Preventing unintentional injuries in the home using the Health Impact Pyramid

Health Educ Behav. 2015 Apr;42(1 Suppl):115S-122S. doi: 10.1177/1090198114568306.


Injuries continue to be the leading cause of death for the first four decades of life. These injuries result from a confluence of behavioral, physical, structural, environmental, and social factors. Taken together, these illustrate the importance of taking a broad and multileveled approach to injury prevention. Using examples from fall, fire, scald, and poisoning-related injuries, this article illustrates the utility of an approach that incorporates a social-environmental perspective in identifying and selecting interventions to improve the health and safety of individuals. Injury prevention efforts to prevent home injuries benefit from multilevel modifications of behavior, public policy, laws and enforcement, the environment, consumer products and engineering standards, as demonstrated with Frieden's Health Impact Pyramid. A greater understanding, however, is needed to explain the associations between tiers. While interventions that include modifications of the social environment are being field-tested, much more work needs to be done in measuring social-environmental change and in evaluating these programs to disentangle what works best.

Keywords: Health Impact Pyramid; falls; fire; injury prevention; poisonings.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Home / prevention & control*
  • Age Factors
  • Building Codes
  • Burns / prevention & control
  • Fires / prevention & control
  • Health Education / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Poisoning / prevention & control
  • Risk Factors
  • Safety*
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Change
  • Social Environment
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control*