Injuries are not accidents—they do not happen by chance. Like disease, they follow a pattern. By identifying the risks for injury, it is possible to predict and prevent it. This page is here to provide you with some basic public health principles and tools to assist you in this process. In the first section there are two step-by-step approaches that are used by many public health practitioners to solve injury problems. The second section provides information on basic public health principles that support these approaches.
Predicting an injury is based on knowing the risk factors for an injury (for example, if you do not wear a seat belt, there is high chance of getting injured in a car crash). If the community injury data shows an injury problem, add to that the risk factors that most likely contributed, and you have set the stage to start intervening or correcting the problem (prevention).
Prevention is a process applied to correct the injury problem. The problem and the risk factors that are involved will direct which intervention or strategy you can apply. There are many proven or effective strategies already in use today (seat belts, car seats, smoke detectors), and new strategies that are being tested each day.