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May is National Trauma Awareness Month – Distracted to Death: Pay Attention or Pay the Price

Trauma Awareness Month

The month of May is designated as National Trauma Awareness Month (NTAM) and various organizations have come together to develop injury prevention and trauma awareness materials for all.

This year’s focus is “Distracted to Death: Pay Attention or Pay the Price”.

Trauma is predictable and preventable, but what does that actually mean to us? Can we really do things that can change our risk of injury? If we can, what are examples of what is preventable? How can I implement in these practices into my daily life to keep myself and others safer?



Have you ever gotten in the car and driven to work when you were supposed to go to the store? How about forgetting the bank on the way home even with the checks sitting right there to remind you? We are all busier than ever, with multiple thoughts running through our minds at once and it is easy to lose our train of thought consistently. Add many devices and outside influences that distract us and it is easy to understand how one can be injured by this lack of attention.

Is lack of attention a distraction? “When people are distracted, they are not paying attention and fail to see the hazards, which can lead to injuries” (Morrison, 2013). Injuries are the leading cause of death and disability for our youngest citizens and time and time again we see that the injury could have been prevented if the person had been paying better attention.

So, what is a distraction? Our thoughts jump immediately to our phones, including:

  • Texting while driving
  • Texting while walking
  • Just the phone itself


Think Again:

Distractions involve more than just cell phones. The multitasking brain can get in the way. Distractions pose a threat when someone forgets a child in the car, leaves the gate left open to a pool area, takes their eyes off the child in the bathtub, misses the crosswalk and signal as a pedestrian, or leaves their bag on a hot stove-top. We are all at risk in every part of our lives.


It is an opportunity to look globally at how people are injured and work to make meaningful changes.

For more information please visit: National Trauma Awareness Month 2020

For additional resources please visit: American Trauma Society