Injury and Violence Prevention News

August 2006
In this issue:
1. How much does injury cost?
2. Injury Unit Coordinates New Disability and Health Project
3. State Fair Quiz Deals With Injury and Violence
4. Posters Educate on a Variety of Injury Prevention Topics
5. New Style of Mattress Expected to Prevent Fire Deaths and Injuries

1. How much does injury cost?

The lifetime cost of the injuries that occur in a single year in the United States is about $406 billion. That includes each person’s likely lifetime medical expenses and productivity losses, according to an April 2006 report from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Of the total cost, about 20 percent is for medical expenses and the remainder is for estimated lifetime productivity losses. The costs are higher when one considers police services, caregiver time, costs for pain and suffering, and other non-monetary costs. In 2000, about 50 million injuries required medical treatment. Additional findings:

  • Males account for approximately 70 percent of the total costs of injuries, largely due to higher rates of fatal injury and the magnitude of their lost wages.
  • Persons aged 25 to 44 years represent 30 percent of the U.S. population and 40 percent of the total costs of injuries.
  • Motor vehicle crashes account for 22 percent and fall injuries account for 20 percent of the total costs of injuries.
  • Traumatic brain injury medical costs, 11 percent of the total medical cost burden, are substantially higher than their incidence would indicate. When productivity losses are added, TBI represents an even greater portion of the economic burden, ranking third in total costs of injury.

“The financial and economic impact of injuries in the United States is serious, ” said CDC Director, Dr. Julie Gerberding. “However, by expanding our science-based injury prevention programs, we can drastically reduce these costs and even more importantly help people live longer and healthier lives. ”

The report, The Incidence and Economic Burden of Injury in the United States, is available in free summary fact sheet format or may by purchased online in its entirety.

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2. Injury Unit Coordinates New Disability and Health Project

Minnesota is one of 16 states funded for disability and health activities under the CDC’s Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities Division. The Minnesota Department of Health's (MDH) Injury and Violence Prevention unit is in the midst of a two-year planning grant, working with 20 organizations and agencies that are concerned with disabilities. The plan, to be produced this year, will outline ways to promote the health of people with disabilities and prevent secondary conditions.

Subgroups are now working on recommendations to improve access to health care and to address social issues faced by people with disabilities such as abuse, unemployment, and mental illness. MDH will be seeking funding for implementation activities. For information, contact Evelyn Anderson, Project Coordinator, (651) 201-5448.

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3. State Fair Quiz Deals With Injury and Violence

This quiz, to be given out at the MDH State Fair booth, can also be used for county fairs or other public awareness programs.

True or false:

Falls send more elderly people to the hospital than any other injury.
True. Most elderly people fall at home because they trip on something, often a rug.

You should wear a bike helmet every time you get on a bike, even if it's for a short distance.
True. Wearing a bicycle helmet reduces the risk of brain injury by 85 percent.

The youngest children - those from age 1 to 4 - are the most likely to drown.
True. Make sure an adult is watching kids around water, every minute!

Firearms kill one Minnesotan every day.
True. If you have guns, keep them locked and unloaded. Most gun deaths in Minnesota are due to suicide.

When there's a fire in your house, the first thing you should do is try to put it out.
False. You should get out of the house.

Wars have killed more Americans than motor vehicle crashes.
False. The reverse is true. Wear seatbelts - every body, every seat, every time.

Men can be victims of domestic violence.
True. Anyone can be a victim, and anyone can be an abuser.

One in every six women has experienced rape sometime in her life.
True. Prevention ideas are available from the MDH publication, A Place to Start: A Resource Kit for Preventing Sexual Violence.

Three times as many Minnesotans die from suicide as from homicide.
True. And the leading cause of suicide is depression, which is a treatable medical condition

Youth are three times more likely to be victims of assault than are adults.
True. Supportive families, and school and community programs can reduce youth violence.

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4. Posters Educate on a Variety of Injury Prevention Topics

At the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Neighborhood Safety Network Posters, you can download and print colorful posters on 13  injury-prevention topics.

  • Bicycle Helmets
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning*
  • Choking, Electrical Safety*
  • Firework Safety
  • Grandparent Child Safety Tips
  • Halloween Fire Safety*
  • Holiday Decorations*
  • Holiday Toy Safety*
  • Inflatable Pool Safety, Older Consumer Safety*
  • Playground Safety
  • Pool Safety
  • Toy Jewelry*

* Available in Spanish as well as English

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5. New Style of Mattress Expected to Prevent Fire Deaths and Injuries

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently approved a new regulation requiring mattresses to be more resistant to a fire started by an open flame. The new standard limits the heat and spread of a mattress fire, giving people more time to escape from the residence.

When the standard becomes fully effective in 2007, CPSC estimates that it could prevent 78 percent of the deaths and 84 percent of the injuries currently occurring every year.

Mattresses are now on the market that meet these new fire safety requirements. CPSC reminds parents and caregivers to keep cigarette lighters and matches out of the reach of children and to ensure that all candles are placed on a flat surface, away from combustible materials, and out of the reach of children.

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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.

mdh logo
Injury and Violence Prevention Unit
Minnesota Department of Health
PO BOX 64882
ST PAUL MN 55164-0882
(651) 201-5484

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