In support of National Injury Prevention Day on November 18, Rhode Island will join other states around the country in "shining a light" on efforts to stop injuries and violence—the number one cause of death and hospitalization nationally for people ages 1 to 44. Tomorrow will be the first time the Rhode Island State House dome will be lit green as a commitment to addressing injuries and violence.
"All of us, at every stage of life, can act to prevent injuries and violence. For some, injury prevention means safe sleep practices, putting children in car seats, fastening seatbelts, and wearing bike helmets. For some other folks, it may mean fall prevention strategies or safe firearm storage," said Utpala Bandy, MD, MPH, Interim Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH). "We can all take steps to make our homes and communities safer places to live."
RIDOH's Violence and Injury Prevention Program and partners are working to address all forms of injury and violence. Examples of projects include fall prevention initiatives; suicide prevention campaigns aimed at youth and Veterans; sexual violence prevention; and transportation safety. Earlier this year, Rhode Island was awarded $915,000 in federal funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop a coordinated, data-driven suicide prevention program for higher-risk populations.
Falls remain the most common injury sending Rhode Islanders to the emergency department (ED). Falls are also common causes of inpatient hospital admissions.
"Older adults can reduce the risk of falls by staying physically active, removing tripping hazards at home, keeping living spaces well lit, and using grab bars and railings," said Tosin Ojugbele, MD, MPH, the Medical Director of RIDOH's Division of Community, Health, and Equity. "These steps can be part of a falls prevention strategy that you discuss with your health professional, who can help you assess your risk."
Data on injuries:
- Data from 2016 to 2022 indicate that while annual ED visits for injuries have decreased from nearly 87,000 to nearly 63,000, disparities persist. Black non-Hispanic people and Hispanic people continue to have higher rates of injury-related ED visits compared to White people.
- Common injury-related causes of ED visits after falls, include being struck by an object, motor vehicle-related injuries, assaults, and traumatic brain injury. Rhode Island data from 2022 show that females have higher fall rates compared to males. However, males have higher rates of being struck by an object, motor vehicle/traffic-related injuries, and assault.
- While Rhode Island has one of the lowest rates of suicide deaths per 100,000 population in the country, suicide is the second-leading cause of death for those ages 10-34 and the eleventh-leading cause of death among all Rhode Island residents.
Organized by the Injury Free Coalition for Kids and its partners, the fourth annual National Injury Prevention Day aims to raise awareness about the effects of injury and violence on the public's health, as well as actions needed to build safer communities. Partners include Safe Kids Worldwide, Safe States Alliance, the American Trauma Society, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Be SMART—a program of Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, the Society for Advancement of Violence and Injury Research, the Trauma Center Association of America, and JPMA Cares.
For more information and resources on violence and injury prevention, visit health.ri.gov/violence.
If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org. If someone is in immediate danger, call 911.