Physical Safety

Background

Safety is the state of being "safe", the condition of being protected from harm or other non-desirable outcomes. Safety can also refer to the control of recognized hazards in order to achieve an acceptable level of risk. Physical safety refers to the absence of harm or injury that can be experienced by any person. Physical safety can only be established when also providing psychological and emotional safety. A safe physical environment is crucial to an individual's health and well-being. Creating practices, guidelines, policies, and training are ways the Greater Nashua Public Health Region (GNPHR) can ensure physical safety within our community.

Physical Safety Data Overview

Check out the points below for the main takeaways from this page. 

• In 2019, 5% of students in the GNPHR texted and drove every day of the month. 10% of students texted and drove once or twice a month. 2.7% of students in the GNPHR drank alcohol and drove one or more times. 

• In 2019, 26.6% of students in the GNPHR never wore a helmet while riding a bike, and 1.2% of students never wore a seatbelt while driving a car. 

• In 2018, 50% of crimes in Nashua were crimes against property, 24% were crimes against society, and 25% were crimes against persons. 

• In 2019, female students in the GNPHR were significantly more likely to experience sexual assault compared to male students. In 2019, 16% of female students experienced at least one instance of being forced to do something sexual that they did not want to do. This is compared to 2.2% of male students. Approximately half of these instances occur with someone the student is dating. 

• In 2019, 16.6% of students in the GNPHR seriously considered attempting suicide in the past 12 months, 13.3% made a suicide plan, and 5.5% actually attempted suicide. 

Road & Traffic Safety

Automobile crashes are a leading cause of death among those one to 54 years of age in the U.S. Each year, over 30k individuals die from automobile crashes. In 2013, crash deaths resulted in a cost of $44 billion, including medical and work loss costs as well as the immeasurable burden on the families and friends of those involved.

Youth Road & Traffic Safety

The number one threat to the safety of teens is driving or riding in a car with a teen driver.

Every hour, approximately 150 children 19 years of age and younger are treated in emergency rooms for injuries related to automobile crashes. More children five to 19 years of age die from crash-related injuries than from any other type of injury. In 2016, more than 2.4k teens lost their lives in automobile crashes in the U.S. Young adult drivers and passengers between the ages of 18 to 24 have the highest crash-related non-fatal injury rates of all adults (CDC). Driving distracted or under the influence of drugs and alcohol is a serious public health problem that needs to be addressed to ensure the health and safety of everyone on the road. We all want to keep the children in our community safe and secure in order to help them achieve a life at their full potential. Knowing how to prevent leading causes of child injury is a step toward this goal. 

Distracted Driving

Texting while driving is dangerous because it combines visual, manual, and cognitive distraction. When you send or read a text message, you take your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds, long enough to cover the length a football field while driving at 55 mph. In 2015, 391k people were injured in automobile crashes involving a distracted driver. In 2016, 3,450 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver (CDC).

Impaired Driving

Every 50 minutes, someone in the U.S. dies from automobile crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver. The annual cost of these crashes is more than $44 billion. In 2018, 12 million Americans 16 years of age and older reported driving under the influence of marijuana. That same year, 2.3 million reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs other than marijuana during the past 12 months. 

Prevention

Using a seat belt use is one of the most effective ways to save lives and reduce injuries in automobile crashes. More than half of adults 18 to 44 years of age who died in automobile crashes in 2016 were not restrained by a seat belt at the time of the crash (CDC). In the U.S., the use of seat belts while riding in an automobile is a social norm. Although NH is the only state in the U.S. that has no law requiring the use of seat belts in individuals 18 years of age or older, 69% of drivers and front seat passengers report wearing seat belts in 2012. 

Crime & Violence

Crime and violence is a serious public health problem that can affect anyone at all stages of life. 

Individuals can be exposed to violence in a variety of ways, including being directly victimized, witnessing violence, witnessing crimes in their community, and/or hearing about crime and violence form others or the news. Violence can lead to premature death and non-fatal injuries as many people who survive violence suffer from physical, mental, and/or emotional health problems throughout the rest of their lives. 

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence affects millions of individuals throughout the U.S. 

Over 43 million women and 38 million men experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime (CDC). Domestic violence is abuse or aggression occurring within a relationship. This violence might happen one time or happen many times over a period of years. Approximately one in four women and one in 10 men have experienced sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime and reported at least one impact of the violence, including concerns for their safety.

Domestic Violence Starts Early

Teen dating violence is a risk factor for intimate partner violence later on in adulthood. Approximately one in 11 female and one in 15 male high school students report having experienced physical dating violence and one in 9 female and one in 36 male high school students report having experienced sexual dating violence within the last year (CDC). Exposure to violence in childhood can lead to greater risk for substance use, risky sexual behavior, and unsafe driving behavior in adulthood.

All forms of domestic violence are preventable. 

Strategies that promote healthy, respectful, and nonviolent relationships are an important part of this prevention. Programs that focus on teaching young people healthy relationship skills such as communication, effectively managing feelings, and problem-solving can work to prevent domestic violence (CDC).

Youth Safety

Youth violence is a leading cause of death and injuries of young people between the ages of 10 and 24 in the U.S. (CDC). It can take different forms, such as fighting, bullying, threats with weapons, and gang-related violence. Studies have shown that physical safety is related to higher academic performance, fewer risky behaviors, and lower dropout rates (AIR). When students are less fearful and do not worry about their safety at school, they are able to better connect and care about their education. 


Bullying & Mental Health

Bullying can affect physical and emotional health, both in the short and long term, and can lead to physical injury, social and emotional problems, and even death. Children who are bullied are at increased risk for mental health disorders, long-term damage to self-esteem, substance use, academic problems, and violence. To learn more, visit our Healthy Kids page.

Physical Safety at School

Physical safety in school setting refers to the protection of families, caregivers, students, school staff, and the broader community, from violence, theft, and exposure to weapons and threats. In the 2017 to 2018 school year, approximately 38.5 million U.S. public school students (78%) were enrolled in a school where a violent incident occurred (NCES). Although schools are generally safe havens for learning, unintentional injuries and violence can occur. Students need to feel safe to learn. Violence in the school setting can disrupt the educational process and negatively affect students, the school, and the greater community. 


Unintentional Injuries

Most childhood injuries can be prevented.

Injuries are the leading cause of death in children 19 years of age and younger. Parents and caregivers play a life-saving role in protecting children from injury. In the GNPHR, we work together to keep our children safe and secure, allowing them to live life to their full potential. Knowing how to prevent leading causes of childhood injury is a step toward this goal.

Drowning Prevention

Drownings are a leading cause of injury death for children one to 14 years of age. Drowning kills more children one to four years of age than anything except birth defects. Approximately three children die each day in the U.S. due to drowning.

Fall Prevention

Falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries for children 19 years of age and younger. Each day, approximately 8k children in the U.S. are treated for fall-related injuries, adding up to 2.8 million children each year.

Poisoning Prevention

Each day, over 300 children 19 years of age and younger in the U.S. are treated due to being poisoned. Items in your home, such as cleaners and medicines, can poison children. A common cause of poisoning is unsupervised ingestions.

For more information on preventing childhood injury, visit the CDC.

Workplace Injuries

Workplace injuries have human & economic impact for employers, workers, & communities. 

Tracking injury-related data in the workplace over time can show improvement in workplace safety. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there was a total of 5,250 fatal workplace injuries in 2018. In 2017, 18.4k workers in the private industry experienced trauma from non-fatal workplace violence in 2017, all requiring days away from work. 

Health Equity & Physical Safety

A person's health can be seriously impacted by their race, ethnicity, gender, income level, education, and other socioeconomic factors. In regards to physical safety..

• Public attention on the use of lethal force by law enforcement perpetuated in minority communities has surged in recent years following multiple high-profile cases involving the killings of unarmed black men and youth by police. Concern over these cases fueled nationwide protests in 2015 and in 2020, including some incidents of civil unrest and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. Protests have arisen throughout U.S. history in response to concerns about police use of force, often with long-term health and economic consequences for affected communities. In addition to issues of racial and social inequality, concerns about the risk to vulnerable populations have also been raised. 

• Findings from the National Violent Death Reporting System found that victims of lethal force by law enforcement are disproportionately Black with a fatality rate 2.8 times higher among Blacks than Whites (NCBI).

• Gender-based violence impacts the lives of countless women and their families across the United States. Women and girls of all ages, income levels, racial and ethnic communities, sexual orientations and religious affiliations experience violence in the form of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, trafficking and stalking. Gender-based violence occurs at disparate rates and with disproportionate impacts for women of color (YWCA).

• Nearly one in four women in New Hampshire has been sexually assaulted (New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence).

• At least a third of New Hampshire women have been the victim of a physical assault by an intimate partner (New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence).

• More than half of all women in New Hampshire have experienced sexual and/or physical assault over the course of their lifetime (New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence).

• 21 to 55 percent of Asian and Pacific Islander women report experiencing intimate physical and/or sexual violence during their lifetime (YWCA).

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