Health

Preventable injuries in Canada called 'heartbreaking and unsustainable'

Preventable injuries from falls, motor vehicle collisions, fires and other activities claim the lives of more than 15,000 people of in Canada each year, according to a new report into the cost of the injuries.

15,000 lives lost to preventable injuries a year in Canada

Preventable injuries from falls, motor vehicle collisions, fires and other activities claim the lives of more than 15,000 people of in Canada each year, according to a new report into the cost of the injuries.

Parachute, a national charity aimed at injury prevention and the Conference Board of Canada said Wednesday preventable injury is the leading cause of death for Canadians age one to 44, but the majority are predictable.

"The costs continue to rise year after year. The loss of 15,866 Canadian lives and $26.8 billion is both heartbreaking, and unsustainable," the report's authors concluded.

"Too many people think 'we won't get hurt' and that serious injuries only happen to other people. However, they can and do happen — to us and others around us — at home, at play, at work and on the road."

Taking a moment to "have a word with yourself" about how to prevent injury, save lives and change societal attitudes will help, the groups believe.

Every hour, 427 people in the country suffer a preventable injury from a fall, motor vehicle collision, fire, poisoning or drowning.

The injuries result in hospitalization for more than 231,000 people, nearly 3.5 million emergency room visits and partial or permanent disability for more than 60,000 Canadians.

The report's authors estimated how much society could save for every dollar invested in measures such as:

  • Childproof cigarette lighter ($80).
  • Booster seats ($71).
  • Bicycle helmets ($45).
  • Zero alcohol tolerance for drivers under age 21 ($25).
  • Poison control centres ($8).

Falls were the leading cause of overall injury costs in 2010, accounting for $8.7 billion of the total.

The report includes direct and indirect cost of injuries from various causes broken down by age and province.

It was funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

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