This paper describes the design and operation of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), the development of national estimates and data on injuries, associated with products used in recreational and residential settings, and the identification of reasonable approaches to reducing the frequency and severity of injuries and deaths. The NEISS is a national probability sample of 91 hospitals which provide data on over 280,000 case reports each year. It is a multi-level data collection system, including extracts from hospital emergency room records, telephone follow-ups to injured persons, and on-site in-depth investigations of specific cases of interest. Examples are given on the development of national estimates and trends in injuries for such products as fireworks, playground equipment, and all-terrain vehicles. The identification of incident hazard patterns for specific sports activities or product types and the development of remedial efforts are discussed. These efforts may involve new product safety standards, public information and educational activities, or other steps to reduce unreasonable risks of injury. A description of how to obtain NEISS data and copies of CPSC reports from the National Injury Information Clearinghouse is included.
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