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It has been more than three months since the decision was made to expand the journal to injuries of all ages. As a pediatrician who spends at least half of his research time focused on injuries in adults, I fully support this decision by the editor, the editorial board, and the BMJ Publishing Group. Change, while never easy, can be a learning experience. What can those of us who work in the child and adolescent injury prevention field learn from our “adult” colleagues and what do they have to learn from us?
Much of the research and intervention programs discussed in these pages have focused on injuries to children and little, especially relative to its importance, has focused on adolescents. The addition of a readership and authors interested in injuries to adults should enhance the amount of information relevant to adolescents. Many risk factors for injuries in young adults also operate in later adolescence, and many prevention programs will be equally applicable to youth from adolescence to adulthood. For example, most studies that have examined the role of substance abuse in injuries have focused on injuries in adults. Nearly all the studies and trials of brief interventions for substance abuse have also focused on this age group, and have found that such programs can reduce drinking and decrease the risk of injury recidivism.1,2 Injury control programs for adolescents have much to learn from these “adult” interventions.
Other types of injury problems, while much more common in adults, are nevertheless frequent and serious in children and adolescents. Firearm related injuries are one example; in the US, most deaths due to firearms occur in adults.3 Yet, interventions for these injury problems can potentially affect people of all ages, even if they are focused on a certain age group. Reducing …