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Definitions, Inclusion Criteria, & Category Content


Any unintentional or intentional damage to the body resulting from acute exposure to thermal, mechanical, electrical, or chemical energy or from the absence of essentials such as heat or oxygen.

How is SafetyLit content selected?

For SafetyLit content, we focus upon injuries that occur during a short period of time, as opposed to the effects of repeated exposures to chemical agents or cumulative damage from repetitive motions. The SafetyLit vision is to include every article relevant to injury prevention and safety promotion that is published in any journal with text or abstract in English.

The headings (defined below) under which the summaries are categorized are not intended to be exhaustive or mutually exclusive. They were selected to make it convenient for readers who have an interest limited to one or two specialties.

SafetyLit includes summaries of reports about injury occurrence and risk factors. Articles are considered relevant if they concern any of the pre-event or event elements of the Haddon Matrix; the epidemiology of injury; or the financial, personal, or societal costs or consequences of the any injury or risk factor. Articles concerning treatment for injuries or complications of medical care are excluded except when the article also contains information on one of the inclusion criteria. We also include reports on other topics that may help a reader to make decisions about research or prevention strategies and priorities.

The criteria for selecting report for inclusion are simple. If the answer to any of the following questions is "yes", then the report is likely to be included:

  • Do the SafetyLit reviewers find the report interesting?
  • Are SafetyLit readers likely to hear of a report from a colleague and want to respond knowledgeably?
  • Are SafetyLit readers likely to be questioned about the report from a member of the population they serve?
  • Does the report contain findings that are likely to be used by an adversary to oppose the actions or recommendations of a SafetyLit reader?

Reports summarized in each SafetyLit Update are NOT screened for quality. Even when we believe that there are methodological errors that effect the research findings or when we disagree with the implications, we attempt to provide an objective summary of the report. Material in the 'comments' section of each report's summary is provided by the author(s) of the report -- not by SafetyLit.

Age Group Categories

No concrete cut-points were established as formal criteria to classify a report into the Age Group categories. Reports are subjectively assigned to these categories.

Alcohol & Other Drugs

The use of alcohol and other drugs is associated with injury occurrence through several pathways. This section includes reports that address the effect of drugs, both licit and illicit, on human performance and psychology. Reports concerning the prevention or detection of alcohol and drug abuse in the context of safety are also included.

Burns, Scalds, Fire

Burns are injuries to tissues caused by heat, friction, radiation, electricity, or chemicals. Scalds are a type of burn caused by hot liquid or gas. This section includes reports that address the occurrence and prevention of these injuries.


This section includes editorials and some cross-cutting review articles on topics that address multiple SafetyLit categories.

Community-Based Prevention

This section includes reports on community-based prevention activities that cross multiple SafetyLit categories.

Disaster Preparedness

This section includes reports on the effects of man-made or natural disasters and on planning to minimize those effects. The effectiveness of local, state, and national plans and partnerships to respond to a crisis are included. Reports that describe disaster relief, disaster response and lessons learned are also included.

Distraction, Fatigue, Chronobiology, Vigilance, Workload

This section includes reports that describe the effect of factors such as fatigue, mental distraction, boredom, work overload, calendar and time-of-day on injury risk and occurrence.


This section includes drowning (i.e., death by suffocation in water or another liquid) and near drowning. Reports that address preventive measures are included.

Economics of Injury and Safety, PTSD, Injury Outcomes

This section includes reports on the medical care and rehabilitation costs of injury, the costs of implementing safety measures, the short- and long-term emotional impact of injury, and metrics of injury disability.

Egress, Escape, Crowds

Structures and areas must be designed to enable the orderly and rapid evacuation of small or large numbers of occupants. Occupants must be able to detect a need to leave, know the path to safety, and not be harmed because of a panic response. This category includes reports that address these issues.

Engineering, Physics, Structural Soundness and Failure

This section includes reports of a more technical nature that concern the integrity of structures, vehicles, and materials.

Environmental Issues, Climate, Geophysics

This section includes reports of the effect of the weather, storms, climate, and ambient temperature on the risk or occurrence of injury. Also included are reports of things such as earthquakes, mudslides, avalanches, volcanic activity, tsunamis, etc.

Ergonomics, Human Factors, Anthropometrics

This section includes reports on human capabilities and on the effect of physical size and strength on the ability to interact with objects and structures safely. Issues of physical development in children and changes due to the aging process are included here. Issues of emotional development are included under the category 'Risk perception & risk communication'.


Includes: 1) slips, trips, and other "underfoot incidents" and related surface issues; 2) falls from a height; and reports of prevention or mitigation issues.

Home & Consumer Product Issues

This section includes reports on injuries and injury risks that occur at home or that are related to consumer products whether or not they are used at home.

Media Issues

Includes reports concerning the impact of computer games, the Internet, movies, music, newspapers, radio, and television upon safety and risk behavior.

Non-Human Animals and Insects

Includes bites, animal movements, trampling, animals in the road. Reports concerning envenomations may also be included under Poisoning.

Occupational Issues

This section includes reports on occupational or work-related injuries and related prevention strategies. Also included are reports on occupational safety hazards, industrial safety regulations and legislation.

Pedestrian & Bicycle Issues

Reports related to vehicle and non-vehicle related pedestrian and bicycle injuries are included in this section, along with educational and training programs associated with reducing these types of injuries. Also included are reports related to bicycle helmet use.


This category concerns the effects of acute exposure to toxic substances, poison control centers or systems, protective containers and poison warning labels.

Protective Headgear

Includes: bicycle, recreation, sports, and work helmets. Also includes issues of eye protection, mouth guards, etc.

Program Evaluation

Includes formal evaluations of programs, projects, and other interventions.

Recreation & Sports Issues

Reports concerning all recreation and sports-related injuries are included in this section. Included are reports on the use of safety equipment/protective gear while engaging in recreational or sports type activities.

Research Methods, Surveillance & Codes, Models

This section includes technical reports that describe research methodologies related to injury and violence prevention, injury surveillance methods, injury-related coding and reporting issues, and injury prevention and risk models.

Risk Factor Prevalence, Injury Occurrence

This section includes reports that discuss risk factors, prevalence and frequencies of injuries, mechanisms of injury, geographic variations, etc.

Risk perception & Communication, Warnings, Operating and Assembly Instructions

This category includes reports that address developmental, psychological, and societal factors that concern the perception of risk. Also includes are reports on the effectiveness of warning labels, signs, and alarms; and instruction for assembly, use, or operation of tools, products, or equipment.

Rural & agricultural issues

Reports concerning injuries occurring in rural, agricultural, or farm settings are included in this section.

School Issues

This section includes reports concerning injury and violence prevention in schools. Included in this section are reports on bullying.

Sensing and Response Issues

The abilities to detect a potential hazard and to respond in time to avoid it are important factors in injury prevention. Reports concerning research on the five senses (especially vision and hearing), proprioception and balance, and the ability to assess motion are included. Also included are reports on factors that effect the time it takes to recognize something as a hazard and take an appropriate action.

Social Etiologies & Disparities

This section includes reports concerning group-related differences in the etiologies or consequences of injury events. The emphasis is on reports about the mechanisms underlying the social patterning of injuries and injury outcomes among ethnic, racial or socioeconomic groups; geo-political areas; or other community and population characteristics. Reports concerning measures of the magnitude of these differences are also included.

Suicide & self-harm

This section includes reports on risk factors associated with suicidal ideation, suicide attempts and suicides. Also included in this section are reports that discuss mechanisms of suicide.


This section includes reports on the epidemiology of transportation-related injuries occurring among passengers in road vehicles (buses, cars, trucks, motorcycles), trains, and air or water craft. Also included are reports on traffic law enforcement, seat-belt and safety seat use. All-terrain vehicles, go-karts, personal water craft, and similar vehicle-related injuries are included under the category "Recreation & sports'.

Violence & Weapons

This section includes reports that discuss the intentional use of physical force or power, against another person. Also included are reports on weapons and their availability and use. Reports on bullying are listed under the category 'School issues'.

What is the "doi"?

The Digital Object Identifier (doi™) is a system for persistent identification and exchange of intellectual property on digital networks. In general, SafetyLit doesn't link directly to a full-text version of a report on a publisher's Web site because, with many publishers, the link changes with time. Sometimes the change interval is very brief. The 300+ publishers, agencies, and organizations that subscribe to the non-profit doi system agree to maintain a persistent link to the resource even the publisher's Web site is reorganized. SafetyLit now provides the doi link so that readers may obtain copies of material online. For more information visit the International DOI Foundation Web site. Articles without a doi may be found by linking to the journal Web site and following the links to the appropriate volume and issue.

Language Abbreviations

Many of the journal articles included in SafetyLit have English language abstracts but the body of the report is in another language. When possible, these languages are indicated by a three letter abbreviation. The following list is the key to the language abbreviations.

  • Afr - Afrikaans
  • Ara - Arabic
  • Arm - Armenian
  • Aze - Azerbaijani
  • Bos - Bosnian
  • Bul - Bulgarian
  • Cat - Catalan
  • Chi - Chinese
  • Cze - Czech
  • Dan - Danish
  • Dut - Dutch
  • Eng - English
  • Fin - Finnish
  • Fre - French
  • Geo - Georgian
  • Ger - German
  • Gre - Greek
  • Heb - Hebrew
  • Hun - Hungarian
  • Ice - Icelandic
  • Ita - Italian
  • Jpn - Japanese
  • Kor - Korean
  • Lav - Latvian
  • Lit - Lithuanian
  • Mac - Macedonian
  • Nor - Norwegian
  • Pol - Polish
  • Por - Portuguese
  • Rum - Romanian
  • Rus - Russian
  • Scc - Serbian
  • Scr - Croatian
  • Slo - Slovak
  • Spa - Spanish
  • Swe - Swedish
  • Tha - Thai
  • Tur - Turkish
  • Ukr - Ukrainian
  • Vie - Vietnamese