Background A safe school environment for pupils is ensured by law in Finland. However, according to national School Health Promotion Study in 2010/2011 almost every fourth 8th and 9th grader (14–15-year-olds) reported they had got into at least one school injury requiring services of a public health nurse or a doctor.
Objectives The aim of this study was to find out what common practices comprehensive schools have related to prevention of unintentional school injuries, and what has changed over time.
Methods In 2011 altogether 2011 and in 2009 1803 comprehensive schools (72% and 63% of all schools in Finland) answered to a nationwide questionnaire sent to principals.
Results In 2011, 87% of schools reported that the promotion of health, welfare and safety was described in their school curriculum. Monitoring and evaluating health, welfare and safety was described in the curriculum of 60%. 71% monitored injuries at school and 62% on the way to or from school: compared to previous study there was a slight increase. There was an increase from 40% to 55% in triennially assessing the health and safety of the school environment and community, as ordered by a government decree since July 2009. The most recent assessment by schools identified a danger of unintentional injury indoors in 23% and outdoors in 26% of the schools.
Contribution to the field According to the results it seems that legislation might further support implementing safety practice that was formerly only recommended nationally. Also monitoring safety practices at national level provides valuable information for the basis of policymaking.
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