Injury and Violence Prevention News

March 2006
In this issue:
1. Pediatricians recommend helmets for sledding
2. Take a quick tour of injury and violence prevention materials
3. Stop It Now conducts media campaign to prevent child sexual abuse
4. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers new materials on child passenger safety
5. It worked: MDH-installed smoke alarm prevented damage and injury
6. Carbon monoxide detectors can prevent serious illness or death
7. March is Brain Injury Awareness Month
8. March 19-25 is National Poison Prevention Week
9. Trauma now nation's costliest medical problem

1. Pediatricians recommend helmets for sledding

Article: Sledding-Related Injuries Among Children Requiring Emergency Treatment
Journal: Pediatric Emergency Care
December 2005

More than half of sledding-related injuries were to the head or neck region, but only three percent of the patients were wearing a helmet at the time of injury. The authors say that a program to increase helmet use during sledding could have a significant impact on reducing head injuries. Because most injuries occurred when sledders struck a stationary object in their path, checking the sledding location for obstacles is also an important preventive measure.



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2. Take a quick tour of injury and violence prevention materials

Take a virtual shopping trip by visiting the Injury and Violence Prevention Unit publications page. You will find materials on bicycle helmet fitting; getting better after traumatic brain injury; charting injuries and abuse in hospitals; and Minnesota data on traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury data, intimate partner and sexual violence, child maltreatment, and firearm injuries.



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3. Stop It Now conducts media campaign to prevent child sexual abuse

MDH participates in Stop It Now! Minnesota, a collaborative effort to prevent the sexual abuse of children before a child is harmed. The organization recently launched an advertising campaign targeting people concerned about their own sexual thoughts or behaviors towards children. In developing the campaign, Stop It Now! conducted extensive research with the target audience and tested the ads with adult survivors of child sexual abuse, victim advocates and treatment providers, and law enforcement and corrections officials. The ads have appeared on bus stops, in restrooms, as billboards, and in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, City Pages, Lavender, the Phoenix, and the Union Advocate. The ads may be downloaded and used as posters or in newsletters or other communication vehicles.

Stop It Now! Minnesota also has information for anyone concerned about sexual thoughts and behaviors towards children by themselves or others. Help for Parents section provides fact sheets, brochures, tips on how to keep your family safe and how to communication with children and teens. For more information about Stop It Now! Minnesota activities, contact Yvonne Cournoyer, Program Director, (651) 644-8515.



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4. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers new materials on child passenger safety

Did you know that most motor vehicle crashes involving children happen when parents feel safest, during everyday routines on local roads?  Booster seats should be used by children who have outgrown toddler seats and are not tall enough (4 feet, 9 inches) to wear safety belts. Learn more by reading, A Parent's Guide to Buying and Using Booster Seats , from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.



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5. It worked: MDH-installed smoke alarm prevented damage and injury

The Golden Valley Fire Department, a partner with MDH in Alarmed and Alert — the fire-related injury prevention program — reported recently that there was a fire in a townhouse complex where smoke alarms had been installed through the MDH program. The owner was not home when the fire began, but neighbors heard the smoke alarm through the walls and called 911. The fire department arrived in time to extinguish the fire before significant injuries or property damage occurred in the complex, which had little fire protection in the walls and ceilings between units.



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6. Carbon monoxide detectors can prevent serious illness or death

We all know the importance of working smoke alarms in every sleeping area, but what about carbon monoxide (CO) detectors? CO is an odorless, invisible gas that can kill or cause serious illness. It can build up near fuel-burning appliances such as ovens, space heaters, or generators. As colder weather approaches, Safe Kids recommends these precautions against CO poisoning:

  • Install a CO detector, available at hardware stores for about $20, outside every sleeping area and on every floor of the home. Detectors should be installed at least 15 feet from fuel-burning appliances. Check the batteries monthly (when you check your smoke alarm batteries). Make sure heating appliances are in good working order and used only in well-ventilated areas.
  • Do not run a car engine in the garage, even to warm it up.
  • Remember that cigarette smoke is another source of carbon monoxide.


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7. March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

To help the public better understand brain injury and its life-altering consequences, the Brain Injury Association of America has prepared Living with Brain Injury, a kit of materials for the public, people who have experienced a brain injury and their family members/caregivers, professionals, and interested persons. The packet includes an activity guide for brain injury awareness programs and brochures on overcoming loneliness and building lasting relationships, planning for transition after high school, and communicating with an adult after brain injury.



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8. March 19-25 is National Poison Prevention Week

Free poison prevention materials for educators are available from the Minnesota Poison Control Center. A video for K-1st grade, The Spike's Poison Prevention Adventure, is available by calling Steve or Kirk at the Minnesota Poison Control System, (612) 873-5644.



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9. Trauma now nation's costliest medical problem

Spending on trauma, including automobile accidents and violence, doubled in the eight years between 1996 and 2003. These injuries reached a cost level comparable to that of heart disease, according to Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. By 2003, trauma had become the costliest medical problem, consuming an estimated $71.6 billion in medical spending and topping the $67.8 billion spent on heart conditions. Additional data are available from the AHRQ's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey.



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Also see > National Center for Injury Prevention & Control (NCIPC), at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for the latest injury prevention news at the national-level.


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Injury and Violence Prevention Unit
Minnesota Department of Health
PO BOX 64882
ST PAUL MN 55164-0882
(651) 201-5484
injury.prevention@health.state.mn.us

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