Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death among people ages 1-44 years. As with most hospitals, the University of Kentucky experiences the highest number of trauma related hospital visits between April and September.
Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries are devastating and the effects can be irreversible. Your brain is the "boss of your body" because our brain "tells" our body to do virtually everything. Unfortunately, once the brain is damaged, there is not much a physician can do to reverse it.
The good news is that most injuries are easily preventable. This is why we need to use our brain to protect our body and to think before we act.
As the school year ends and summer activities pick up, here are some helpful tips on how you and your family can stay safe during "trauma season."
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Wear a helmet: ALWAYS wear a helmet and wear it properly. Whether it's a casual family bike ride or cruising the back trails on an ATV, you should always wear a helmet. According to the ThinkFirst Foundation, helmets are up to 87 percent effective in reducing the risk for a brain injury. According to Pediatric Pulse, if it has wheels but no roof, you need to wear a helmet.
Diving: Most diving accidents occur in lakes, rivers or other natural bodies of water. If you are unsure of how deep the water is, enter the water feet first the first time to prevent potentially life-threatening brain or spinal cord injuries.
Be a safe pedestrian: According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, in 2012 a pedestrian was killed every 2 hours and injured every 7 minutes due to traffic accidents in the U.S. alone. Be a smart and predictable pedestrian.
Walk only on sidewalks or paths. If there is no sidewalk, walk as far away from traffic as possible on the left side of the road.
Stay alert and don't be distracted by electronic devices; make eye contact with drivers and be predictable by following the rules of the road.
The playground: More than 200,000 children visit emergency rooms each year due to playground injuries, and 79 percent of those injuries are due to falls from playground equipment.
Never leave your child unsupervised on a playground. Make sure the equipment is sized properly for your child: equipment 4 feet tall or lower is appropriate for children up to age 5; equipment up to 8 feet tall is sized for children ages 5-12.
Make sure there are guardrails on all elevated platforms and remove your child's drawstring hoodie or jacket before they play to prevent strangulation injuries.
The University of Kentucky Trauma Program and the National Injury Prevention Foundation offer education programs free of charge. If you would like more information or would like to schedule a program, visit us at: http://www.mc.uky.edu/traumaservices/ or The National Think First Foundation at: http://www.thinkfirst.org/
Have a safe and fun summer!