Spinal cord injuries often cause permanent damage leading to a loss in strength, sensation, and bodily functions. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCIS), there are 17,000 new cases of spinal cord injury every year. The leading cause of spinal cord injury are vehicular accidents, but falls, violence, sports, and medical accidents also contribute to the growing population of spinal cord injury victims. Although medicine is advancing at a tremendous rate, preventing spinal cord injuries are the most effective way to maintain spinal cord health.

Here are five simple steps to prevent spinal cord injuries:

Prevent Catastrophic Vehicular Accidents By Driving Safely

The National SCI Statistical Center estimates 38.4% of spinal cord injuries resulted from car crashes. Intuitively, using safe driving techniques greatly reduces the chance of spinal cord injury. This includes using the turn blinkers ahead of time, checking “blind” spots, and driving within the speed limit. Safe drivers are rewarded with fewer crashes and less chance for spinal cord injury.

Click It or Ticket

Seat belt laws are mandatory in all states, with the exception of New Hampshire. Using seat belts reduces chances for injuries related to car crashes. This especially applies to children in the car, and car seats should be used for children under the age of eight.

Maintain Sober Driving

All 50 states have harsh Driving Under the Influence (DUI) laws. Rightfully so, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), drivers are statistically three times more likely to crash while drunk than while sober. This means driving under the influence, whether it is alcohol or drugs, increases the chance of spinal cord injury.

Place Grip and Nonslip Pads in the Bathroom

Although vehicular crashes are the leading cause of spinal cord injury at 38.4%, falls are categorized at the second leading cause of spinal cord injury at 30.5% (NSCIS). Placing grips and nonslip pads in slippery areas, such as the bathroom, are effective measures to prevent spinal cord injuries for all ages. Protect your loved ones from falling by adhering to your home’s fall prevention guidelines.

Take Precautions When Engaging in Physical Activity

While physical activities are important for active, healthy lifestyles, precautions should be taken to prevent spinal cord injuries. Simple measures such as checking the water depth before diving head first into a pool, and wearing protective gear can prevent spinal cord injuries.