Background Unintentional injuries account for 2500-3000 hospitalisations of children each year in New Zealand. Falls are the leading cause of injury hospitalisation of children under five. The Kidsafe Taranaki Trust has been working since the early 1990s to reduce unintentional injuries to children in Taranaki and has implemented a range of falls prevention interventions during that time.
Aims/Objectives/Purpose The most sustained effort is a project to deliver falls prevention information to groups of parents and caregivers. Successfully piloted in 2002 and expanded the following year with the addition of a Kaupapa Maori strategy, it aims to increase caregivers' awareness of the changing risks associated with the different developmental milestones in the pre-school years and provide advice and samples of appropriate safety devices while emphasising the importance of active supervision.
Methods The approach is based on safety literature and the combined strategies have now been delivered to 3,000 families in Taranaki over the last ten years.
Results/Outcomes Evaluation of the programme has been ongoing and continues to demonstrate this project is having a positive impact on participants' awareness and knowledge of key causes of falls injuries and prevention strategies. More importantly, it is shown to have influenced positive changes in the quality of supervision and the safety of the home environment.
Significance/Contribution to the field Taranaki data demonstrates a marked downward trend in fall-related injury rates to under-fives which is more pronounced than the gradually decreasing trend for New Zealand as a whole.
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