In the United States, unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death among adolescents and the leading cause of medical spending for adolescents aged 11 – 18-years-old. The following are some of the latest reasons for injury for teens and young adults.
Pedestrian injury is the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for 5 to 14-year-olds. Many teens admit they cross the street while distracted by a mobile device. Here are some pedestrian safety tips:
- Be seen — wear bright clothes or materials to make you more visible to others.
- Look left-right-left and behind for traffic before crossing a driveway or road.
- Cross in marked crosswalks, at corners, or at intersections.
- Do not step into the roadway until the driver has stopped for you, or has acknowledged your intent to cross with eye contact, a wave or a nod.
- Walk focused and alert. No texting, listening to music or anything that takes your eyes, ears, or your mind off the road and traffic.
Focused While Driving
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. Six teens ages 16 to 19 die each day from motor vehicle injuries. Distracted driving is a key factor in 58 percent of crashes involving this age group. Cell phone use is one of the biggest distractions and common dangerous behaviors for teenage drivers.
The issue with cell phones is not limited to texting — multiple behaviors, such as social media, messaging apps, navigation, and music, have the potential to draw attention away from the road. Even though teens recognize that talking or texting on a cell phone or using social media apps while driving is unsafe, they often engage in these behaviors anyway. Here are safe alternatives to cell phone use while driving:
- Complete any call or text before starting the car.
- Get directions and try to visualize the destination before turning the key.
- Check in with friends or parents only after arrival.
Parents should avoid calling their teen when he or she is driving. It can also be a good idea to set the default to “do not disturb” on a teen’s phone while driving.
The Rise of E-Scooters
E-scooters have become wildly popular. E-scooters are intended for adults over 18 who have a valid driver’s license. Some of the severe injuries reported include broken bones and head injuries. E-scooter users should avoid:
- Drinking alcohol while riding
- Speeding past the intended e-scooter speed limits, especially downhill
- Distractions from mobile devices
Teens should use the skills above and encourage others to do the same. In the event of an emergency, call 911 immediately.
The key to preventing trauma is education. The Trauma Center at Miller Children's & Women's is dedicated to preventing injuries and death resulting from trauma.