June 12th, 2013 - by DKRPA
An spinal cord injury is typically life-changing. Depending on the type of the injury, where it occurred, and the success of early treatment, such an injury can result in partial paralysis, paraplegia, or quadriplegia. Current statistics indicate that around 12,000 new spinal injuries occur in the U.S. each year and, over a lifetime, those catastrophic injuries cost each victim and the health care system between $1 million and $4 million each. The average victim is 41 years old.
Many people do not realize that, on average, 39.2 percent of spinal cord injuries are caused by traffic accidents. The three next most common causes of spinal injury are slip-and-fall accidents (28.3 percent), acts of violence (14.6 percent), and sports-related injuries (8.2 percent).
Considering how catastrophic these injuries often are for their victims, their families and the health care system, the fact that motor vehicle accidents cause so many of them only serves to emphasize the importance of traffic safety initiatives. While we all want to avoid being in car accidents, few people truly realize how terrible the outcome can be.
What steps can you take to avoid sustaining a spinal cord injury if you are in a traffic accident?
Use your seat belt and require others to buckle up when you’re driving. The fact is, the combination of seat belts and air bags reduces your odds of a spinal injury by 60 percent.
Don’t let kids sit in the front seat, especially if your car has air bags. Children under the age of 12 can be seriously injured, including in the spine, by air bags.
Children belong in appropriate child safety seats. The safest place for kids is in a correctly installed, age- and weight-appropriate safety chair or booster seat.
Don’t drink — or use drugs — before driving, and don’t ride with a drunk or drugged driver. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every three drivers killed in motor vehicle accidents were under the influence.
Source: The Missoulian, “Family health: Spinal cord injuries change lives in drastic ways,” Renee Redler, June 18, 2013
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