Injury and Violence Prevention News

Summer 2008
In this issue:
1. Action Teams Begin Their Work To Prevent Sexual Violence in Minnesota
2. More Common Than Most People Think: Traumatic Brain Injury in Minnesota
3. Unintentional Poisoning Has Spiked as Cause of Injury
4. Ways To Prevent Summer Sports Injuries
5. September Event Helps Parents Learn to Fit Child Passenger Seats Correctly

1. Action Teams Begin Their Work To Prevent Sexual Violence in Minnesota

In 2005, 61,000 Minnesotans were sexually assaulted, and sexual violence costs were estimated at $8 billion.


Clearly, sexual violence is a major public health issue. MDH is working with many other organizations and agencies on prevention. Three Action Teams have begun meeting to implement the state prevention plan: Framing and Messaging, Policy and Legislation, and Data and Research. To join any of the Action Teams, contact Amy Kenzie at Persons who are unable to attend meetings can participate by telephone or e-mail.


For more information, see the MDH Sexual Violence Prevention Web site,, particularly:

Costs of Sexual Violence in Minnesota

The Promise of Primary Prevention: A Five-Year Plan to Prevent Sexual Violence and Exploitation in Minnesota: Executive Summary.

Top of Page

2. More Common Than Most People Think: Traumatic Brain Injury in Minnesota

Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes, also has 10,000 cases of hospital-treated traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year. About 100,000 Minnesotans now live with TBI: that’s five times more than the combined number of people with multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, HIV/AIDS, and breast cancer.


The MDH Injury and Violence Prevention Unit presented these data at a recent news conference at which Corey Koskie, a Minnesota Twins player who sustained a concussion, was introduced as a spokesperson for the Brain Injury Association of Minnesota (BIAMN).


MDH is working with the BIAMN and other partners to prevent TBI. The most common causes are motor vehicle crashes, falls, and sports injuries.

Top of Page

3. Unintentional Poisoning Has Spiked as Cause of Injury

While some causes of unintentional injury have declined, poisoning has increased dramatically in recent years, according to a recent CDC report. From 1999 to 2005, the overall age-adjusted unintentional injury death rate increased 11 percent. This increase resulted primarily from a 80 percent increase in the death rate for poisoning (including drug overdose). The same period also showed a 33 percent increase in the death rate for falls.
A CDC fact sheet on poisoning, shows that:
  • In 2005,65 people died every day from unintentional poisoning, and the number of deaths has been increasing.
  • Nearly all the deaths resulted from drug poisoning, and more than half were due to prescription drugs.
  • Poisoning is not just a childhood problem. It affects adolescents and adults in increasing numbers.
Prevention tips
  • Follow directions on labels. Some medicines cannot be taken safely with other medications or with alcohol.
  • Keep medicines in their original bottles or containers.
  • Never share or sell prescription drugs.
  • Keep any opioid pain medications in a safe place only reachable by people who take or give them.
  • Monitor the use of medicines prescribed for children and teenagers, such as medicines for attention deficit disorder.
  • Keep the 24-hour poison control number (1-800-222-1222) on all home phones and cell phones. In any emergency, dial 911.

Top of Page

4. Ways To Prevent Summer Sports Injuries

A few simple safety precautions can greatly reduce the risk of serious head, spinal or other types of injuries during summer sports and recreational activities, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS),  which cites U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission  statistics.
About 319,000 sports-related head injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms in 2006, an increase of 10,000 injuries from 2005. The top 10 causes of sports and recreation-related head injuries in 2006, in order of frequency, were:
Cycling, football, powered recreational vehicles, basketball, baseball and softball, water sports, skateboards/scooters, soccer, fitness/exercise, and horseback riding.
Head and spinal injury prevention tips:
  • Buy and always use helmets or protective head gear approved for specific sports.
  • Wear appropriate clothing for the sport.
  • Do not participate in sports when very tired or ill.
  • Discard and replace damaged sporting equipment or protective gear.
  • When playing baseball, never slide head-first into a base.
  • When cycling, skateboarding, and rollerblading, obey all traffic signals, be aware of drivers, and avoid uneven or unpaved surfaces.
  • Supervise younger children at all times and do not allow use of sporting equipment or play that is unsuitable for their age.
  • Do not let young children use playgrounds with hard surfaces.
  • Perform regular safety checks of sports fields, playgrounds and equipment.
  • Prevent diving into water less than nine feet deep or in above-ground pools.
  • Follow all rules and warning signs at water parks, swimming pools, and public beaches.
  • Require football players to receive adequate preconditioning and strengthening of the head and neck muscles, and teach and follow proper blocking and tackling techniques.
More information
For more summer safety tips, see the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Top of Page

5. September Event Helps Parents Learn to Fit Child Passenger Seats Correctly

Three out of four child passenger seats are not fitted correctly. The National Highway Traffic Safety Agency (NHTSA) is sponsoring National Seat Check Saturday on September 20. It is a nationwide, coordinated emphasis on child safety seat inspections and will lead off this year’s Child Passenger Safety Week.

Find inspection locations in Minnesota at this NHTSA page.

Top of Page

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

Top of Page

The Minnesota Department of Health attempts to report all data accurately. If you discover an error, please contact us at
By using this system, you agree to not share these data in ways that would identify individuals or provide information on any malicious acts.