What is an injury?
An injury is defined as the physical damage to the body from a sudden exposure to energy at levels that exceed the normal human tolerance or as a result of the lack of one or more vital elements, such as oxygen. Injuries can be unintentional such as when someone is hurt from a fall or burn or in a traffic collision. Intentional injuries result from a deliberate act of harm to oneself or another such as suicide or murder (1).
Why pay attention to injuries?
Injuries are the leading cause of death for Canadians between the ages of 1 to 44. For Canadians aged 45 – 64, injuries are the third leading cause of death (2). Injuries are also among the top causes of hospitalizations for Canadians of all ages (3).
To summarize, every year in Canada we see:
- Over 15,00 deaths from injury
- Over 230,000 treated in hospital
- Nearly 3.5 million emergency room visits
- Over 55,000 permanent partial disabilities
- And over 4,400 permanent total disabilities
Figure 1: Summary of findings from the Cost of Injury in Canada report(4)
What is the cost of injury?
Injuries cost Canadians close to $27 billion, every year (4).
These total costs can be divided into direct costs (such as health care costs arising from injuries) and indirect costs (the costs related to reduced productivity from hospitalization, disability, and premature death).
In 2010, the most recent assessment data available, the direct costs of injury were $15.88 billion or 59% of total injury costs. The indirect costs were $10.9 billion or 41% of total costs arising from injury (4).
What are the best ways to prevent injuries?
Best practices suggest using comprehensive approaches to tackle the issue of injury. The Spectrum of Prevention, developed by Larry Cohen, offers a framework that can be used to guide these approaches (5).
The Three E’s of Injury Prevention can also help to formulate a comprehensive approach for preventing injuries:
- Engineering: Modification of a product or the environment
- Enforcement: Policy or legislation, and measures to ensure compliance.
- Education: Use of behaviour change strategies through education (6).
What kind of injury information can I find on Parachute’s Horizon?
Parachute currently focuses on preventing injuries in key priority areas: motor vehicle collisions, sports and recreation, and seniors falls. These priorities were chosen as those which correspond with the greatest burden of injury in Canadians. The information found on Horizon corresponds to these three areas; namely Sports and Recreation and Motor Vehicle Collisions. The repertoire of Seniors-Falls material will be a focus of growth for 2015.
Read more about Parachute’s injury prevention priorities in our Strategic Plan (2013).
What is Parachute?
Parachute is dedicated to preventing injuries and saving lives. A national charity, Parachute officially formed in July 2012, when the former Safe Communities Canada, Safe Kids Canada, SMARTRISK and ThinkFirst Canada joined together to become one leader in injury prevention. Parachute’s injury prevention solutions, knowledge mobilization, public policy, and social awareness efforts are designed to help keep Canadians safe. Parachute’s vision is an injury-free Canada with Canadians living long lives to the fullest.
1. World Health Organization. World report on child injury prevention: summary. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2008. 2. Public Health Agency of Canada. (2013). Table: Leading Causes of Death, Canada, 2008, males and females combined, counts (age-specific death rate per 100,000). Ottawa, ON. 3. Public Health Agency of Canada. (2013). Table: Leading Causes of Hospitalizations, Canada, 2008, males and females combined, counts (age-specific hospitalization rate per 100,000). Ottawa, ON. 4. Parachute. (2015). The Cost of Injury in Canada. Parachute: Toronto, ON. 5. The Prevention Institute. The Spectrum of Prevention: Developing a comprehensive approach to injury prevention. Source: http://www.preventioninstitute.org/component/jlibrary/article/id-105/127.html 6. MacKay M, Vincenten J, Brussoni M, Towner E, Fuselli, P. Child Safety Good Practice Guide: Good investments in unintentional child injury prevention and safety promotion – Canadian Edition. Toronto: The Hospital for Sick Children, 2011.