Did you know that preventable injuries are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, following heart disease, cancer and chronic lower respiratory disease? June has been dubbed National Safety Month in an effort to reduce these leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road, at home and in our communities.
The most common causes of injury and death are closely tied to age group. Here are the most common causes for each age group, plus some tips on ways to prevent them.
Under 12 months: Mechanical suffocation
Prevention tips: Have infants sleep in their own crib, not the parents' bed. Always place infants on their back to sleep, and keep stuffed animals and blankets out of cribs.
1-24 years: Traffic crashes
Prevention tips: Wear your seatbelt for every trip, and make sure it's size-appropriate. Continue driving with your teenaged children even after they've earned their license so they continue to gain valuable experience. Don't use your phone, iPod or any other electronic device while you're driving.
25-64 years: Poisoning, largely from prescription pain medication
Prevention tips: Ask your doctor about alternatives to prescription pain medication. If you have to take opioids, take the smallest dose for the shortest time allowed. Never share your prescription with anyone, including friends or family.
65+ years: Falls
Prevention tips: Equip your shower and/or bathtub with non-skid mats and grab bars, install grab bars near the toilet and stairs and make sure each room and stairway is well-lit.
In case of an accident, it's always a good idea to have a first-aid kit on hand. We recommend you keep one in your home and your car, and know the location of a first aid kit where you work. You can grab one at the Red Cross Store, your local American Red Cross chapter and possibly your local drug store.
The Red Cross recommends all first aid kits for a family of four include:
- 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
- 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
- 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
- 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
- 5 antiseptic wipe packets
- 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
- 1 blanket
- 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
- 1 instant cold compress
- 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size large)
- 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
- 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
- 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
- 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
- 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
- Oral thermometer (non-mercury/non-glass)
- 2 triangular bandages
- First aid instruction booklet
Reach out to a primary care provider at Goshen Health to learn more about personal safety and how to prevent common causes of injury.