Nationwide Provokes Awareness for Preventable Injuries to Children!

Accident - 5

Written by Veronika Bradley, Editor for Children’s Health and Safety Association – February 24, 2015 and Republished by Diligencia Investigative Reporting – April 2019

Every child safety organization on this earth will tell you that communication is the primary method in raising awareness on preventable injuries to children.  That’s just what Nationwide accomplished – to the tune of approximately 115 million viewers.

Nationwide Insurance received quite the histrionic reaction when its #MakeSafeHappen campaign, an intrepid plea for public awareness about children’s preventable injuries, aired during the second quarter of Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday, February 1st, 2015.  If the ad provoked you in anyway, it achieved its intent.

Every child who died from a preventable injury would be standing up and applauding in support of Nationwide’s courageous endeavour to attain global awareness – and so are we.  For this reason, Nationwide wins our vote of approval!

Preventable injuries remain the leading cause of death worldwide among children according to the Canadian Paediatric Society.  2000 children and youth die from preventable injuries everyday, countless more require hospitalization - and some sustain lifelong disabilities. 

By 2020, analytical and statistical data project that 8.4 million deaths caused by injury will occur annually compared to 5 million in 1990, making injury the greatest single cause of loss of life – especially among children and adolescents.

The following recommendations, excerpted from The Canadian Paediatric Society, advise health professionals and all levels of government to work together to reduce the burden of child and youth injury in Canada by:

  • Investing in a pan-Canadian Injury Prevention (IP) strategy that includes leadership, policy coordination, research, surveillance, public education and social marketing.
  • Supporting the development of a national IP body to help implement this strategy and to coordinate IP activities by stakeholders across the country.
  • Educating the public about injury risk, and influencing behaviour change through social marketing and school-based curriculums.
  • Influencing and implementing best practice, evidence-informed legislation and policies that support IP, and harmonized across all jurisdictions addressing the social determinants of health associated with injury risk (eg, alcohol and substance abuse).
  • Enforcing existing IP legislation and regulations.
  • Creating safer, supervised environments for children and youth to live, learn, play and travel.

Sustaining and advancing current and new injury surveillance, including:

  • out-patient injuries (eg, the Canadian Hospital Injury Reporting and Prevention Program, and the National Ambulatory Care Reporting System),
  • hospitalized trauma patients (eg, the National Trauma Registry), and
  • trauma deaths (eg, a national medical examiner’s death database).

Sustaining and advancing current and new IP research programs.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that preventable injury is the “number one killer” of children and teens in the United States.”  Nearly 9 million children require medical attention in emergency departments for injuries every year. In 2010, more than 9,000 infants, children and adolescents from birth to 19 years of age died from unintentional injuries. While child injury is predictable and preventable, it is one of the most under-recognized public health problems facing the United States today. 

  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injury death
  • Suffocation is the biggest risk of injury death for infants
  • Drowning is the leading cause of injury death for children from one to 4 years of age
  • Fires, burns and falls are other common causes for all age groups

According to the World Health Organization's 2008 World Report for Preventable Injuries:

950,000 children aged 17 and under were killed by an injury and 87% of these were due to unintentional and preventable causes.

If countries with a healthy GDP implemented programs and policies using proven-effective interventions in preventing injuries to children, more than 1,000 lives would be saved every day. Sweden adopted strong injury prevention programs and policies several decades ago and now it has the lowest injury rate in the world.  The report also stated that if Canada received the same child injury rate as Sweden from 1991 to 1995:

  • 1,233 children would not have died
  • 23,000 to 50,000 would not have been hospitalized
  • More than 250,000 children would not have visited emergency departments

In response to the backlash, Nationwide issued the following press release on its website titled, “Nationwide Responds to Super Bowl Reaction.”

"Preventable injuries around the home are the leading cause of childhood deaths in America. Most people don’t know that.

Nationwide ran an ad during the Super Bowl that started a fierce conversation. The sole purpose of this message was to start a conversation, not sell insurance. We want to build awareness of an issue that is near and dear to all of us - the safety and well being of our children.

We knew the ad would spur a variety of reactions. In fact, thousands of people visited, a new website to help educate parents and caregivers with information and resources in an effort to make their homes safer and avoid a potential injury or death. Nationwide has been working with experts for more than 60 years to make homes safer. While some did not care for the ad, we hope it served to begin a dialogue to make safe happen for children everywhere."

On February 26th, 2015, child safety organizations in the United States announced they are joining Nationwide to form the ‘Make Safe Happen Advisory Council’ to help reduce deaths among children caused by preventable injuries. The first item on the agenda will be to build an action plan based on a new Safe Kids Worldwide study, made possible by funding from Nationwide. The council will develop new ways to communicate so parents and caregivers can increase safety measures in their homes.


  1. I would like to voice my affection for your kind-heartedness and amazing research in trying to educate parents about children’s preventable accidents. Your tenacious commitment in getting the message out there has truly encouraged me and my colleagues. Many thanks from all of us.


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