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Peds 21 program to illuminate why injury prevention deserves more attention

August 18, 2021












Editor's note:For more coverage of the 2021 AAP National Conference & Exhibition, visit

When talking about unintentional injuries in children, Benjamin D. Hoffman, M.D., FAAP, likes to quote former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, M.D.

“He said that if a disease were killing kids at the rate that injuries are, the public would be outraged and demand that that killer be stopped,” said Dr. Hoffman, chair of the AAP Committee on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention.

Dr. Hoffman hopes this year’s Pediatrics for the 21st Century (Peds 21) program elevates the significance of unintentional injuries and spurs pediatricians to take action.

“Certainly, to the degree that it impacts children and families, it does not receive the attention that it deserves,” he said.

Titled “Addressing New Challenges to Prevent Injury,” the program will be livestreamed from 1-4:30 p.m. CDT Saturday. It also will be recorded for attendees to view later.

The program, Dr. Hoffman said, will impart three key messages:

  • Unintentional injuries are taking a huge toll on children.
  • Emerging challenges are exacerbating the situation.
  • Pediatricians can make a difference by taking action in their practices and communities.

Andrew Kiragu, M.D., FAAP, a pediatric intensivist at Children’s Minnesota, will kick off the program with a presentation on the epidemiology of injuries titled “Critical Topics at Every Stage: Infancy Through College.” The goal is to give attendees a sense of urgency, said Dr. Hoffman, who is moderating the program.

For example, sudden unexpected infant death takes the lives of 10 babies in the U.S. every day, he said. Many of those deaths are preventable by following safe sleep recommendations.

Furthermore, drowning is the leading cause of death for 1- to 4-year-olds and the second leading cause of death for 15- to 19-year-olds. But how many pediatricians are talking about water safety on a regular basis? Dr. Hoffman asked.

Injuries also will be examined through an equity lens. Black and Brown children have higher rates of injury and death in almost every category, he said. “As we're working toward equity in health, it’s absolutely essential that we focus on injury prevention.”

During the section on emerging and persistent challenges, Rebecca Cunningham, M.D., senior adviser of the University of Michigan Injury Prevention Center, will discuss firearm-related injuries in a presentation titled “Why Different Populations Have Guns and Their Willingness to Use Locking Devices.” Torine Brooks Creppy, president of Safe Kids Worldwide, will explore the “Double-Edged Sword: The Promise and Risk of Technological Advances in Motor Vehicles.”

“If you think it’s hard enough transporting a kid in a minivan today, what happens in 20 years when we’ve got autonomous vehicles?” Dr. Hoffman asked. “Can a 6-year-old ride in an autonomous vehicle alone? How do we restrain them safely? What happens if it breaks down or delivers them to the wrong place?”

The third part of the program will lay out what pediatricians can do within and outside their practices to prevent injuries. Abby Collier, M.S., director of the National Center for Fatality Review and Prevention at the Michigan Public Health Institute, will focus on the importance of child death review in identifying trends and as a prevention tool. Karen Sheehan, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, medical director of the Injury Prevention & Research Center at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, will talk about what pediatricians can do in their practices and communities to increase the number of families they reach.

Finally, Yadira Caraveo, M.D., FAAP, a state legislator in Colorado, will discuss how attendees can get involved in the policy development process and why it’s crucial for them to do so.

“We’ve not seen any significant decreases in any aspect of unintentional injury for the better part of a decade,” Dr. Hoffman said. “And so what we're doing, it's good. But we need to do better. We need to do more.”

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