Nebraska Injury Prevention and Control News
    Issue #72                                                    July 2017
Injury Prevention in the News

New Study Demonstrates the Importance of Child Safety Restraints 

Forty-three percent of children who died in car crashes were not correctly restrained, according to a new study in The Journal of Pediatrics. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration all children under 13 should ride in the back seat, Find the full report and additional tips the agency recommends here.

 Never Leave a Child Alone in a Car

Every year, 36 children die of vehicular heatstroke. Vehicular heatstroke can happen anywhere, even in as temperatures as low as 60 degrees. It can happen quickly, with cars reaching deadly temperatures after only 10 minutes on an 80 degree day. 

Read the news story from CNN

View the CSN Info graphic on heatstroke

New Antihistamine Warning for Parents

A new study found that over-the-counter drugs have been linked to at least four child deaths. 

Watch the report here

Upcoming Events
  Concussion Assessment and Management Symposium
July 17, 2017  |  8 am - 5:30 pm

Concussion assessment and management is an evolving science and can provide unique challenges to healthcare providers.  Having a strong understanding of evidence-based (EB) assessment and treatment options is vital for practitioners in the field, which can be challenging in this quickly evolving environment.  This symposium will provide an overview of the current concussion research in a variety of clinical disciplines, and will emphasize the utility of interdisciplinary care in EB concussion care.  This symposium will also emphasize practical application, and will provide multiple case presentations to demonstrate the efficacy of the various EB assessment and treatment modalities covered.  

2017 Child Passenger Safety Trainings
Are you interested in helping parents and care givers of children with their car seats? If you are, then sign up for one of the child passenger safety technician courses listed below. Space is limited to 20 participants per class. Visit the National CPS certification website to  find out more about what a CPS does.    

Omaha, September 6-9, 2017

Now open for online registration.

Lincoln, September 20-23, 2017

Now open for online registration.

Safe Kids Nebraska

 Coordinating a Play Date

According to Dr. Jamie Friedman nearly one and a half million children live in a home with a loaded, unlocked gun.  Friedman prompts parents to ask specific questions before sending your child on a play date. Learn more about Friedman's ASK Day (June 21) that is meant to build awareness around guns in homes. 

Heat Stroke Awareness

Since 1998, 701 children have died due to heatstroke after being left or trapped in a hot vehicle. Learn the facts and follow these tips so you can protect your family.
Fire Works Safety    
According to  Safe Kids, more than 3,000 children under the age of 15 are sent to the emergency room each year in the U.S. because of fireworks. Sparklers account for 1/3 of the injuries to children under 5. If you decide to use fireworks at your home here are a few tips:

- Closely supervise children around fireworks at all times.
- Sparklers can heat up to 1,200 degrees. Provide glow sticks as a substitute to sparklers for young children. 
- Have a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher nearby. 
Motor Vehicle Safety

Teens in the Driver Seat Application Available

Teens in the Driver Seat (TDS) is the nation’s first widespread, grassroots, peer-to-peer school-based program focused exclusively on teen driver safety. The TDS program is designed to address both teen awareness and behavior by turning peer pressure in a positive and productive direction. TDS focuses on the top five risks for teen drivers: 

•Night time driving
•Low seat belt use

Interested in becoming a Teens in the Driver Seat school and making a difference in your community? Fill out the 2017-2018 TDS Application. This program is free to Nebraska schools.

  Older Adult Falls 

Nutrition for Preventing Falls

Research has identified many conditions that contribute to falling. One risk factor that can be changed or modified is Vitamin D deficiency (not enough vitamin D in your system)

Vitamin D is a nutrient to maintain strong bones (along with Calcium) and to help muscles move. People who get too little vitamin D may develop soft, thin, brittle bones and muscle weakness, which can contribute to falls and fractures.  Research shows that Vitamin D helps to reduce falls in older adults, especially those at risk for falling.
  • Our diets usually do not supply enough Vitamin D for our needs.
  • Aging decreases the ability to make Vitamin D from the sun.
  • Talk with your healthcare provider about Vitamin D testing (it’s a simple blood test).
  • If Vitamin D is recommended, be sure you know what type to take and the amount.
  • The American Geriatrics Society Recommendation for Vitamin D supplements is at least 800 IU per day for older persons but, your doctor may recommend more.
  • Talk with your pharmacist about interaction of Vitamin D with medicines you are currently taking.

Calcium is a key nutrient for healthy bones, strength and structure.  99% of the body’s calcium is stored in the bones.  When there is not enough calcium in the diet, other organs and muscles take it from the bones.  Over time, a deficiency of calcium can result in bone loss and contribute to osteoporosis.  Getting the recommended amount of calcium and vitamin D can help to increase bone strength at any age.
  • The recommended FDA for women over the age of 50 is 1200 milligrams (mg) of calcium.
  • For men up to age 70, it is 1000 mg
  • For men over age 70, it is 1200 mg
  • Dairy products such as yogurt, milk, and hard cheeses are good sources of calcium.
  • Check in with your doctor to see if you are deficient in calcium and need to take a supplement.  

For more important facts about falls click here

Tai chi: Moving for Better Balance Program

Fifteen new Nebraska Tai chi Instructors were recently certified to teach the 8-form Tai chi: Moving for Better Balance Program. Individuals from Local Health Departments, Area Agencies on Aging, County Hospitals, YMCA’s, Community Colleges, and Senior Centers attended the two-day instructor training held in Hastings. Instructors returned to their communities to lead or co-teach twelve-week Tai chi classes for older Nebraskans. For more information about Tai chi: Moving for Better Balance contact

                             Stepping On - Building Confidence and Reducing Falls 

Six new Stepping On - Building Confidence and Reducing Falls facilitators were certified following a three day training at the Seward Lied Senior Center on April 25, 26 and 27, 2017. These energetic and dedicated individuals returned to the Fairfield, Grant and Wisner areas ready to get important fall prevention information out to people in their communities. We now have almost forty trained Stepping On facilitators throughout Nebraska. For more information about Stepping On contact Peggy Apthorpe at Aging Partners

CDC Traumatic Brain Injury Resources

CDC defines a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or penetrating head injury. Everyone is at risk for a TBI, especially children and older adults.

CDC's research and programs work to prevent TBIs and help people recognize, respond, and recover if a TBI occurs.

Prescription Drug Overdose
Nebraska DHHS Receives $2 million Grant 

Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services received a $2 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for opioid response. The grant, awarded to the Division of Behavioral Health, may be renewed in 2018 for the same amount.

“We know the consequences of prescription drug misuse and abuse can be devastating and Nebraska is not immune,” said Governor Pete Ricketts. “The opioid epidemic is taking hold across the country, but we have an opportunity to be proactive, focus on prevention and treatment and raise awareness now to help stop opioid abuse from reaching crisis levels here.”    The grant is part of the 21st Century Cures Act. States and territories were awarded funds based on rates of overdose deaths and unmet need for opioid addiction treatment.

“Sadly, opioid-related deaths are happening in Nebraska,” said Courtney Phillips, Chief Executive Officer of DHHS. “Our divisions are working together to address this issue head on. Prescription drug overdose prevention is an agency priority and the goal of our efforts is to help improve health outcomes and save lives.”

 SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment and Center for Substance Abuse Prevention will fund Nebraska’s 2017 State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grant. The program aims to address the opioid crisis by increasing access to treatment, reducing unmet treatment need, and reducing opioid overdose related deaths through the provision of prevention, treatment and recovery activities for opioid use disorder (including prescription opioids as well as illicit drugs such as heroin.)

 “This grant provides critical funding to provide targeted training on the complexities of opioid use and to invest in evidence-based prevention and treatment interventions. These solutions will arm Nebraska to prevent opioid abuse in our state,” said Sheri Dawson, Director of the Division of Behavioral Health.

These efforts are part of DHHS’ prescription drug overdose prevention initiatives which also include creating awareness about expanded access to naloxone, a drug that can be given to people experiencing an opioid-related overdose.

A law passed in 2015 allows health professionals to prescribe, administer, or dispense naloxone to persons experiencing an opioid-related overdose or to a family member or friend in a position to assist such individuals. The law also authorizes emergency responders and peace officers to administer naloxone to people experiencing this type of overdose. DHHS is working with the Nebraska State Patrol to help provide naloxone to NSP drug investigators, evidence technicians and crime lab staff.

“Naloxone is a safe and effective antidote to opioid-related overdoses. It’s a critical tool in preventing an overdose from becoming fatal,” said Dr. Tom Williams, Chief Medical Officer and Director of Public Health for DHHS.

“The reason why naloxone is so important is because only a minute amount of some opioid drugs like fentanyl can have a lethal effect on those exposed,” said Col. Brad Rice, Superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol. “Opioid-related deaths are at an all-time high nationwide and we are preparing ourselves to respond to an exposure event that may affect citizens and public safety personnel alike.” 

DHHS is also working with pharmacists, physicians and EMS providers to create educational resources and training on naloxone as well as an information campaign geared toward the public about access and use of the medication.

Fast facts about prescription drug use, abuse and deaths in Nebraska:
  • In 2015, 149 Nebraskans died of a drug overdose, and at least 54 were opioid related.
  • Data shows a slight increase in opioid-related deaths in Nebraska over the last decade from 2.4 per 100,000 people in 2005 to 3.0 per 100,000 in 2015.
  • Nebraska’s drug overdose death rate has also increased – 8.0 overdose deaths for every 100,000 people in 2015 up from 3.6 in 2004. The U.S. drug overdose death rate per 100,000 people was 14.7 in 2014 versus 9.3 in 2004.

DHHS already received just over $3.5 million in federal funding to help advance opioid prevention. In addition to naloxone efforts, DHHS in conjunction with the Nebraska Health Information Initiative launched an enhanced prescription drug monitoring program Jan. 1, 2017 for health care professionals who prescribe and dispense medications. Now dispensed prescriptions for controlled substances must be reported to the PDMP and providers have access to patients’ controlled substance medication histories. The PDMP is an effective tool that prescribers and dispensers can use to make more informed decisions for patient care. Additional enhancements to the PDMP are on the way. Starting Jan. 1, 2018, all dispensed prescriptions will be reported into the system.

DHHS and partners are also developing opioid prescribing guidelines and increasing provider and patient education.


Think Before You Drink

“Worldwide there are approximately 5.2 million deaths from injuries every year” (WHO, 2017). “Globally alcohol causes 3.2% of all deaths or 1.8 million deaths annually and accounts for 4.0% of disease burden” (WHO, 2017). More alarmingly even with these statistics people continue to succumb to injuries while under the influence of alcohol.

Alcohol is a drug, classified as a depressant. Side effects include: slurred speech, unsteady movements, disturbed perceptions and the inability to react quickly (, 2017). The amount of alcohol consumed has direct correlation with the intensity of the affects, hence the more consumed the more impaired or depressed one becomes.
  Summertime is a great time to spend time with family and friends, vacation and have fun.  While alcohol is often included in these activities, it’s important for consumers to understand their limitations, and practice safe alcohol consumption.  For more information regarding safe alcohol consumption and injury prevention visit or contact Crystal Dailey RN, Trauma Nurse Specialist, 402-289-7431 or 
Quick Links
Contact Information

Peg Ogea-Ginsburg, MA                  
Injury Prevention Program Coordinator   

Jason Kerkman, MPH 
Safe Kids Nebraska Coordinator 

Amy Reynoldson
Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention Coordinator

Jeanne Bietz, MA                                             Motor Vehicle Policy Grant Project Coordinator

Ashley Newmyer, MPH, CPH
Epidemiology Surveillance Coordinator

Felicia Quintana-Zinn, MS, MBA
Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention Epidemiologist

Celeste Reker, MPH                                                 Crash Outcome Data Evaluation Data Analyst

Injury Prevention and Control E-News is a monthly newsletter distributed to partners of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Injury Prevention and Control Program.