Spring and summer months often mean a more active lifestyle for families. The Division of Public Health encourages Delawareans to be active and have fun, but also be smart and protect yourself and loved ones from injury.

Unintentional injuries — such as those caused by falls, traffic incidents, burns, drowning, and poisoning — are the leading cause of death and injury in Delaware and the U.S.

Lives are changed forever by injuries, many of which could have been prevented or made less serious by using injury prevention measures on a regular basis.

Things like adult supervision when swimming, biking or playing, always using a car seat or seatbelt, wearing a helmet while biking, roller skating or skateboarding and avoiding unknown animals can protect our children. And keeping children away from fireworks, matches, hot stoves, and chemicals can prevent life-threatening burns and poisoning.

Delaware Trauma System Registry 2013 statistics show 586 Delaware children and adolescents were injured seriously enough to require hospitalization. Injuries due to transportation are the leading cause of injury-related death for children. There are also a substantial number of pedestrian and cycling deaths, and drowning is the leading cause of injury death for children ages 1 to 4.

The good news is that national death rates among children and adolescents declined nearly 30 percent in the last decade, according to the CDC. This is a success story showing that injury prevention programs and policies are making a difference and saving lives. But there is still much work to do in continuing to save the lives of children.

The Division of Public Health encourages everyone to take an active role in injury prevention for the youth of Delaware.