Cincinnati Children's Hospital Campaigns to Prevent After-School and Weekend Injuries to Kids

The Injury Free Coalition for Kids

Field of Work: Disseminating a model injury prevention program for children and adolescents.

Problem Synopsis: Injury has long been the leading cause of childhood mortality, morbidity and hospital admissions in the United States. Every day about 20 children die from a preventable injury—more than from all diseases combined, reports the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) based on 2000–06 data.

Local injury surveillance data for 1999 showed that Cincinnati's Avondale neighborhood had the fourth highest childhood injury rate of any in the city and surrounding Hamilton County. The data pointed to no one major cause or type of injury in Avondale. Kids there were getting hurt from falls, cuts, sports participation, motor-vehicle crashes, ingestions and the like. What the data did show was that most childhood injuries occurred after school and on weekends.

Synopsis of the Work: The Injury Free Coalition for Kids, a national network of local physician-led, hospital-based programs, prevents childhood injuries through education and environmental change. The participating hospitals use epidemiological data to identify areas with high rates of childhood injury and work with community groups to implement interventions.

The Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Cincinnati initiated a series of recreational and educational projects aimed at giving Avondale youngsters a safe environment and structured activities during nonschool hours. Injury Free Cincinnati pursued three simultaneous approaches to injury reduction:

  • Development of safe playgrounds and play spaces.
  • Supervised after-school activities.
  • Injury prevention education.

Key Results: From 1999 to 2004 Avondale's injury rate decreased 42 percent.