August 18, 2009

Injuries leading cause of death in Canada

Injury costs from falls, traffic, drowning, suicide or violence cost Canadians $18 billion annually, or $545 for each man, woman and child, researchers say.

The report, released by Smartrisk, says injuries remain the leading cause of death for Canadians from 1 to 44, taking the lives of 13,667 people in 2004.

The report shows the human toll as well -- another 5,023 individuals were permanently and totally disabled and 62,563 were left with a permanent, partial disability.

More than 210,000 Canadians spent at least one night in a hospital and 3.1 million more were treated in emergency rooms for injuries. Suicide accounted for the most deaths, followed by transport incidents and falls. Falls accounted for the greatest number of permanent disabilities, the report says.

With this comprehensive report, we want to help policy makers and injury prevention practitioners understand in detail where and who injury strikes so they can develop and use effective prevention strategies to bring injury numbers down, Bob Baker, president of Smartrisk, says in a statement.

The bottom line is that injury is preventable through a combination of educational programs, environmental modifications and enforcement mechanisms, Baker says.