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An international global teleconference and online forum on the international injury community response to the Asian tsunami/earthquake disaster was held on 13 January 2005. The purpose of this “just-in-time” forum was to let the injury control community know what is going on, who’s doing what, and where to get more information; provide responding agencies with the opportunity to publicize their efforts; provide agencies active in the response the opportunity to solicit various kinds of support and assistance; and provide a forum for group Q and A and discussions. The session was organized by ICEHS members David Zane, Anara Guard, and Hank Weiss (respectively representing STIPDA, APHA/ICEHS, and NAICRC), in cooperation with the CDC and other organizations. A recording of this forum has been posted on the internet. To view the recording of this session, please view the following web page (software installation may be required): https://www.elluminate.com/pmtg.jnlp?psid=d695107894.204725. Interested people should also go to the tsunami website set up by the University of Pittsburgh to aggregate material related to this disaster and injury control: http://www.circl.pitt.edu/earthquake/.
GUIDELINES FOR EVALUATING ROAD SAFETY EDUCATION INTERVENTIONS
In 2000, the UK Government introduced a strategy to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured in a road accident by 2010. This included a target to halve the number of children killed or seriously injured by 2010. Education measures form part of this strategy to improve the safety of road users. This guidance is designed to help local authorities evaluate their own road safety education. The new guidelines are based upon a critical review of recent developments in evaluation techniques and those already in use over the whole field of education, health, and safety research undertaken by an expert in the field of evaluation. They also include advice from evaluators who have tested the techniques on a number of innovative programmes. The guidance can be downloaded from the Department for Transport website: http://tinyurl.com/5fvqm.
LEAD IN CHILDREN’S METAL JEWELLERY
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced in February a new enforcement policy (downloadable from http://www.cpsc.gov/businfo/pbjewelgd.pdf) to reduce the potential for health risks from lead in children’s metal jewellery. The new policy gives manufacturers, importers, and retailers clear guidance on steps they should take to minimize the risk for children. The CPSC is also specifying the laboratory test procedures (http://www.cpsc.gov/businfo/pbjeweltest.pdf) it will use to analyze lead content. The new policy explains how the CPSC staff will test for lead in children’s jewellery and identifies the lead levels that will trigger further attention. CPSC staff will first conduct a screening test to determine the lead content of each type of component in a piece of jewellery. The trigger level for action by CPSC is 600 ppm of lead. The Commission notes that while deteriorating lead paint in homes is the leading cause of lead poisoning in children in the US, lead exposures from other sources add to the overall risk. In 2004, CPSC announced recalls of more than 150 million pieces of toy jewellery sold in vending machines and through other outlets. The Commission is aware of several cases in which children developed high blood lead levels after swallowing or repeatedly sucking on jewellery items. Lead poisoning in children is associated with behavioural problems, learning disabilities, hearing problems, and growth retardation.
NORTHERN IRELAND ACCIDENT PREVENTION STRATEGY AND ACTION PLAN
The strategy and action plan has been published by the Northern Ireland Department for Health, Social Services and Public Safety. Their strategy gives particular emphasis to preventing falls, fires, and injuries to children on farms. It can be downloaded from http://www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/publications/2005/HAPS.pdf.
SAFE COMMUNITIES FOUNDATION NEW ZEALAND
Safe Communities Foundation New Zealand (SCFNZ) has begun its work to support and enhance safe communities initiatives in New Zealand. The foundation is headed by Dr Carolyn Coggan, formerly Director of the Injury Prevention Research Centre at the University of Auckland. SCFNZ’s primary role is to increase the number and improve the quality of community safety initiatives throughout New Zealand. SCFNZ also looks forward to actively supporting the international safe communities’ networks. SCFNZ will work collaboratively with communities, industry, and government agencies. It will aim to create a sense of awareness, understanding, support, and leadership to implement effective community safety programmes, to create safe environments, and to reduce the social and economic costs of injuries in New Zealand. Support from the injury prevention community in New Zealand has been “amazing”. “I have been both surprised and delighted with the level of support and interest shown to date from practitioners, government agencies, and other injury prevention organizations. Further evidence of the value of the SCFNZ is the number of communities who have indicated the need for support for them to work towards WHO accreditation during 2005.” At present there are only two New Zealand communities that have received WHO accreditation, Waimakariri and Waitakere. Both accreditations took place in 1999. “Accreditation is important as it provides recognition for the efforts of the various organizations and individuals working together to design and implement strategies to promote safety and reduce the incidence and/or severity of injury in their population. An accreditation process provides not only support for communities, but an indication of a level of achievement within the field of safety promotion and injury prevention.” For more information visit http://www.safecommunities.org.nz or contact Dr Carolyn Coggan on
PARENTAL ATTITUDES TO ROAD SAFETY EDUCATION
The Scottish Executive has examined parental attitudes to road safety education and what it means to safety professionals and schools. The study focused on parents of children 7–13 and 14–18 years. The report can be accessed via http://www.scotland.gov.uk/library5/transport/pars-00.asp.
EUROPEAN STANDARD FOR CORDS ON CHILDREN’S CLOTHES
Following the efforts of ANEC, the European consumer voice in standardisation, CEN, the European standards organization, drafted a European standard EN 14682 “Safety of children’s clothing—cords and drawstrings on children’s clothing—specifications”. The standard, which was published in November 2004, deals with the dangers of cords and drawstrings on children’s clothing, particularly in the head and neck areas of children’s garments. These have a high potential for causing strangulation incidents, and several fatal accidents have occurred in playgrounds. The standard will ban the use of cords and drawstrings in the head and neck areas of garments for babies and children up to the age of 7; restrict the use of cords in the head and neck areas for children and young persons aged 7–14 (mainly restrictions on length, use of elasticated cords, and characteristics of toggles); and restrict the use of cords on any part of clothing for children and young persons from 0–14 (mainly limits on length and restrictions related to toggles). ANEC is to ask the European Commission to publish the standard in the EU Official Journal, thereby giving it greater status. ANEC has also suggested to CEN that there should be further standardisation work on general safety aspects of children’s clothing.
SPRINKLER LAWS GAINING MOMENTUM
More Maryland communities are considering requiring sprinkler systems in newly built single family homes, but the subject has touched off a debate between sprinkler advocates and home builders. In Howard County, officials debated the issue this year after a large home burned down in March. The house was in a remote area without fire hydrants, and firefighters had to shuttle water to the site for several hours. Howard County fire officials said a sprinkler system could have reduced the damage in the home, and pushed for legislation requiring sprinklers in all new single family homes. The legislation did not pass but buyers of new single family homes must now be offered sprinkler systems. Montgomery County began requiring sprinklers in January 2004 and Prince George’s County has required sprinklers for more than a decade in new single family homes. Sprinkler systems typically cost about $1.50 a square foot, which translates to less than 1.5% of a home’s total cost. But customers almost never install sprinklers unless they are required to do so. Many customers fear sprinklers will spontaneously malfunction and ruin their homes. According to the most recent data available from CDC, 49 people died in Maryland home fires in 2001, down from a high of 109 in 1982.
RESEARCH ON SWIMMING POOL SAFETY
ANEC has commissioned the UK safety organisation RoSPA to undertake research on improving the safety of services related to hotel swimming pools. Drowning statistics show that swimming in unsupervised hotel swimming pools poses a major risk, especially for foreign tourists in the EU, particularly for children and older people. The research project will use statistically based accident analysis and accident data collection should cover all EU member states. The aim of the project is to raise the level of safety in hotel swimming pools.
SAFER MATTRESSES AND BEDCLOTHES
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has voted to issue a proposed safety standard to reduce deaths and injuries from fires involving mattresses. The proposed standard for mattresses addresses fires ignited by an open flame. CPSC also voted to issue an advance notice of proposed rulemaking to develop a separate safety standard to address bedclothes (such as blankets, comforters, and pillows) flammability. From 1995 to 1999, mattresses and bedding were the first items to ignite in an estimated 19 400 residential fires each year. These fires resulted in about 440 deaths, 2230 injuries, and $273.9 million property losses annually. CPSC staff estimate that most of these deaths and injuries would be addressed by the proposed standard. Fires involving mattresses of traditional constructions can reach flashover (when the entire contents of the room ignite) in less than 5 minutes. The proposed mattress standard would limit the size of the fire and prevent or delay the time to flashover. This would allow people more time to discover and escape the fire, reducing deaths and injuries. Staff believe that materials are commercially available that can be used to produce comfortable, practical, and reasonably priced mattresses with significantly improved fire performance.
Contributors to these News and Notes include Ian Scott, Hank Weiss, and Barry Pless. 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, 22–26 Farringdon Lane, London EC1R 3AJ, UK; fax +44 (0)20 7608 3674; emailas soon as possible.
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