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Comprehensive Effort Needed To Prevent And Treat Traumatic Injuries

oach provides lessons that could be applied to reducing injuries from firearms, the report says.

A workable consensus on reducing gun-related injuries will emerge only if discussion is focused on explicit steps to reduce injuries -- such as keeping guns out of the hands of children and adolescents -- rather than on firearm ownership issues, the report says. Officials at all levels should focus on reducing the number of locations where children have access to guns; restricting their ability to gain access to guns and ammunition; building features into guns to reduce the risk of accidental or unauthorized use if the gun does get into their hands; and building community coalitions to make youth environments safer.

In addition to the success in reducing motor vehicle injury, progress has been made in reducing occupational, residential, and recreational injuries. The three federal agencies responsible for these successes are the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Many injury prevention initiatives are focused on the local level, and depend on local officials and advocacy groups who personally interact with citizens to educate them about such things as the proper use of infant car seats, bicycle helmets, and smoke detectors, and safe storage of firearms. To support this type of community-level approach, the report says, state resources must be strengthened. Every state health department should have an adequately staffed program of injury prevention to support the work of local communities and organizations. Support should continue to come as well from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, in collaboration with state and local governments.

Trauma care is another critical component in reducing the burden of injury. Inadequate funding has hampered the ability of hospital
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Contact: Dan Quinn, Kristen Nye
news@nas.edu
202-334-2138
The National Academies
29-Oct-1998


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