- Public Health
- Injury Prevention
Injuries and violence affect everyone, regardless of age, race, economic status or geographic location. In fact, injuries are the number one killer of Americans, Coloradoans and those living in Jefferson County between the ages of 1 and 44. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) [external link], people in this age group are more likely to die from an injury-such as a motor vehicle crash, fall or other injury-than from any other cause, including cancer, HIV or the flu.
Injury Prevention Program
Jefferson County Public Health is partnering with hospitals, childcare providers, high schools and senior groups to increase awareness and education and ultimately decrease injuries among infants, teenagers and older adults in the county. Please contact Sophie West at 303-275-7581 for more information on JCPH's injury prevention program.
Reduce Sleep-Related Deaths in Infants
Visit a doctor when you suspect you are pregnant and attend all check-ups. Doctors prevent and treat risks that would otherwise weaken your baby. Don’t smoke, drink alcohol or use illegal drugs.
Safe Sleep Surfaces
Only let babies sleep on firm surfaces designed specifically for sleep safety. Cribs, play yards and bassinets should have current approval of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Cover each mattress in one tight-fitted sheet. Bare is best! So get rid of bed accessories that can suffocate or over-heat infants, such as blankets, pillows, hats, blankets, toys and bumpers. Can’t find or afford a safe crib? Please call 303-914-6586 for help.
In Your Room, Not in Your Bed
Sleeping in bed or on a couch with your baby doubles the chances of a sleep-related death, but sleeping in the same room lessens the chances. To make soothing and night feedings convenient and safe, place a crib within arm’s reach of your bed. Stay awake during feeding and return your baby to her own bed when done.
Back to Sleep, Everywhere All the Time
Place babies to sleep on their backs every time they sleep. Babies cannot breathe as well when they sleep on their sides and stomachs. If your baby has a harder time falling asleep on her back, ask your doctor about alternate soothing methods. Discuss back-to-sleep requirements with every person watching your baby. Make sure they understand that back sleeping does not cause choking. Then make unannounced drop-ins to verify caregivers are placing your child to sleep safely.
No Smoking, Alcohol or Drugs
Babies exposed to smoke are more vulnerable to sleep-related death. So are babies whose parents drink alcohol or use illegal drugs. Avoid these substances around babies to stay alert and attentive to their needs.
Yes to Breast & Pacifiers
Breastfed infants arouse from dangerous situations better than formula-fed infants and develop fewer infections that may trigger sleep-related death. So, if you are able to breastfeed, it is recommended that you do so. Pacifier use at bedtime also protects your baby. Pacifiers do not need to be reinserted if they fall out of the baby’s mouth while sleeping. To eliminate the chance of entanglement, never clip or tie pacifiers to your baby’s clothing or body.
Teen Motor Vehicle Safety
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, accounting for more than one in three deaths in this age group. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Injury Prevention and Control [external link] shows that teens ages 15 to 19 are 5.4 times more likely to die and 3.2 times more likely to be hospitalized for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle crash.
In Jefferson County alone, there were 123 teen injury cases involving motor vehicles last year. The Colorado Department of Transportation ranks Jefferson County as the third-worst county in the state when it comes to at-fault teen drivers. Following the Colorado Graduated Driver Licensing Laws can help teens prevent motor vehicle crashes.
Older Adults & Fall Prevention
JCPH strives to help people achieve their goals by providing them with information so they can make informed decisions and advocate for the support needed to ensure they can remain in charge of their lives.
- Falls are the leading cause of injury and death among adults aged 65 and older.
- Each year in Colorado, more than 400 adults die from a fall-related injury.
- More than 10,000 Coloradans age 65 and older are hospitalized for fall-related injuries each year, including 12% with traumatic brain injury and approximately one-third with hip or femur fractures.
- Of the older adults who were injured from a fall in the home, only 28% were discharged to their homes after their hospitalization. The majority required ongoing care in a skilled nursing facility.
- The average length of stay for an older Coloradan hospitalized for fall-related injuries is 4.8 days with an average total hospitalization charge of $25,976.
Falls can be prevented. Older adults can reduce their chances of falling by:
- Getting regular exercise that focuses on balance and strength.
- Reviewing all medication and supplements with their doctor. This includes identifying all medications that can cause dizziness and drowsiness.
- Checking vision once a year. Make sure to update all lens prescriptions and get prescription sunglasses for walking outside.
- Making home safer. Improve lighting and add grab bars in the bathroom tub and next to the toilet. Add railings on both sides of stairways and remove cords and rugs from walking areas.
- Limit intake of alcohol, which can affect balance.
- Stand up slowly. Rising too quickly can sometimes result in a sudden drop in blood pressure, causing dizziness.
- Use a cane or walker if needed for steadiness.