prevention Day, Nov. 18

The Lee County Trauma District and Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida are joining forces with Safe States and Safe Kids to promote injury prevention awareness on National Injury Prevention Day, Nov. 18.

We are asking all businesses and government agencies to shine green lights in their buildings, monuments, and thoroughfares once the sun sets.

Find out more about shining your green light on National Injury Prevention Awareness Day by going to www.injuryfree.org. Also, on that day, trauma centers and community advocates across the country will work to educate families and community leaders about ways to develop safer environments and provide many with tools to do so.

Local and state government representatives will be challenged to acknowledge these concerns and make efforts to address them. At 1 p.m. (EST), the public is invited to participate in a live national conversation about the country’s top injury and violence concerns during a one-hour Twitter chat using the hashtag #BeInjuryFree.

It’s important to note, however, that injury prevention takes place year-round. So read on to find out how you can help and get involved.

Pedestrian Safety

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, the number of U.S. pedestrian fatalities has increased by 46 percent, with Florida coming in at #2 in 2020. 

The Lee Health Trauma Injury Prevention team is working with the Metropolitan Planning Organization by taking on special projects and initiatives to improve pedestrian safety. This multidisciplinary approach will help to create new solutions for the community and make roadways safer for all.

Know the Basics for Pedestrian Safety: 10 Walking Safety Tips

  • Be predictable. Follow the rules of the road and obey signs and signals.
  • Walk on sidewalks whenever they are available.
  • If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
  • Keep alert at all times; don’t be distracted by electronic devices that take your eyes (and ears) off the road.
  • Whenever possible, cross streets at crosswalks or intersections, where drivers expect pedestrians. Look for cars in all directions, including those turning left or right.
  • If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, locate a well-lit area where you have the best view of traffic. Wait for a gap in traffic that allows enough time to cross safely; continue watching for traffic as you cross.
  • Never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach to make sure you are seen.
  • Be visible at all times. Wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night.
  • Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways or backing up in parking lots.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs when walking; they impair your abilities and your judgment.

Golf Cart Safety

The state of Florida’s driver’s handbook states the following:

  • Golf carts should be equipped with the proper safety features including: seat belts, headlights, taillights, parking brake, windshield and wiper, horn, and rear and side mirrors. They can only be driven in areas where the speed limit is under 30 mph and only operated on a county road that has been designated by a county or a municipal street that has been designated by a municipality for use by golf carts.
  • Golf carts are not to be operated by anyone under the age of 14 years old.
  • All local and state traffic laws must be obeyed. When in a crosswalk, pedestrians and any individual using an adaptive device will always have the right of way.
  • Golf Carts can be driven on the sidewalks adjacent to the state or county road only if the person driving the cart yields to pedestrians and all other roadway vehicles. Additionally, the sidewalk should be at least five feet wide.
  • Do not use while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Boating Safety

The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) offers these ten tips for keeping not only yourself but other boaters safe while boating.

  • Do not operate a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Alcohol consumption is the #1 contributing cause for boating deaths.
  • Follow state and local guidance regarding any boating or access restrictions.
  • Wear a life jacket. All boaters should wear a life jacket while near or on the water. 84% of people who drowned in recreational boating accidents were not wearing a life jacket. Make sure that life jackets are fitted properly by age and weight size for each boating passenger.
  • Take a Boating Safety Education course. Many states offer online boating courses and are available online, depending on the state you live in. Florida offers many different venues for boating education. For instance, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission offers at https://myfwc.com/boating/safety-education/courses/.
  • Always tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return. Stick to your intended boating plan. Should you deviate, always notify someone in advance. 
  • Carry all required boating safety equipment. Remember to carry a dependable method of communication, such as VHF radios and personal locator beacons. Required safety equipment can vary by state, depending on the size of your vessel. Check your local state requirements. 
  • Familiarize yourself with the state laws; for instance, in order to operate a boat of ten horsepower or more, Florida law requires anyone born after Jan. 1, 1988, to successfully complete an approved boating safety course and obtain a Boating Safety Education ID card from FWC.

Focusing on safe boating practices can help to prevent avoidable traumatic injuries! Through education and collaboration, we can all be SAFER together!

Firework Safety

  • Always read and follow label directions.
  • Have an adult present.
  • Buy from reliable sellers.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission requires that legal fireworks show the name of the item, the name of the manufacturer or distributor and easy to read cautionary labeling and instructions for proper use.
  • Avoid sparklers. They can potentially catch clothes or hair on fire, and they can heat up to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit (hot enough to melt gold).
  • Have water handy if you are around fireworks.
  • Only use fireworks outside and keep them away from residences, dry leaves or grass and other flammable materials.
  • Never make your own fireworks.
  • Never re-light a “dud” firework (wait 15 to 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water).
  • Never point or throw fireworks at people.
  • Never shoot fireworks from inside metal or glass containers.
  • Store fireworks in a dry, cool place. Check labels for any special storage instructions.
  • Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
  • Never let children handle or light fireworks.
  • Never light more than one firework at a time.
  • For the safest of holidays, let the professionals handle the fireworks. Enjoy one of the many fireworks displays held in the community.
  • Child Advocacy

    Compassionate team members who raise awareness about social issues, provide safety education, and promote mental health awareness and positive parenting.