For About and By Caregivers
Practical Safety Tips for Avoiding Spinal Cord Injuries


Spinal Cord Injury Prevention Safety Tips

  • Always wear a seat belt.
  • Secure or buckle children into age- and weight-appropriate child safety seats. 
  • Secure or buckle children under 12 years old in the back seat to avoid air bag injuries. 
  • Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Do not ride in a car with a driver who is impaired by alcohol or drugs.
  • Prevent others from driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
  • Do not use a cell phone or any item that may be a distraction to your driving.

Sport Safety Tips

Sports and recreation activities are associated with approximately 18 percent of all SCIs. Below are safety tips to help make sports and recreation activities safer:

  • Always wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle, bike, skateboard, when skating, roller-skating or horseback riding.
  • Wear a helmet when playing football, ice hockey and running bases in baseball and softball.

Firearms are a leading cause of spinal cord injury (Berkowitz 1998). If you have firearms in your home, the following steps can make your home safer:

  • Keep firearms stored unloaded in a locked cabinet or safe.
  • Store bullets securely in a separate location (Mercy 2002).
  • Educate school coaches, community sports league officials and coaches, referees, public swimming organizations, and sports arena owners about the risks of spinal cord injuries during sports and recreational activities. For example, provide sessions for football coaches about proper tackling techniques and proper conditioning exercises for the neck, encourage referees to enforce tackling rules in your community leagues, and increase awareness among administrators and coaches about proper handling and evaluation of a player injured during practice or competition (CDC 1990).

Resources/Supportive Services

Spinal Cord Injury Network Hotline
A toll-free information and referral service to help paraplegics, quadriplegics, and their family members find the services they need to improve their quality of life.
Contact Information:
Phone: 800-548-2673
National Spinal Cord Injury Association (NSCIA)
NSCIA works to develop better programs and services and acts as a community advocate for improved access, housing, transportation, employment, and leisure time activities for persons with disabilities.
Contact Information:
National Office: 800-962-9629
Resource Center: 301-588-6959

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