Preventing Injury and Promoting Sports Safety

Why unintentional injury needs our attention 

Childhood injury is preventable, yet it is the leading cause of death in children and adolescents and a major cause of emergency department visits, hospitalizations and permanent disability. The most common types of childhood injuries are:

  • Motor vehicle crashes (most common among 5–19-year-olds)
  • Suffocation (most common in infants <1 year old)
  • Drowning (most common among 1–4-year-olds)
  • Poisoning
  • Fires
  • Falls

Nearly 1 in 3 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. 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 unintentional injury

Lurie Children’s Injury Prevention and 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.

As a member of the nationwide Injury Free Coalition for Kids (IFCK), Lurie Children’s is a formal site for injury prevention campaigns including:

Lurie Children’s is also the lead agency for Safe Kids Illinois and Safe Kids Chicago. Members of each coalition include healthcare providers, government officials, law enforcement personnel, and social service agencies who create and implement injury prevention programming, including:

Virtual Car Seat Classes and Check Up Appointments: Taught by nationally certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians, these classes help parents and caregivers select the proper child safety seat for their child and learn the basics of proper car seat installation. Parents or caregivers with an Illinois Medical Card who register in advance can purchase reduced cost car seats and booster seats. 

Safety in a Box: Free to download or borrow safety resources on general safety, poison prevention, car & child passenger safety, drowning prevention, fire and burn safety, home and sleep safety, and pedestrian and bicycle safety.

The IPRC also collaborates with Lurie Children’s Institute for Sports Medicine, which offers the Knee Injury Prevention Program (KIPP) for youths 10-21 years old who are involved in sports. This six-week neuromuscular exercise program was developed by our sports medicine experts and is based on award-winning, published scientific research. KIPP’s primary goal is to reduce athletes' risk for sports-related knee injuries, especially tears of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). 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.

The Institute for Sports Medicine is also home to the Pediatric Concussion Program, which takes a holistic approach to concussion treatment and recovery that addresses academic needs and provides guidance for 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 on unintentional injury

  • 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 Learn” and “Return to Sports” protocols.