Injuries Can Be Prevented

AAP-OC’s Injury and Violence Prevention Initiative provides expertise, evidence-based guidelines and public policy advocacy for childhood injury and violence prevention. Our goal is to reduce childhood injuries in Orange County.

Injury, both intentional and unintentional, is the leading cause of death and disability in the United States for children beyond the first year of life. These injuries will have lasting impacts, including total lifetime economic costs of more than $50 billion in medical expenses and lost productivity.

Injuries can be prevented through enabling system changes (public policy and laws, environment and engineering), as well as changes in community and individual behaviors.

Orange County Key Injury Facts

  • Each day, 1 child under 5 years is seriously injured
  • Each month, 2 die as a result of injury
  • Assault (homicide) is a leading cause of death among children less than 1 year of age
  • Drowning is the leading cause of death for toddlers
  • Pedestrian injuries are a leading cause of death
  • Motor vehicle occupant injuries are leading causes of death and serious injury among most age groups, and the leading cause of death among adolescents, followed by suicide and homicide

Drowning Prevention

Drowning can happen to any family.

Drowning is the leading cause of death among children 1-4 years old in Orange County, California and in the U.S.

For residential swimming pools, installation of a four-sided isolation fence that meets the Consumer Product Safety Commission standard is the primary barrier. Other barriers are secondary and may help by adding extra or multiple layers of protection but have not been shown to be effective through scientific research. Here are the strategies we must use to prevent childhood drowning:

Barriers – Including an isolation fence and supplementary barriers such as door alarms for layers of protection
Supervision – With no distractions such as cell phones
Swim Lessons – High quality, low-cost lessons which are typically available through your city, the local Y or the Red Cross
Life Jackets – U.S. Coast Guard-approved for open bodies of water and at pools for young children and unskilled swimmers
CPR – Immediate resuscitation at the submersion site with a focus on the airway and rescue breathing before compressions

Every year, we hear tragic stories about accidental drownings. Here is what Nicole, Levi’s mother, shared with the National Center for Fatality Review and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics. “Our three-year-old son, Levi, drowned in June 2018 while we were on a beach vacation with friends. One moment, he was sitting on the couch watching TV while I cleaned up dinner. In the next, I pulled him from the bottom of the pool. Levi had somehow slipped out of the kitchen filled with people, including myself, my husband, and five other physician friends.” Levi’s family is working tirelessly to prevent child drowning.

AAP Policy Statement: Prevention of Drowning. https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/143/5/e20190850

Sarah A. Denny, Linda Quan, Julie Gilchrist, Tracy McCallin, Rohit Shenoi, Shabana Yusuf, Benjamin Hoffman, Jeffrey Weiss, COUNCIL ON INJURY, VIOLENCE, AND POISON PREVENTION. Pediatrics May 2019, 143 (5) e20190850; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2019-0850. https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/143/5/e20190850.full.pdf

American Academy of Pediatrics Drowning Prevention Toolkit. https://services.aap.org/en/news-room/campaigns-and-toolkits/drowning-prevention/

This Pool Season: One More Drowning is One Too Many

It’s that time of the year again – pool season! As temperatures rise, there’s nothing more fun for kids to do than splash away in the nearest pool.

As pediatricians, parents and grandparents, we must also be aware of the dangers that come with access to swimming pools. In fact, drowning is the No. 1 cause of death among children ages 1 to 4, here in Orange County, California.

Every year, we hear tragic stories about accidental drownings. Here is what Dr. Nicole Hughes, Levi’s mother, shared with the National Center for Fatality Review and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics. “Our three year-old son, Levi, drowned in June 2018 while we were on a beach vacation with friends. One moment, he was sitting on the couch watching TV while I cleaned up dinner. In the next, I pulled him from the bottom of the pool. Levi had somehow slipped out of the kitchen filled with people, including myself, my husband, and five other physician friends.” Levi’s family is working tirelessly to prevent child drowning.

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Foundations for Child Drowning Surveillance Project

The Foundations for Child Drowning Surveillance Project funded by the California Kids’ Plates Grant Program in 2008 was designed to improve the quality and consistency of multi-agency drowning surveillance in California. The project objectives were:

  1. To develop and produce a comprehensive report on the state of drowning surveillance in pools/spas among young children in Southern California
  2. To create a “How To Handbook” illustrating the necessary components for building successful multi-agency drowning surveillance protocols at the local, county, and state level
  3. To promote the adoption of standardized drowning surveillance state-wide

Standardized drowning surveillance can be used to monitor trends and identify risk and protective factors in order to set priorities and guide drowning prevention policies and strategies.

Burn Prevention

“Making Microwave Oven Doors Child Resistant to Protect Young Children from Severe Scalds” features a video by Kyran Quinlan, MD, MPH, FAAP sharing how he has worked to change the way microwaves are made over the years. This report highlights how research can inform and support child injury prevention advocacy. Children will now be protected from this type of scald as microwaves with child-resistant doors replace current models.

Kyran P. Quinlan, Gina Lowell, Marla Robinson, Joe Musso and Lawrence J. Gottlieb, Pediatrics January 2021, e2020021519; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2020- 021519

Safe Sleep and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Did You Know?

  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of infant death between 1 month and 1 year of age.
  • More than 90% of all SIDS deaths occur before babies reach 6 months of age.
  • Risk of SIDS is 3 times higher in babies born with low birth weight.
  • Accidental Suffocation is the leading cause of infant injury deaths.
  • An Orange County baby dies while sleeping in an adult bed or sharing a bed with another person nearly every other month.

Safe Sleep Brochure – English  •  Safe Sleep Brochure – Spanish  •  Safe Sleep Brochure – Vietnamese

Local Resources:

Orange County Health Care Agency: Safe Sleep and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Page
California Department of Public Health Center for Family Health: Infant Safe Sleep Strategies Family-Centered Approach

Injury and Violence Prevention Program Materials

Choose from a wide variety of materials and media that the Injury and Violence Prevention Program has to offer pediatricians and other child health specialists.

Child Passenger Safety

This resource guide provides information for the following services:

  • Free car seats for low income families
  • Car seat inspections by certified technicians
  • Educational classes
  • Help installing your car seat

For more information, visit the Orange County Health Care Agency website.

Orange County Health Care Agency Car Safety Seat Program
Orange County Child Passenger Safety Resource Guide

Recent local high school graduate, Jaya Bhalla, reviews the dangers of vaping and E-cig use. This video is intended for parents and teens.

https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/Richmond-Center/Pages/vaping-juul-e-cigarettes-toolkit.aspx

Teen Safe Driving


The American Academy of Pediatrics, Orange County Chapter with support from The Allstate Foundation implemented the Teen Safe Driving Program with the goals of increasing awareness regarding the Graduated Driver License policy, and to reduce teen driving deaths. The national AAP released its first policy statement recommending Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws in 1996 in response to the high number of fatalities and injuries among teen drivers. As a result of over 15 years of pediatric advocacy, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have a 3-tiered Graduated Licensing System for teen drivers. These include a learner’s permit, an intermediate or provisional license, and a full-privileged driver’s license. Unfortunately, the strength of these laws varies widely, with some states adopting more stringent provisions than others in specific areas such as the number of required hours of supervised behind-the-wheel training and restrictions on night time driving, teenage passengers and mobile phone use. (For a full description of recommended provisions and state-by-state requirements, click here.) Currently no state has a law that meets all the AAP recommendations for teen driving safety.