National Trauma Awareness Month Safety Tips

Courtesy of American Trauma Society, PA Division

The American Trauma Society and the Society of Trauma Nurses (STN) team up annually to plan National Trauma Awareness Month (observed in May). This year’s theme of “Safe & Secure – Safety is a Choice, Prevention is Key” focuses on addressing injury areas that have been rising as people work and live during COVID-19. In Pennsylvania, specifically the Philadelphia area, the Trauma Society is seeing elderly falls, gun violence and motor vehicle crashes as the top three reasons for hospitalization. Below are a few statistics and safety tips:

Elderly Fall Prevention
Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in an Emergency Department for a fall. Falling is not an inevitable result of aging. Use the tips below to prevent falls in your home.

Six steps to prevent falls:

  1. Find a good balance and exercise program. Look to build balance, strength, and flexibility.
  2. Talk to your health care provider. Ask for an assessment of your risk of falling. Share your history of recent falls.
  3. Regularly review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist. Make sure side effects are not increasing your risk of falling.
  4. Get your vision and hearing checked annually and update your eyeglasses. Eyes and ears are key to keeping you on your feet.
  5. Keep your home safe. Remove tripping hazards, increase lighting, make stairs safe, and install grab bars in key areas.
  6. Talk to your family members. Enlist their support in taking simple steps to say safe.

Motor Vehicle Safety
Every day about 8 people in the United States are killed in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.

Tips for parents:

  1. Talk to your young driver about the rules and responsibilities. Remind them that driving is a skill that requires one’s full attention. Emphasize that text and phone calls can wait until arriving at their destination.
  2. Know the law. Familiarize yourself with your state’s permit and licensing guidelines and laws. Also, know your state’s distracted driving laws. These should be clearly communicated to the young driver and enforced.
  3. Set an example.
  4. Learn more. Visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website, www.nhtsa.gov

Tips for drivers:

  1. Don’t multitask while driving. Adjusting mirrors, selecting music, eating or drinking, fixing makeup – do it before or after your trip.
  2. Use an app to help avoid calls and texts while driving.

Tips for passengers:

  1. Speak up if you are a passenger in a car with a distracted driver. Ask the driver to focus on driving.
  2. Reduce distractions for the driver by assisting with navigation, music selection and other tasks.

Gun Violence Prevention
Properly securing firearms when not in use is the #1 way to help prevent theft and misuse.

Six tips to prevent gun violence:

  1. Firearm should be stored in a location that is inaccessible to children.
  2. Always keep firearm unloaded when not in use. Keep the firearm’s muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
  3. Double check that firearm is unloaded when removed from storage.
  4. Unload, clean and place firearm in secure storage location when returning home.
  5. Educate everyone in your family about firearm safety. Store ammunition in a locked location separate from firearm.
  6. Keep finger off the trigger until you intend to shoot.

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