Injury Prevention Program

As an ACS-verified Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center, we are ready to treat children across the spectrum of trauma, from prevention to rehabilitation. The goal of our injury prevention program is to reduce the number of children and adolescents getting hurt in our community. We’re here if you need us, but our vision is you won’t have to.

Why?

Injury is the leading cause of death for children and adolescents in the United States. In fact, traumatic injuries are more common than all childhood diseases combined. Injuries are categorized as unintentional (i.e., “accidents”) or intentional (i.e., violence).

Level 1 pediatric trauma centers, like MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital in downtown Charleston, are prepared to treat the most severely injured patients with the most cutting edge pediatric expertise and equipment, so you can rest assured that if your child is hurt, they’re in good hands. But unlike most diseases, injuries are preventable. The MUSC Children’s Health Injury Prevention Program is designed to ensure our communities, parents, and families have the tools they need to prevent childhood injury.

How?

Injuries are predictable, which is what makes them preventable. We know how kids get hurt, what puts them at higher risk of getting hurt, and strategies to improve safety and prevent injuries from happening. This is how we accomplish that:

Research

We collaborate with multi-disciplinary researchers across MUSC Health or other healthcare organizations, academic institutions, and local and national nonprofit organizations.

We observe trends and patterns in injury data, which tells us things like what is causing the injuries (i.e., car crashes, playground falls, sports), who is getting injured (i.e., age groups, racial or ethnic groups, students/athletes), and where these injuries occur (i.e., counties, neighborhoods, school/home).

We also study interventions to determine if they are effective at reducing or preventing injury, and if these interventions are realistic and effective to do in the real world.

Community Outreach

Taking the knowledge and information we learn through research and getting it into the hands of community members like parents, teachers, and coaches, is an essential part of injury prevention.

Raising awareness about the risk of injury and educating kids and adults on steps they can take to prevent injury can be done in schools or at community events.

Most of our community outreach efforts are conducted through the Safe Kids Charleston Area coalition. As the lead agency of this coalition, MUSC Children’s Health partners with local agencies and organizations to host or attend events, classes, and other opportunities to raise awareness about injury prevention. More information about Safe Kids Charleston Area can be found here or here.

Education & Training

A big component of the Injury Prevention Program is training our healthcare providers by communicating important injury information, new research findings, and supporting best practices.
Teaching the next generation of injury prevention professionals is also critical. We support student learners from undergraduate through residency and fellowship via different project initiatives, internships, and volunteer opportunities. Nursing, pre-med, public health, social work, and psychology students with an interest in injury prevention are welcome to inquire about open internship and volunteer opportunities here.

Policy Advocacy

One of the most effective ways to prevent injuries on a large scale is through policy change. Where one community outreach event may touch 100 people, new laws touch every resident in the state. Examples of policies that are injury prevention focused include car seat laws, drunk and distracted driving laws, smoke detector laws, and firearm safe storage laws. Advocating for the right policies to keep kids safer can save thousands of lives and prevent even more non-fatal injuries.