A safe neighborhood begins with a healthy home. A healthy home can support wellness, while preventing disease and injury. The Ohio Department of Health’s Healthy Homes Program is a great resource for families to take steps to make sure their home is a place that creates health, not disease.
Preventing and reversing obesity depends on our communities supporting active living outdoors. Children need safe places to be active and appropriate safety equipment to increase activity levels without increasing injuries.
One strategy to increase physical activity for children is to ensure they can walk or ride bicycles to school. If streets lack well-maintained sidewalks, safe intersections and street crossings, or these are not accessible to everyone, children have fewer opportunities to be active. Crime rates and violence also impact children’s ability to be active in their neighborhoods.
Neighborhoods with parks and open places for play (such as unlocked and well-maintained school playgrounds) have children who are more active and have lower rates of obesity. But if parents do not feel safe in their neighborhoods, they are less likely to allow their children to play outside.
Kids who are active also need appropriate safety equipment, such as bicycle or sports helmets, and supervision to keep them playing and injury free.
On average, nearly 11 Ohio youths were treated in emergency departments each day for sports and recreation (bicycles, skateboards, roller blades, etc.) traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) from 2002 to 2009. Emergency department visits for just sports-related TBIs among Ohio youth increased by 142 percent during this time.
To assist communities in the prevention of these serious injuries, the Ohio Department of Health Violence and Injury Prevention Program provides funding to local programs to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety and decrease sports-related injury among youth in their areas.
The Ohio Injury Prevention Partnership (OIPP) Child Injury Action Group (CIAG) also works to affect policy change to help keep children safe and healthy while they play. The CIAG is currently supporting bicycle helmet and sports-related TBI prevention efforts. The CIAG is working to develop a network of advocates to assist these efforts. Parents remain the best advocate for their children.
Visit the Safe Neighborhoods Resources page for additional information on creating healthy and safe environment for all Ohioans.
Last Reviewed 4/10/12