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PEOPLE IN THE NEWS
Frederick Rivara, one of the deputy editors of Injury Prevention and head of the University of Washington Division of General Pediatrics, is one of 64 new members elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies. The IOM, a component of the US National Academy of Sciences, was established 35 years ago to honor professional achievement in the health sciences and to serve as a national resource for independent analysis and recommendations on issues related to medicine, biomedical sciences, and health. The IOM’s 1461 active members are elected on the basis of their demonstrated interest, concern, and involvement with problems and critical issues that affect the health of the public. Fred Rivara’s career has been devoted to the study of methods of controlling injuries, specifically in such areas as bicycle and pedestrian injuries, motor vehicle injuries, alcohol-related trauma, and intentional injuries. His current interests include examining the cost-effectiveness of trauma care, the impact of domestic violence on women and children, and how intervention in childhood and adolescence influences later health outcomes. His goal is to turn the attention of public policy to the implementation of programs that can have a long-term impact on the health of children and adults.
Injury Prevention editor Barry Pless has been similarly honored by his election in September as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. The aim of the Academy is to provide advice on and assessments of key issues relevant to the health of Canadians. Fellows elected to the Academy are recognized nationally and internationally by their peers for their contributions to the promotion of health science. They have demonstrated leadership, creativity, distinctive competencies and commitment to advancing academic health sciences.
STUDY OF 100 000 CHILDREN IS DUE TO START
A US study of 100 000 children that will look at environmental influences on their health took a step forward in October 2005 when the US government announced it had granted the first six contracts for the study. The national children’s study, described as the largest of its type ever undertaken, has been five years in the planning and will cost an estimated $2.7 billion (£1.5 billion; €2.3 billion). It was mandated by Congress in 2000 and is being run together with other federal agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When fully operating the study will follow 100 000 children from early life–in some instances it will even monitor women before they become pregnant–until the age of 21, with the object of seeking the root causes of many childhood and adult diseases. The children will be a representative sample chosen according to geography, ethnic group, and socioeconomic background. It will examine environmental influences on health including the effects of diet, ambient air, and the home and school environment. The first data from the study will be available in 2010 or 2012.
UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY ROAD SAFETY RESOLUTION
In October, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a second historic resolution on road safety, inviting Member States to implement the recommendations of the World report on road traffic injury prevention to participate in the First United Nations Global Road Safety Week; and to recognize the third Sunday in November of every year as the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. The resolution and related discussions at the UN General Assembly commended both the United Nations Secretary General for his report on road safety as well as the World Health Organization for its collaboration and role as co-ordinator on road safety issues within the United Nations. Several speakers expressed strong satisfaction with the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration - an alliance of over 50 organizations - and the products it has delivered so far. The resolution underlines the importance for Member States to continue using the WHO/World Bank’s World report on road traffic injury prevention as a framework for road safety efforts. It calls for particular attention to the five identified risk factors: safety belts and child restraints, drinking and driving, helmets, inappropriate and excessive speed and infrastructure. The resolution also hails and endorses the proposal of the Economic Commission for Europe in collaboration to host the first United Nations Global Road Safety Week with WHO in Geneva in April 2007 targeted at young road users, including young drivers. "We are very encouraged by this historic resolution," said Etienne Krug, Director of the Department of Injury and Violence Prevention at WHO. "The content shows an evolution in thinking and a growing awareness of the need for continued efforts to improve road safety globally." The UN Resolution encourages Member States and the international community, including international and regional financial institutions, to lend financial, technical and political support to the United Nations and its agencies, including the World Health Organization, for their efforts to improve road safety. For further information visit http://tinyurl.com/c57c9.
STRESS IN CHILDREN IN ROAD CRASHES
A quarter of children hospitalized with injuries from road crashes and their parents experience symptoms of acute stress disorder (ASD) according to a recent paper from the Partners for Child Passenger Safety study from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Parents reported ASD symptoms and impairment in 1.6% of children in crashes. These symptoms were independently associated with sustaining an injury and with receiving medical care. The authors highlight the need for health care professionals to consider screening for traumatic stress symptoms in children involved in traffic crashes, particularly if they sustain injuries. (Winston FK et al, Acute traumatic stress symptoms in child occupants and their parent drivers after crash involvement. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2005;159:1074–9.)
CANADIAN STRATEGY REPORT
The report Ending Canada’s invisible epidemic: a strategy for injury prevention was launched in October. It recommends that Canada should have a national strategy to prevent injury, built on six strategic pillars: leadership from the federal government; policy analysis and development; an effective, integrated surveillance system; strategic research on how best to prevent injuries; a national fund to support community based prevention initiatives; and public information and education. A copy of the report can be downloaded from http://www.timeforaction.ca.
AUSTRALIAN INJURY PREVENTION PLAN APPROVED
The Australian Health Ministers’ Conference (AHMC) has agreed to release the National Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion Plan: 2004–2014. The plan is complemented by two other documents endorsed by the AHMC meeting: the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Safety Promotion Strategy and the National Falls Prevention for Older People Plan: 2004 Onwards. The purpose of the National Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion Plan is to provide a framework for the injury activities of government agencies, local government, the private sector and non-government organisations, as well as communities and individuals. The plan also has links to a wide range of existing strategies, plans and initiatives relating to specific areas of injury prevention. The plan identifies several deficiencies in Australia’s current injury prevention and safety promotion efforts: insufficient resourcing of injury prevention and safety promotion; fragmentation of effort; gaps in injury prevention and safety promotion activity; injury prevention workforce and safety promotion capability issues; quality of, access to, and dissemination of injury information; and limited understanding of effective injury prevention and safety promotion activities. The plan, which also outlines ten principles to guide effective injury prevention and safety promotion and priorities for action, can be accessed via http://hna.ffh.vic.gov.au/nphp/.
RECORD YEAR FOR PRODUCT RECALLS
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced in October that the agency has set several records in important safety areas this fiscal year including recalls of defective consumer products; civil penalties imposed for industry failure to report hazardous products; and industry reports of possible consumer product hazards. CPSC obtained the voluntary recall of 397 consumer products in fiscal year 2005. This figure represents the highest number of recalls for the agency in 10 years and includes the highest annual total ever for products not covered by a mandatory safety standard. This record comes on the heel of CPSC’s single largest, individual product recall in the previous fiscal year, of metal vending machine jewelry. (News and Notes editor’s writes: Does this mean that product safety is deteriorating or enforcement is improving?)
AUSTRALIAN REPORT ON CHILDREN AT WORK
The October edition of Injury Issues Monitor reports that in the first Australian study of its kind, the New South Wales Commission for Children and Young People surveyed 11 000 high school students in years 7–10 about their experiences at work. The research found considerable diversity, from babysitting and working in retail outlets to making deliveries, teaching and helping out on the family farm. The survey also found that over half of children in the study worked, and that most of them enjoyed doing so, and also enjoyed the financial, social and personal benefits that work brings. However, the report also highlighted some serious concerns. For example, just under 10 per cent said that they had been seriously injured at work. Just under half said that they had been verbally harassed and about 20 per cent said they had been physically harassed at work. To download a copy of the report in either PDF or RTF format, visit http://tinyurl.com/88qcn.
ACTION ON INJURIES WEBSITE LAUNCHED
The aim of the website, http://tinyurl.com/cs5am, is to support public health activities that seek to reduce all accidents and injuries in the European Union. The website is targeted at a broad group of interested parties, from injury prevention experts to stakeholders, and from politicians to European citizens. Action on Accidents and Injuries is supported by DG Health and Consumer Protection of the European Commission.
NEW WHO SAFE COMMUNITY IN NEW ZEALAND
The New Zealand city of New Plymouth was designated the world’s 95th WHO Safe Community in October. For more information of the New Plymouth Safe Community Programme visit www.safecommunities.org.nz.
In order to increase participation from traffic experts in low and middle– income countries, the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine is offering international scholarships. Visit http://www.carcrash.org/scholarship.html for more information.
ANEC CALLS FOR ABOLITION OF CE MARK
The CE mark is required to be on products under certain EU Directives. However, it is not addressed to consumers, but to public authorities. As part of a consultation on CE marking, ANEC, the European consumer voice in standardization, is calling for its abolition as it generates confusion for consumers. Alternatively, ANEC suggests that the mark is removed from the product itself and instead included in the technical file developed by the manufacturer as part of its safety obligations.
IMPROVING CONSUMER SAFETY BETWEEN MEXICO AND USA
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has announced an agreement with the Mexican government aimed at further improving consumer safety and making both the United States and Mexican market places among the safest in the world. The agreement calls for Mexico’s Consumer Protection of the United Mexican States (Profeco) and CPSC to work toward reducing product-related deaths and injuries in both countries, by exchanging information about product recalls, violations of federal safety laws, and enforcement actions. In addition, CPSC and Profeco will share scientific data, information on emerging hazards, safety research, hazard reduction strategies and notification of changes in product safety laws. The agreement also calls for both agencies to share inspection and laboratory test results, when appropriate. Mexico is the second biggest exporter of consumer products to the United States, after China.
Contributors to these News and Notes include Ian Scott, Joseph Colella, Mariana Brussoni, Flaura Winston 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, e-mail, as soon as possible.
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