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Preventing Spinal Cord Injuries

Author / Coordinator:  
Minnesota
March 2007

The following tips, based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Spinal Cord Injury Information Network, may reduce the risk of spinal cord injury:

  • Wear a seat belt every time you drive a car or ride in one. Make sure your children are buckled into a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt (as appropriate for their age). Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of SCI.
  • Keep firearms and ammunition locked in a cabinet or safe when not in use. The second leading cause of SCI is violence, most often related to firearms use.
  • Prevent falls–the third leading cause of SCI–by
  • using a step stool with a grab bar to reach objects on high shelves;
  • installing handrails on stairways;
  • installing window guards to keep young children from falling out of windows;
  • using safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs when young children are around.
  • Play sports safely. For example:
  • Wear all required safety gear.
  • Never engage in head-first moves, such as spearing (in football, using the helmet to tackle) or sliding head-first into a base.
  • Avoid hitting the boards with your head in ice hockey.
  • Insist on spotters when performing new or difficult moves in gymnastics.