Injuries lead all death causes for persons under 44 years of age in the United States. Injuries kill more Americans age 1-34 than all diseases combined and result in the loss of more working years of life than all forms of cancer and heart disease combined.
One prominent report says the injuries represent the principal public health problem in America today.Yet injuries receive scant attention and a fraction of health research expenditures compared with other diseases or health hazards.
Injury prevention strategies, in increasing order of effectiveness, include: (1) self-protection (i.e., encouraging seat-belt use); (2) requiring behavior change by law (i.e., requiring smoke detectors in new buildings); and (3) providing automatic protection by product design (i.e., built-in sprinkler systems).
Injuries, predictable and preventable, cause an enormous loss of life and can be reduced.
From various sources of literature, the following data further highlight the need to prevent and control accidents.
The home represents the most common site of injury. About 40 percent occur in or around the home, 10 percent occur at the worksite, 10 percent on streets or highways, 9 percent at schools, 9 percent at recreational places, 1 percent on farms and 18 percent in other or unknown places.
Injury results in the loss of more economically productive years of life than cardiovascular disease and cancer combined.
Each year more than 75,000 Americans sustain brain injuries that result in long-term disabilities, including 2,000 who remain in persistent vegetative states.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that between 50 and 55 percent of all fatal accidents involve a drinking driver.
About 78 percent of the drivers involved in traffic fatalities were males and about 21 percent female (in the remaining cases, the sex was not reported).
Falls are the leading injury death cause in the home.
According to the National Survey of Personal Health Practives, 30 percent of Americans claim to wear seat belts all of the time while driving or riding in a car, 34 percent claim to wear seat belts once in a while or some of the time, and 36 percent claim they never wear seat belts.
National survey data reveal that 58 percent of persons have working smoke detectors in their home.
Ninety-one percent of persons in families with children under 10 have heard about poison control centers; 61 percent of those persons have the telephone number of their local center in their area.
According to the National Health Interview Survey, 25 percent of all hospital emergency department visits are for the treatment of injuries.
Injury leads as the main reason for physician contacts.
Two in three Americans are injured yearly.