Article Text

PDF

News and notes

Statistics from Altmetric.com

PEOPLE IN THE NEWS

Dawn Castillo, Chief of the Surveillance and Field Investigations Branch in the Division of Safety Research in Morgantown, West Virginia, is the recipient of NIOSH’s James P Keogh Award for Outstanding Service in Occupational Safety and Health for 2004. She is being recognized for her outstanding contributions to the safety and health of adolescent workers through research, raising awareness nationally and internationally through publications and presentations, providing scientific expertise to support regulatory protections for young workers, and collaborating with various youth oriented advocacy groups.

EU CHILD SAFETY PRIORITIES

The European Child Safety Alliance, an initiative of the European Consumer Safety Association to advance child injury prevention throughout Europe, published the second edition of Priorities for child safety in the European Union: agenda for action in June. The records of EU member states, including the 10 new members, are compared for a variety of injury topics, including homicide and suicide. The legislative picture in each state is also presented for 10 interventions showing when the laws came into force. The report can be download from the ECSA website at www.childsafetyeurope.org.

CDC’S SCHOOL HEALTH INDEX

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Division of Adolescent and School Health, has released the third edition of the School Health Index: A Self-Assessment and Planning Guide. This version of the index enables schools to address their policies and programs related to safety (unintentional injury and violence prevention) in addition to the physical activity, nutrition, and tobacco-free lifestyle issues addressed in the previous editions. In addition to the new printed edition, an online version of the index can be found at www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/SHI. The web based version allows only those topics (physical activity, nutrition, tobacco use, or safety) of interest to a particular school to be selected and a customized score card and discussion questions to be printed. The School Health Index is designed for use at both the elementary and middle/high school levels. It was developed to provide schools with a tool to assess their policies and programs in relation to the recommendations of CDC school health guidelines. The index can help schools identify strengths and weaknesses; prioritize actions for improvement; and develop a team approach to implementing school guidelines recommendations.

PICTURE OF SAFETY

The UK’s Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) has been awarded a two year grant by the Department of Health to undertake a new project entitled Picture of safety. The project will develop pictorial resources on child accident prevention, to meet the needs of parents with poor literacy living in deprived communities. The resources will focus on home safety for children under 5, presenting common hazards and prevention measures in highly visual forms and accessible formats. England’s Basic Skills Agency reports that 40% of parents from the most disadvantaged areas are functionally illiterate, not being able to read a menu or instructions on a seed packet. CAPT would like to know of any work that is relevant to this project: contact Katrina Phillips on +44 (0)20 7689 4741 or by email to katrina.phillipscapt.org.uk.

RESOLUTION ON ROAD SAFETY ADOPTED

As a direct follow up to World Health Day and the General Assembly discussion, the World Health Assembly (WHA) unanimously adopted Resolution WHA 57.10 in May. This is an historic resolution that breaks 40 years of silence on road traffic injuries in the WHA. Forty one member states, UNECE, UNICEF, and the IFRC took the floor during the enthusiastic debates. All stressed the importance of the public health aspects of the lack of road safety and the need of active participation of the public health sector as part of a multisectoral response. Many welcomed the dedication of World Health Day 2004 to the issue and applauded the World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention. Some called for making road safety a permanent item on the WHA agenda and one country called for the creation of an annual commemoration day but these ideas were not picked up in the resolution. The final version of the resolution can be found at www.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/WHA57/A57_R10-en.pdf. The resolution accepts the invitation by the General Assembly for the WHO to act as a coordinator in the UN system in collaboration with the regional commissions. It urges member states to appoint focal points in ministries of health to coordinate the public health response. It also calls upon member states to conduct a number of activities including assessing their national situation, preparing national strategies, establishing government leadership through a focal point or lead agency, and exploring the possibilities to increase funding, including through the creation of a fund. It calls upon the WHO DG to collaborate with member states to strengthen data collection, research, prevention, trauma care, and advocacy and to report back in the WHA in 2007. This resolution gives us a very powerful tool to encourage member states to strengthen activities.

REVIEW OF UK GOVERNMENT’S ROAD SAFETY STRATEGY

To coincide with the WHO’s World Health Day, the government, Scottish Executive, and National Assembly of Wales published a review of progress towards the 2010 casualty reduction targets. The 126 page report noted that in 2002 the overall number of people killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads was 17% lower than the 1994–98 average. The number of serious injuries each day has dropped below 100 for the first time. In terms of child casualties, the number of children killed or seriously injured has reduced by 33% compared with the 1994–98 average. The authors comment that the improved child pedestrian fatality rate per 100 000 population of 0.7 confirms that progress is being made. The Road Safety strategy, Tomorrow’s roads—safer for everyone, launched in March 2000 set targets for casualty reduction by 2010 compared with the 1994–98 baseline of a 40% reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured; a 50% reduction in the number of children killed or seriously injured; and a 10% reduction in the slight casualty rate, expressed as the number of people slightly injured per 100 million vehicle kilometres.

The report also details the areas which will require continuing attention as the strategy develops. These include the number of deaths, which has not fallen significantly since 1998; the number of car occupant deaths; the number of motorcyclist deaths and injuries; the rise in drink-drive related deaths and injuries; and engaging more employers to develop at work road safety policies for employees who drive at work.

The report can be downloaded or read online via the Department for Transport’s website at www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft_rdsafety/documents/page/dft_rdsafety_028165.hcsp.

FIRE SAFE CIGARETTES IN CANADA

The Canadian Parliament has passed legislation that will reduce the number of fires caused by cigarettes in Canada. Bill C-260 will make it mandatory for all tobacco manufacturers to sell reduced ignition propensity (RIP) cigarettes by the end of 2004. As in the United States, cigarette caused fires are the leading cause of fire related deaths in Canada. Canada’s Non-Smokers’ Rights Association and Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada report that, “according to data from the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, 356 people were killed and a further 1615 were injured in such fires between 1995 and 1999 (the latest data available). These fires have also caused more than $200 million worth of property damage”. Canada has passed powerful legislation that will make use of the same regulations and testing protocols for cigarettes with reduced ignition propensity as the state of New York. All cigarettes sold in New York have to comply with a specific RIP standard from 30 June 2004.

THREE YEAR EVALUATION OF UK SAFETY CAMERA PROGRAMME

In 2000, a system was introduced in the UK that allowed eight pilot areas to recover the costs of operating speed and red light cameras (safety cameras) from fines resulting from enforcement. In 2001, legislation was introduced that allowed the system to be extended to other areas. A national programme was then gradually introduced. In February 2003, the Department for Transport published a research report that analysed the effectiveness of the system in the eight pilot areas over the first two years (April 2000 to March 2002). A new report, published in June 2004, updated this analysis to the 24 areas that were operating within the programme over the first three years (April 2000 to March 2003). Only areas operating within the programme for at least a year were included in the analysis. High level results reveal that vehicle speeds were down, casualties and deaths were reduced, there was a positive cost benefit of around 4:1, and the public supported the use of safety cameras for targeted enforcement

Surveys showed that vehicle speeds at speed camera sites had dropped by around 7% after the introduction of cameras. At new sites, there was a 32% reduction in vehicles breaking the speed limit. At fixed sites, there was a 71% reduction and at mobile sites there was a 21% reduction. Overall, the proportion of vehicles speeding excessively (that is, 15 mph more than the speed limit) fell by 80% at fixed camera sites, and 28% at mobile camera sites. After allowing for the long term trend in casualties, there was a 33% reduction in personal injury collisions (PICs) at sites where cameras were introduced. Overall, this meant that 40% fewer people were killed or seriously injured. At camera sites, there was also a reduction of over 100 fatalities per annum (40% fewer). There were 870 fewer people killed or seriously injured and 4030 fewer personal injury collisions a year. There was a clear correlation between reductions in speed and reductions in PICs. In the third year, the benefits to society from the avoided injuries were in excess of £221 million compared to enforcement costs of around £54 million. The public support for cameras for targeted enforcement was evidenced by public attitude surveys, both locally and at a national level. The report can be found at www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft_rdsafety/documents/downloadable/dft_rdsafety_029194.pdf.

CANADA BANS SALE OF BABY WALKERS

The Canadian Health Minister announced in April that the sale, advertisement, and importation of baby walkers was banned with immediate effect under the country’s Hazardous Products Act. The ban also applies to second hand products. This follows a year long campaign by Safe Kids Canada. A voluntary ban has been in place since 1989. However, Health Canada reports that in recent years, more and more baby walkers have found their way on to the Canadian market and as a result, injuries to children have continued to occur.

CYCLE HELMET BILL STALLS

The Private Member’s Bill calling for mandatory use of cycle helmets in the UK by children aged up to 16 years received its second reading on 23 April. It was proposed by Eric Martlew, member of parliament for the northern England constituency of Carlisle. At the end of the debate, it was put back into the queue of such bills, which means that it is very unlikely to reach the statute book. Angie Lee, Executive Director of the Bicycle Helmet Initiative Trust, who had persuaded Mr Martlew to take this issue forward, felt that the subject had received a sound airing in parliament and had made MPs much more aware of the importance of helmets and their use. There had been strong, and sometimes bitter, opposition from cycling groups to the bill, mainly questioning the effectiveness of helmets and helmet legislation, and seeing the proposed measure as an infringement of individual liberties.

REVIEW OF SCALD PREVENTION IN BUILDING REGULATIONS

The requirement to supply water at a temperature that will not scald is under review in the regulations that apply to all new homes and those undergoing major refurbishment in England and Wales. The housing minister announced the review in January. This follows changes to the Scheme Development Standards, requirements relating to grants for social housing from the Housing Corporation, provoked by lobbying by the Child Accident Prevention Trust and the manufacturers of thermostatic mixing valves.

GREEK SUMMER CAMP SEMINARS ON WATER SAFETY AND DROWNING PREVENTION

In Greece, a country with a lengthy coastline, a mild climate and a high volume of tourists, the drowning mortality rate is among the highest in the world. The Center for Research and Prevention of Injuries (CEREPRI) in Greece has opted for the organization of a series of two hour seminars entitled The Young Lifeguard. The activity, designed for children 5–15 years of age attending summer camps, addressed issues related to the identification of hazards in water environments and the development of “water wise” behaviours and demonstrations of lifesaving techniques. Paediatricians and other health professionals associated with CEREPRI collaborated with members of the Greek National Academy of Lifeguards to develop the age appropriate content and the format of the training package that included a short introduction, presentation of a video, interactive dialogues, hands-on materials and live resuscitation demonstrations. The first seminar was run at the Careless Beehive Summer Camp near Athens, which entertains about 650 children. Further information from Eleni Petridou at epetridmed.uoa.gr.

Acknowledgments

Contributors to these news and notes include Anara Guard, Etienne Krug, Barry Pless, Ian Scott, and Spyridopoulos Themis. Michael Hayes has edited the contributions. Items for future issues, including calendar entries, should be sent to Michael Hayes at the Child Accident Prevention Trust, 18–20 Farringdon Lane, London EC1R 3HA, UK, fax +44 (0)20 7608 3674, email mhcapt.org.uk as soon as possible.

View Abstract

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.