Have you fallen and required medical attention? What about your keiki, have they fallen off their bike or got hurt playing a sport? These are all examples of injuries that could have been prevented.
Many people accept injuries as “part of life”, however, most events resulting in injury or death are predictable and there for preventable. Injury is actually the leading cause of death in the United States for people between the ages of 1 to 44, with the most frequent causes of injuries from motor vehicle accidents, violence, falls, sports and recreation.
Our keiki and kupuna are most vulnerable to sustaining an injury requiring medical attention, with more than 180,000 deaths occurring each year in the United States due to an injury, that’s one person every three minutes!
Protecting Our Keiki
Our keiki deserve the best injury prevention possible. A devastating injury to a keiki at a young age can affect their quality of life forever. Below is a list of six areas where our keiki are most likely to be injured and ways to help keep them safe:
Enroll your child in swimming lessons, never leave an unobserved child around water, plus learn CPR; including babysitters, grandparents, etc.
Make sure your child always wears a helmet and bright colored clothing when riding their bike, have them walk their bike across intersections and teach them to be especially careful when crossing driveways.
Insist your child always wears a seat belt, no matter what! Keep body parts inside the car at all times, teach your keiki the meaning of all traffic signs and signals and make sure they crosses 10 feet in front of their school bus to ensure the bus driver can see them.
Sports and Play Ground Safety
Make sure your keiki wears protective gear such as a helmet or elbow & knee protectors, stay clear of swings, monkey bars and seesaws and most importantly stay away from streets.
Put the Poison Control Phone Number on your refrigerator and in your cell phone 1-800-222-1222, don’t put your next dose on the counter for children to see/grab, do your research to identify poisonous plants inside and outside your house; place them out reach of children or remove them, and never refer to medicine as “candy”.
Accidents happen anytime and anywhere. But instilling good safety habits early on will help decrease traumatic injuries later on. Visit www.thinkfirst.org for ideas and games on how to talk to play with your keiki about injury prevention.
Keeping our kupuna safe
Did you know 1 out of 3 adults age 65 and older fall each year, making falls the leading cause of injury related death among senior’s in Hawaii? Falls are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admission for trauma, with Hawaii hospitals spending approximately $53 million each year.
kupuna can protect their independence and reduce their chances of falling with the following simple steps:
* Exercise Regularly – focus on increasing leg strength, improving balance and weight bearing exercise. For example, learn or take Tai Chi lessons.
* Review Medicines – review both prescription and over-the-counter medicines with your doctor or pharmacist as many may cause dizziness or drowsiness.
* Have Your Eyes Checked – at least once a year by an eye doctor and update your eyeglasses to maximize vision.
* Know Your Diet – make sure you are getting the suggested daily requirements of calcium and vitamin D.
* Osteoporosis – get screened and treated for osteoporosis regularly.
Lastly, 75% of all falls take place at home; making this one of the most important places we can protect our kupuna. The following tips offer suggestions on how to reduce trip hazards at home:
* Firmly attach carpets and rugs, use skid-proof rubber backing or remove them completely.
* Clear hallways and pathways of clutter and electrical cords.
* Use raised toilet seats, grab bars near the toilet and shower, shower chair and rubber mats.
* Install handrails on both sides of stairs.
* Use a sturdy step stool with a handle-better yet, keep items you use frequently in easy-to-reach places.
* Paint or tape a bright contrast color to the top edge of stairs.
* Use adequate lighting in the home and outdoors; have a light near the bed and keep a night light on.
* Subscribe to a personal emergency response service, have cell phone within reach with emergency numbers handy.
Life is unpredictable, but getting injury doesn’t have to be. Take the time to protect yourself and your loved ones now.