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Trauma Injury & Prevention

Community Focus with Mary Washington Healthcare

At Mary Washington Healthcare, we look to empower individuals in our community and help them establish healthy behaviors and routines that will encourage a safer lifestyle. Part of this comes from our involvement in injury prevention programs throughout Fredericksburg, Stafford, and surrounding areas in Virginia. By educating our community on safety and wellness, we can help prevent injury.

Bike and Skateboard Safety

Riding a bike is a great way to spend time with your family. It is also an excellent way to stay fit. However, it is important to practice bike safety in order to avoid injury. Injuries can range from cuts and bruises to more serious issues such as broken bones, internal injuries and head trauma.

It is important to remember the following when riding bikes and skateboards:

  • Make sure you/your child have proper training
  • Keep new bike riders in an enclosed area
  • Wear a properly-fitted helmet
  • Wear reflective clothing
  • Make sure your bike has reflectors on the frame and wheels
  • Buy a bike that you or your children fit
  • Obey the rules of the road
  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Always wear protective equipment
  • Ride with traffic, not against it
  • Learn and use hand signals

Pool Safety

Child drownings remain the leading cause of unintentional death among children ages 1 to 4 years old.

Young children can drown in anything over an inch of water. Toilet bowls and buckets are extremely hazardous for very young children. A child’s head up to about age 3 is very heavy – about two-thirds of their body weight. They can innocently look over the edge into the bucket or toilet and go head-first right in, unable to call for help.

Backyard pools always require undivided attention and supervision from adults. The safest fencing is at least 4 feet tall and secured with a self-latching gate.

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River Safety

Being safe when on or near a river is also very important. Unfortunately, most river drowning victims don’t make it to the hospital and the tragedy turns into a recovery mission instead of a rescue. Popular riverside parks are not always a safe place for swimming, and everyone should wear a personal flotation device when they are on or near a river. The river may look calm on the surface, but there are dangerous undercurrents tree branches underneath that cannot be seen. Also, shoreline rocks and logs can be extremely slippery.

For more information about staying safe near or on rivers, visit

If someone is in trouble in the water, call 911 immediately.

Reach or Throw, Row, Don’t Go:

  • Reach: Use a fishing pole, towel, boat oar, etc.
  • Throw: A rope is best - you can then pull in the person. Otherwise throw something that will float - a ball, a plastic bottle, a lifebuoy. This will keep the person afloat until help comes.
  • Row: It's not safe to go near a swimmer with the boat motor running. Use the oars to bring the boat close enough to reach or throw.
  • Don't Go: Without expert training and experience in lifesaving techniques, you could put yourself in danger along with the person you are trying to help.

Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving

Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of trauma in our area. Driving while distracted or intoxicated dramatically increases your risk of being involved in a motor vehicle crash. Crashes are not accidents. Stop and think before getting behind the wheel.

Think Before You Drive

  • Eat, drink and make phone calls BEFORE you drive
  • Leave early so you aren’t stressed
  • Be familiar with your vehicle’s instrumentation.
  • Check your route BEFORE leaving. Do not attempt to read a map while driving.
  • Attend to personal grooming BEFORE you drive.

Stay Focused and Pay Attention

  • Limit interaction with passengers.
  • Avoid the temptation to talk on the phone while driving
  • Never text while driving.
  • Keep our eyes on the road
  • Don’t take notes while driving. Find a safe place to stop before writing things down.

Avoid Driver Fatigue

  • Don’t drive if you are tired
  • If you begin to feel sleepy while driving, pull off the road in a safe place to rest
  • Share the driving responsibilities on long trips
  • Don’t daydream while driving

Don’t Drive When Angry or Upset

  • Avoid emotional conversations with passengers while driving
  • Pull over to the side of the road if you are too upset to drive

Drive Defensively

  • Avoid “rubbernecking” to look at crashes or other activities on the road
  • Always have an “out” and be prepared to use it
  • Keep a vigilant watch around the vehicle by shifting your eyes every few seconds and checking your rearview mirror
  • Use your signals early enough when turning and changing lanes
  • Be prepared for poor driving conditions

And NEVER drink and drive!

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