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Injury Prevention

Trauma is no accident!

Injury prevention focuses on potential injury patterns and promotes or implements these programs to educate the community about preventable injuries. The goal is not only to lead a safe and healthy lifestyle, but to also decrease the number of trauma admissions to the Emergency Room. Programs currently available to the community are listed below.

Child Passenger Safety

The St. Cloud Area Child Passenger Safety collaborative offers free car seat checks for parents who are looking for education and correct fit of their child’s car seat.

Learn more about the program and view dates of upcoming car seat checks

Concussion Prevention

For the safety of our athletes and further prevention of concussions, since Sept. 1, 2011, a Minnesota law has required all coaches and officials (public and private) to be trained in identifying concussions. In order to accommodate the regulations of the State, the Centers for Disease Control has created a prevention tool called Heads Up. The program was developed to identify and educate our athletes, parents and coaches on Concussions in Youth Sports. The program provides online training for coaches, as well as a number of printable resources for athletes and their parents. Please take the time to thoroughly review this information so athletes who experience a concussion can be managed appropriately and return to play safely.

Learn more about how to recognize and treat a concussion

Learn more about the Heads Up program

Central Minnesota Fall Prevention & Home Safety Coalition

RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program), a department of the City of St. Cloud, works with St. Cloud Hospital, Gold Cross Ambulance, St. Cloud Fire Department, St. Cloud Police Department, Central Minnesota Council on Aging and Spot Rehab to provide a falls prevention program for area seniors. Trained volunteers provide free in-home safety assessments for seniors who live independently.

Learn more about the Falls Prevention Program

Helmet Smart Program

CentraCare Health has recently partnered with local vendor Revolution Cycle and Ski, as well as BLEND (Better Living: Exercise and Nutrition Daily) to provide safe, stylish, and affordable helmets to local children.

The helmets are purchased with funds provided by the CentraCare Health Foundation. They are sold at a rate of $10, with funds being recycled to purchase more helmets in the future. During the spring and summer months, helmets and fittings are provided at various bicycle and safety events throughout Central Minnesota. Our staff can also provide helmet fittings and education in the classroom, child care centers, or during after school activities. For more information, or to purchase helmets through this program, contact Mackensey, injury prevention specialist at 320-251-2700, ext. 53807.

Visit SafeKidsUSA to learn more about sport-specific safety

Matter of Balance (MOB) Course

Matter of Balance is a successful evidence-based program for older adults. Participants demonstrate significant improvements after completing the course in their level of falls management, falls control, level of exercise and social limitations with regard to concerns about falling.

Visit Healthy Aging Minnesota to learn more about the Matter of Balance Course

Find Matter of Balance Course dates in your area

Sessions include:

  1. Introduction to the Program
  2. Exploring Thoughts and Concerns about Falling
  3. Exercise and Fall Prevention
  4. Assertiveness and Fall Prevention
  5. Managing Concerns about Falling
  6. Recognizing Fall-ty Behavior
  7. Recognizing Fall Hazards in the Home and Community
  8. Practicing No Fall-ty Habits and Fall Prevention: Putting It All Together

Teen Driving Awareness Program

Parents of young drivers have the opportunity to expose them to a variety of driving conditions and scenarios in a controlled setting. The Teen Driving Skills and Parent Awareness Class takes place every other month at the Minnesota Highway Safety and Research Center.

For more information and registration, go to Minnesota Highway Safety and Research Center

Learn more about the Teen Driving Awareness Program (PDF)

Toward Zero Deaths Conference

The East Central TZD identifies the major focus areas (four E's), which include education, emergency medical/trauma services, enforcement, and engineering. Counties involved include Benton, Cass, Crow Wing, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd, Wadena, and Wright. This group, as well as the other regional partnerships, look at data specific to their areas to identify factors leading to fatal and serious injury crashes, and work on the implementation of countermeasures. For more information on events such as stakeholder meetings and regional/statewide conferences, visit the Towards Zero Deaths web site.

Preventing Winter Falls

How do I prevent falls in winter?

Winter in Minnesota is a wonderful time, especially for those who enjoy outdoor activities. A few safety precautions can keep you safe and reduce your risk of falling and suffering injuries. 

  • Allow yourself extra time. Walking too quickly on a slippery sidewalk can lead to  a fall.
  • Stretch often and keep muscles flexible. Cold weather makes muscles less elastic. 
  • Invest in shoes and boots with good traction. There also are traction pieces that can be attached to shoes.
  • Walk with a “shuffle” on icy walkways. 
  • Be focused. Look out for black ice, wet leaves, icy stairs, etc.
  • Be cautious and use assistance, such as holding someone’s hand or railings, if they are available. 
  • Practice strength training and balance exercises, if your health allows. A strong, steady body is more likely to respond and be able to prevent a fall. A great option is Tai Chi, now offered as a class at the Whitney Senior Center in St. Cloud.  
  • Keep a container of salt and/or sand in your garage or near doors to sprinkle on driveways and sidewalks to reduce snow and ice.
  • Do not hesitate to ask for help from family or neighbors to assist with clearing walkways after a snowfall.

The holidays also can present situations which may cause falls or injuries: 

  • Keep stairs well-lit and free from obstacles. Clutter, alcohol and fatigue are factors that increase the risk of a fall from stairs.
  • Be aware of tripping hazards. Decorations, presents under the tree, pets and small children at get-togethers are all potential tripping hazards to watch out for during the holiday season. 
  • Use appropriate step ladders so you can comfortably reach when hanging lights or decorating tree branches.  

What do I watch for if I fall?

Did you know that falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)? Not only that, but people 75 years of age and older have the highest rates of TBI-related hospitalizations and deaths. This is yet another reason why it is important to take precautions to prevent falls, especially when it comes to winter weather. While it is important to be educated on how to prevent falls, it also is important to know what to do in the event a fall does occur. 

Symptoms of a mild head injury include:

  • Persistent low grade headache
  • Trouble concentrating, remembering things, making decisions and solving problems
  • Feeling tired and lacking energy or motivation
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Increased sensitivity to light and sound
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Ringing in ears
  • Mood changes  

Symptoms of a moderate or severe head injury include:

  • Persistent or worsening headache
  • Repeated nausea or vomiting
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Inability to wake up from sleep
  • Dilation of one or both pupils
  • Slurred speech
  • Weakness or numbness in arms or legs
  • Loss of coordination
  • Increased confusion, restlessness or agitation 

If you have any of the above symptoms see your provider immediately. If you or your loved one is on blood thinners (such as Warfarin), you should see a health care provider for any bump or blow to the head — even if symptoms are not present. Do not hesitate to seek medical attention;  your chances for recovery are best if you are treated right away! 

For more information, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.     

Call 320-255-7265 to schedule a free home safety assessment by the Trips, Slips and Broken Hips Home Safety Coalition.

Please contact the Injury Prevention / Data Specialist at 320-251-2700, ext. 53807, with any questions regarding the current injury prevention programs and how they may benefit you or your organization.

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