Preventing Unintentional Injuries and Deaths in Schools

Author: Monica Preboth
Date: May 15, 2002

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about two thirds of all deaths among children and adolescents five to 19 years of age are the result of injury-related causes such as motor-vehicle crashes, other unintentional injuries, homicide, and suicide. To address this important issue, the CDC has created school health guidelines to prevent unintentional injuries and violence among young persons. The guidelines appear in the December 7, 2001, issue of the Recommendations and Reports series of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The CDC recommendations are based on an in-depth review of research, theory, and current practice in unintentional injury, violence, and suicide prevention; health education; and public health. Because not every recommendation is appropriate or feasible for every school to implement, schools should determine which recommendations merit the highest priority based on the needs of the school and the available resources.

To prevent unintentional injury, violence, and suicide, the CDC makes the following recommendations for health care in schools:

* Establish a social environment that promotes safety and prevents unintentional injuries, violence, and suicide.

* Provide a physical environment, inside and outside school buildings, that promotes safety and prevents unintentional injuries and violence.

* Implement health and safety education curricula and instruction that help students develop the knowledge, attitudes, behavioral skills, and confidence needed to adopt and maintain safe lifestyles and to advocate for health and safety.

* Provide safe physical education and extracurricular physical activity programs.

* Provide health, counseling, psychologic, and social services to meet the physical, mental, emotional, and social health needs of students.

* Establish mechanisms for short- and long-term responses to crises, disasters, and injuries that affect the school community.

* Integrate school, family, and community efforts to prevent unintentional injuries, violence, and suicide.

* For all school personnel, provide regular staff development opportunities that impart knowledge, skills, and confidence to effectively promote safety and prevent unintentional injury, violence, and suicide, and support students in their efforts to do the same.

COPYRIGHT 2002 American Academy of Family PhysiciansCOPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group

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