Promoting Injury Prevention & Sports Safety

Why this needs our attention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers injury "among the most under-recognized public health problem facing our country today." Former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, MD said, “If a disease were killing our children in the same proportions as injury, we would be outraged and demand this killer be stopped.”

Childhood injury is predictable and preventable. Injuries are the leading cause of death in children and adolescents and a major cause of emergency department visits, hospitalizations and permanent disability. These injuries can include motor vehicle crashes, suffocation, drowning, poisoning, fires and falls. Nearly one-third of youth injuries are sports-related. As we encourage youth to be physically active through sports and recreational activities, we must also focus attention on sports-related injury prevention. Each year, over 3.5 million youth suffer sports or recreation-related injuries. Knee injuries and concussions can have serious and immediate physical and mental implications and long-term impacts later in life.

What Lurie Children's is doing to address it

The Injury Prevention & Research Center (IPRC) addresses the leading causes of injury to Illinois children and adolescents through behavioral risk reduction and the promotion of safe physical and social environments.

Staff works closely with the Injury Free Coalition for Kids (IFCK) and Lurie Children's serves as a formal site for Safe at Play, Safe at Home, Safe Sleep, Safe on the Road and Stop the Falls campaigns. Lurie is the lead agency for the Safe Kids Chicago and Safe Kids Illinois coalitions. Members of each coalition include healthcare providers, government officials, law enforcement personnel, and social service agencies who create and implement injury prevention programming. Injury surveillance data from Lurie Children's Child Health Data Lab also helps to guide IPRC priorities and activities.

Child Passenger Safety Classes: This one-hour class will help parents and caregivers select the proper child safety seat for their child. Parents will also learn the basics of proper seat installation. Call Mauricio Garcia at 312.227.7081 to sign up.

Virtual Programs in a Box: For teachers, scout leaders, youth group organizers or anyone else interested in teaching kids about safety: Bring safety programs to your community with Virtual Programs in a Box. We have downloadable materials and other items you can borrow on a wide variety of safety topics. Click here to learn more about our virtual programs in a box. Please contact Amy Hill by phone at 312.227.6692 or e-mail alhill@luriechildrens.org.

The Institute for Sports Medicine at Lurie Children’s developed the Knee Injury Prevention Program (KIPP), a targeted neuromuscular training program designed to reduce the risk of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, particularly among female adolescent athletics who are six times more likely be suffer a debilitating ACL injury. KIPP was launched with funding from the Chicago Fire Foundation and the Kohl’s Cares Program and is offered at no cost to the community.

Lurie Children’s Pediatric Concussion Program aims to take a holistic approach by addressing youth physical, mental and academic needs, as well as providing them with appropriate guidance regarding safe return to sports and physical activities. Our sports medicine experts have developed Return to Learn for school administrators and teachers and Comprehensive Concussion Education for school nurses. Both are free online training modules to ensure that youth who have suffered concussion receive comprehensive supports from their schools.

Our impact

  • More than 1,000 car seats, 2,000 home safety kits, 1,600 bike helmets, 700 window safety devices and 1,100 smoke and carbon monoxide detectors distributed annually
  • Prior to the start of the Stop the Falls campaign in 2002, which raised awareness and provided simple guidance to reduce window falls, there were 30 window falls in the city of Chicago in 2001. By 2016, window falls had decreased by more than 50% and in 2018, there were 10 window falls
  • Over 700 coaches and 5,000 athletes trained through KIPP annually
  • Lurie Children's Institute for Sports Medicine led efforts to change the laws around concussion safety, establishing “return to sports” and “return to learn” protocols
  • Our sports medicine experts have trained over 1,800 school staff since 2015 and 200 school nurses since November 2018 on concussion education