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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

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Injury Prevention

Contact Injury Prevention Section

What is Injury?

Injury is defined as “Damage or harm caused to the structure or function of the body caused by an outside agent or force.”

The major categories of injury are unintentional (accidental) and intentional. Unintentional injuries include those that result from motor vehicle collisions, falls, fires, poisonings, drowning, suffocation, choking, animal bites, recreational and sports-related activities. Intentional injuries result from interpersonal or self-inflicted violence, and include homicide, assaults, suicide and suicide attempts, child abuse and neglect (includes child sexual abuse), intimate partner violence, elder abuse, and sexual assault.

Common injuries include: poisonings, fractures, open wounds, sprains and strains, etc. The agents or forces causing these injuries are referred to as the external cause of injury and include, but are not limited to: motor vehicle crashes, falls, fires, firearms, poisonings, drownings, suffocation, animal bites, and recreational and sports-related activities.

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Florida's Need for Injury Prevention

Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death among Florida residents ages 1–44 and the fourth leading cause of death overall, after cancer, heart disease, and chronic lower respiratory diseases (Florida Vital Statistics Annual Report 2012). In 2012, injuries claimed 13,017 lives and accounted for 6.8% of all resident deaths.

In 2011 (most current national injury data), Florida’s age-adjusted injury death rates were higher than the national average by 7.4% for all unintentional injuries, 13.5% for unintentional motor vehicle injuries, 18.1% for unintentional poisonings, 13.0% for suicides, and a staggering 266.7% for unintentional drownings among children ages 1–4. In addition, Florida’s age-adjusted death rates in each of the above categories, except motor vehicle injuries, were the highest among the nation's five most populous states: CA, TX, NY, FL, and IL (see table below).

All Unintentional Injuries 39.0 41.9 28.2 38.6 26.2 31.5 + 7.4%
     -  Motor Vehicle Injuries 11.1 12.6 7.9 13.0 6.6 8.2 + 13.5%
     -  Poisonings 11.6 13.7 9.5 9.1 8.6 10.0 + 18.1%
     -  Drownings (Ages 1–4) 2.7 7.2 2.7 3.9 --** 1.7* + 266.7%
Suicides 12.3 13.9 10.4 11.5 8.1 9.3 + 13.0%

(Source: CDC WISQARS; Age-adjusted Rates per 100,000 population)

*   Potentially unstable rate based on a total of fewer than 20 events.
** No events.

“According to the CDC, injuries cost an estimated $406 billion per year in medical expenses and lost productivity. Nearly 50 million injuries occur each year, placing a staggering burden on the U.S. health care system. State budgets share this burden through Medicaid, state employee health benefits, health care for the uninsured, child welfare services, and lost tax revenue for the injured and their caregivers.” (excerpt from the National Conference of State Legislature’s LEGISBRIEF, Vol. 17, No. 3) 

Clearly, there is a need for statewide injury prevention activities in Florida.

For additional injury prevention data, please see the Florida Injury Surveillance Data System page.

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Florida Injury Prevention Section

Early Childhood Drowning Prevention—In 2011, a new statewide educational toolkit and drowning prevention campaign was launched: WaterproofFL: Pool Safety is Everyone’s Responsibility. The campaign emphasizes three layers of protection: supervision, barriers, and emergency preparedness, and offers an online toolkit and materials at

Older Adult Falls Prevention—Unintentional falls are the leading cause of injury death among Florida residents ages 65 years and older and the fourth leading cause of injury death overall. In addition, falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injury-related hospital admissions in Florida.

Safe Kids Florida—Local coalitions provide leadership in their communities in an effort to reduce the number of childhood injuries, a leading killer of children ages 19 and under.

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Under Florida law, e-mail addresses are public records. If you do not want your e-mail address released in response to a public records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this section by phone or in writing.

For additional information on injury prevention activities in Florida, please contact the Injury Prevention Section.

4052 Bald Cypress Way, Bin A22
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1722
Phone: 850-245-4440
Fax: 850-414-6470

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