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Awards to Injury Prevention editor

2001 has been a very successful year for Injury Prevention editor, Barry Pless. He was honoured by the Canadian Paediatric Society for his “excellence of achievement in the field of paediatric research, education, child health care and child advocacy”, being presented with the Ross Award. The citation notes that Professor Pless is a world leader in childhood injury prevention, a status that those close to him would wholly support. But his success did not end there. He also received one the Montreal Children's Hospital Foundation's Awards of Excellence, the Bombardier Aerospace Award of Excellence in Research. It was awarded to Barry for his initiatives and discoveries, which have made a unique and significant contribution to paediatric care.

People in the news

In the last issue of Injury Prevention we reported that Dr Jeffrey W Runge had been nominated for the post of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Administrator. The appointment has now been confirmed by the US Senate. Dr Runge is an expert in motor vehicle injury care and prevention. A researcher and educator in emergency medicine, he has focused on the area of injury prevention and control, with a particular interest in motor vehicle injuries. As NHTSA Administrator, Dr Runge will lead an agency of more than 600 employees with a $403 million annual budget. The agency is responsible for reducing deaths, injuries, and economic losses resulting from motor vehicle crashes. He was most recently the Director of the Carolinas Center for Injury Prevention and Control and is on the Trauma Care and Injury Control Committee and the Research Committee of the American College of Emergency Physicians. In his first interview since taking NHTSA's helm earlier this month, Jeffrey Runge said that his agency would be a fierce advocate for automotive safety and that more federal rules on vehicle safety may be on the way. “People should not automatically assume that there will be some kind of easing,” he said. “I personally am pro-business and pro-commerce, but my job is to be the nation's chief traffic safety officer. If I make an error, it will be on the side of safety”.

Another change in the US federal government. Chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Ann Brown announced her intention to step down in November 2001. The CPSC is authorized to have five commissioners, but for a number of years, funds have only been allocated for three. An earlier effort by President Bush to nominate Sheila Gall to be chairwoman was defeated by a Senate committee, with strong lobbying by consumer groups. At this time, it is unclear who Bush will nominate to fill Brown's seat, or to be chair of the commission. She also outlined a number of areas for action before her term is over, including redesigning baby bath seats to prevent children from drowning; a standard for mattresses to protect against deaths from fires; a standard for bed rails to prevent children from suffocating when their heads get entrapped between the rail and the bed; and child resistant packaging for baby oil and other similar products to prevent aspiration deaths and injuries to children. Chairman Brown also unveiled plans to found a non-profit foundation called SAFE—a Safer America for Everyone—that will engage business, consumers, and others in this mission.

The Injury Prevention Network (IPN) of Aotearoea New Zealand has a new coordinator. Valerie Norton has taken over from Pania Shingleton and is happy to provide inquirers with information about the active and expanding network. Contact her on network{at}ipn.org.nz and visit the web site, at www.ipn.org.nz. The IPN has moved and is now based close to Wellington's Lambton Quay; the mailing address is PO Box 87, Wellington, New Zealand.

Injury surveillance for major events: the Sydney Olympic Games

The Olympic Games brought 11 300 athletes, 5100 officials, and visitors from 200 countries to Sydney in October 2000. An estimated 400 000 people a day visited the major sports precinct and crowds estimated at 1 000 000 gathered in the city centre for the closing celebrations. To monitor unusual patterns and levels of injury and disease the NSW Department of Health set up an Emergency Department Olympic Surveillance System (EDOSS). Data was collected from 15 sentinel hospitals, seven days per week for five weeks. Information was collated daily and the Health Olympic Coordination Unit produced by 11.30 am each day a “Health Status Report” for the previous 24 hours. EDOSS set out to collect data on a designated group of symptoms and conditions, including injuries occurring outside the home, which were the most frequently reported cases (6640 out of 12 754 cases). The speed of the reporting permitted preventive action. For example, cases of glass related injury and injuries associated with foot propelled scooters identified areas of potential concern and requirements for drinks to be in plastic containers and a local ban on the use of scooters in Olympic sites were introduced. Details of the planning and results of the health surveillance can be found in the NSW Public Health Bulletin, available in PDF format from the public health area of the Department's web site: www.health.nsw.gov.au.

Goal deaths in Portugal

ANEC, the European body that coordinates consumer representation on standards committees has asked the European Commission to set standards for moveable soccer goals. This follows the revelation from APSI, the Portuguese child safety organisation, that in Portugal in the past two years goals used in schools and playing fields, indoor and outdoor, have been involved in five fatal accidents and one accident with serious brain injuries to children from 7 to 16 years. The cause of the accidents was always the same: a goal not fixed to the ground tipped over on to the child's head when they were playing football with friends, that is, in non-organized activities, or swinging on the goal. Standards for handball and football goals only deal with goals used during training and competition, in other words during organized activities. The problem was first revealed in 1994 when two fatal accidents took place in schools. Following pressure from APSI, the Portuguese Ministry of Education is planning to inspect all schools and playing fields.

Testing playground surfaces in winter

Winter conditions in Manitoba are very different from those in summer. So in February and March 2001 IMPACT, the injury prevention centre of the Children's Hospital, Winnipeg, tested the impact performance of 10 sites where tests in summer conditions had been carried out, according to an article in the Spring edition of Manitoba Child Injury Prevention News. They used the American Society for Testing and Materials standard. tests were carried out with packed and melting snow, although some sites had to be abandoned because of large puddles! The results, which will be relevant in many parts of the world, are keenly awaited. Information about IMPACT and details of how to receive their newsletter can be found on their attractively simple new web site: www.hsc.mb.ca/impact.

ICPSTC conference highlights

Over 900 people attended the four day conference in Indianapolis, Indiana in June 2001. Over 10% attended with scholarship assistance. The conference included about 70 separate workshop topics in addition to general sessions and exhibits. Three awards were presented at the meeting. The Annemarie Shelness Award for Lifetime Achievement in Child Passenger Safety was given to Howard Willson, recently retired safety engineer for DaimlerChrysler. The Dana Hutchinson Memorial Award went to Dr Marilyn Bull, a pediatrician who chairs the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Injury and Poison Prevention and has spearheaded the efforts to develop restraint systems for children with special needs. An award named for Janet Graham, San Benito, California, SAFE KIDS Coalition coordinator, who was killed in a traffic crash earlier this year, was given to all SAFE KIDS coordinators nationwide for their tireless and often unsung work for child passenger protection.

Highlights from the many workshops included a report from researchers from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) who shared some preliminary results from its Partners for Child Passenger Safety study. This five year project analyzes real-world crash data from State Farm insured motorists in 16 states. Results released included:

• Unrestrained children were three times more likely than restrained children to suffer a serious injury.

• Thirty per cent of infants were incorrectly turned to face forward before age 1.

• Eighty three per cent of children between 4 and 8 were inappropriately restrained in adult safety belts alone. Among 3 year olds, 29% were using booster seats and 16% were in adult belts. No 7 or 8 year olds in the study rode in belt positioning boosters.

• Sixteen per cent of children 12 and under rode in the front vehicle seat.

During seminars, CHOP researchers also noted that facial injuries, while not life threatening, are common, can be disfiguring, and often indicate presence of other skull injury that might not be immediately apparent. For more information on this study, refer to www.traumalink.chop.edu.

In a discussion of ranking child restraints for consumers, Britax (US) President Tom Baloga showed how superior test numbers can be misleading and unrelated to actual safety. He posted a chart showing how successive engineering improvements to a hypothetical “Newly Optimized Occupant System Enhancements” system showed better and better test numbers. Then he revealed that the “excellent” NOOSE system amounted to two parallel straps, one across the neck, one across the abdomen of the dummy. Baloga emphasised that safety must be for real children, not crash dummies. “A rating system will provide an incentive for better numbers at the expense of real world performance”. His talk was a reprise of one he gave to the Society of Automotive Engineers.

In the manufacturers' forum, delegates heard that most restraint producers said retailers won't stock LATCH compatible restraints until all the child restraints are required to have them (September 2002) or until the buying public demands them. Currently, they said, the demand is not there. SafetyBeltSafe USA noted, however, many requests on its helpline for information about available LATCH seats, since many vehicles now have LATCH anchors.

(This article is an edited version of one published in Safe Ride News).

Drive-over injuries project

Auckland's Starship Hospital and New Zealand's Safekids programme are collaborating to address the unacceptably high number of young children killed by vehicles off the road. Between 1986 and 1995, at least 40 children under 5 years died in off-road incidents, with driveway drive-over death rates being far higher than in other industrialised countries, according to the June 2001 issue of Safekids News. The project will update those undertaken in New Zealand and elsewhere, aiming to identify risk factors to help put in place prevention strategies.

NHTSA survey shows airbag cut off switches not being used properly

A study of vehicles equipped by the manufacturer with airbag cut off switches has revealed widespread misuse endangering nearly half the front seat child passengers under 13, the US Department of Transportation's NHTSA reported in August. Even though passenger side airbags have saved more than a thousand lives, there are some people who should not be exposed to an airbag deployment. To April 2001, NHTSA was aware of 104 deaths of children attributed to the force of a deploying airbag. In 1995 NHTSA issued a rule allowing manufacturers to install an on-off switch for the passenger airbag in vehicles that cannot accommodate a rear-facing child seat anywhere except in the front seat, such as pickup trucks and cars either with no rear seats or with small rear seats. The survey showed that 48% of the airbags were left on for child passengers 1 to 12 years old, potentially exposing these children to serious injury or death from the force of deployment. In most of these cases, the drivers erroneously told interviewers airbags needed to be turned off only for babies, or for children younger than their passenger—or they left the switch on all the time, thinking airbags were safe for all of their passengers. Drivers transporting infants achieved the highest, although still not perfect, success: 91% turned off the passenger airbags and only 9% left them on (two drivers in the survey, both driving someone else's truck, an unfamiliar vehicle). The survey also uncovered a problem that occurs when drivers ride with adult passengers. While 82% of the switches were on, as they should be, 18% were switched off. Many of these trucks often transport children, and owners kept the switch turned off permanently to guarantee their child would not be exposed to deployments. However, this deprived the adult passengers of any potential benefits of airbags. The survey report concluded that NHTSA and its partners must increase efforts to educate the public on the dangers of airbags to toddlers and preteens, and their benefits for adults.

Increased fines for drunk drivers in Taiwan

To solve the problem of alcohol impaired driving on motor vehicle injuries, the legislature of Taiwan passed 55 amendments to the Road Traffic Management and Punishment Law in January that took effect in June. The amendments impose more severe fines on driving under the influence of alcohol. Offenders face fines of between US$500 and US$2000, depending on the size of the vehicle driven and the degree of the driver's blood alcohol content. The legal limit is set at 0.25 mg/l. The minimum fine will increase from US$500 to US$650 when the figure reaches 0.4 mg/l and to US$800 when it reaches 0.55 mg/l. Those who refuse to have their breath alcohol content tested face an additional fine of US$2000 and will have their driver's licence revoked. Under another amendment, parents or guardians who leave children under the age of 6 or who require special care alone in the car will face a fine and a compulsory four hour lecture course on road safety. Fines for street-racing on motorbikes will have a new maximum set at US$600 per individual and between US$500 and US$3000 for each individual in a “joy-riding” group. For offenders under the age of 18, parents or legal guardians will be subject to having their names revealed to the media and may be compelled to attend lecture courses on road safety. In a tightening of seat belt regulations, starting on 1 September 2001, automobile drivers will face a fine of US$50 when a front seat passenger fails to fasten their seat belt. Talking on a cellular phone while driving rates a US$60 fine.

Fisher-Price quits restraint business

Fisher-Price has stopped production on all of its child restraints. Retailers and the US buying public did not support the company's niche, according to a company spokesperson. Fisher-Price had positioned itself as an upper-middle price range producer of innovative restraints designed to overcome safety challenges.

Pedestrians Association renamed

For the past 72 years, the Pedestrians Association has campaigned for better facilities and improved safety for pedestrians in the UK. It has met with significant successes including the driving test and the 30 mph speed limit. Now it feels that it is time to rebrand itself with a change of name to Living Streets.

Greater government role in car safety sought by Americans

The results of a recent poll, published in the Transportation Journal, showed an increasing tolerance for US government intervention in auto safety as well as for stiffer fines and sentences for those who break existing rules. The authors, Lieb and Wiseman, found that Americans wanted greater federal intervention in auto safety, harsher penalties for drunk drivers, and believed that increased auto safety was worth a higher retail price. Results included, by a 2:1 margin, respondents believed that the blood alcohol concentration legal limit should be lowered to 0.06 from the current 0.08; 62% of respondents strongly supported the use of roadblocks as sobriety checkpoints; respondents under age 35 would give much stiffer penalties and fines to drunk drivers than respondents aged 65 years and older; and almost two thirds of passengers and drivers now wear safety belts—but 80% believed it should be mandatory.

Future burden of falls prompts development of prevention policy

A recent analysis in the state of New South Wales, conservatively predicted the impact of demographic changes on bed day resources required to treat falls among older persons over the next 50 years will equate to 800 additional hospital beds (four 200 bed hospitals), and will need 1200 additional nursing home places. The major increase in demand in both these environments will come from women aged 75 years or more and will start to have an impact in 10 years. To manage this expected increase, the State Department of Health is developing a fall injury policy which will include what are being termed prevention strategies for investment at community, acute care and residential care settings. The major objective of the policy must be to hold the prevalence of fall related admissions in the future to current levels. The policy is currently in draft and is currently being discussed within the department. The draft considers action in areas such as patient “at risk” identification, patient management, adverse event monitoring, research requirements, partnership development with local government and public place managers, increased access to gentle exercise programs for those living independently in the community, and many more. Copies of the policy draft together with copies of the prediction study mentioned above are available from the Department's Injury Prevention Unit or from Principal Policy Officer Pam Albany, palba{at}doh.health.nsw.gov.au.

Home is where the heartache is

More people are killed in the home every week than die in road accidents, according to new figures published in the UK Department of Trade and Industry's annual Home Accident Surveillance System (HASS) Report. The figures show 76 people are killed in accidents in the home every week; more than 1.2 million people a year have to visit their accident and emergency (A&E) department after a fall in the home—this year, one in 12 people aged over 75 will go to the A&E department after having a fall; every day 55 preschool children go to A&E with burns and scalds suffered in their own home—mostly from spilled cups of tea. There are 99 000 injuries every year in “do it yourself” related activities—40 000 involving ladders; and 590 000 people a year need emergency treatment after colliding with an object or another person in the home. Information on Department of Trade and Industry Safety Campaigns can be found at www.dti.gov.uk/homesafetynetwork/index.htm.

Multiuse strollers recalled

In June, US nursery goods company Century Products voluntarily recalled about 650 000 strollers, in collaboration with the CPSC. The strollers can unexpectedly collapse or the car seat/carrier adapter can unexpectedly detach. When this happens, an infant or young child inside the stroller or an attached car seat/carrier can fall to the ground and suffer serious injuries. Century has received 681 reports of incidents, including 250 injuries when the stroller unexpectedly collapsed or the car seat/carrier adapter detached. These reports include three concussions, two skull fractures, one fractured elbow, and two chipped teeth. The recalled strollers are for toddlers when used alone and for infants when a car seat/carrier is connected to the stroller.

Toy and play safety audit at Birmingham Children's Hospital

As part of its contribution to the UK's Child Safety Week activities, organised annually by the Child Accident Prevention Trust, staff at Birmingham Children's Hospital conducted a check on the safety of toys and play facilities within the hospital in June. The Play Centre staff looked at the cleanliness, accessibility, and state of repair of toys and playroom areas during the audit.

$900 000 civil penalty for delay in reporting cedar chest fatalities

Virginia company Lane has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $900 000 settling CPSC allegations that it failed to report in a timely manner that children could become trapped in two of its cedar chests made between 1912 and 1987. The lids on these pre-1987 chests automatically latch shut when closed. Before April 1996, Lane had received reports that five children suffocated inside these older cedar chests. Under US law, manufacturers are required immediately to report to the CPSC product defects. Since 1987, all Lane cedar chests have been manufactured with lids that do not latch automatically. In 1996, Lane initiated a voluntary lock recall program with CPSC to provide free replacement locks to consumers who owned pre-1987 cedar chests. These replacement locks prevent the lids from latching automatically when shut. After April 1996, Lane learned of two additional deaths and two near fatalities in these older cedar chests and called for a renewed search for the pre-1987 chests.

World Bank initiative criticised

Eminent safety advocates Brian O'Neill from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Dinesh Mohan from Delhi's Indian Institute of Technology, supported by other well known safety experts, have written a highly critical and heavily referenced letter to the World Bank. The authors express their concern about the content of the World Bank's Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP) web site, accusing the World Bank of promoting many initiatives that have never been shown to work when scientifically evaluated, despite warnings when the GRSP was initially being developed. The authors fear that the influence of the funding from the corporate partners may have influenced the decisions. One concern is that the World Bank is advocating the adoption of policies in less motorized countries that not only failed to reduce deaths and injuries in the US, Europe, and elsewhere when they were becoming motorized but also delayed the introduction of effective safety approaches. They call for a programme including the establishment of national and regional road safety agencies with funding earmarked from road building costs, staffed by professionals trained in prevention; the promotion of speed control activities; the development of vehicle safety standards to make them less hazardous to pedestrians and cyclists; and the establishment of more academic research to institutionalise training.

Education by exam?

Does an examination seem like an unusual place to learn about injury? The external examination for Victorian high school students occurs at about age 17. As part of what is called the “general achievement test” there is a writing and comprehension test in which the Assessment Authority has begun using injury data to test student's comprehension and writing skills. The June 2001 test provided two pages of data tables and graphs in various forms and required students to submit a written presentation on the major ideas in the material. The piece was judged on the organization and understanding of the material and clear expression. Using material from state and national road authorities and the Monash University Accident Research Centre, the data was on motorcycles: factors associated with crashes; factors contributing the incidence of crashes and the severity of injury; modes of travel and injury risks for various forms of travel; protective equipment and recommendations for motorcyclists.

Slight increase in US transportation fatalities

Transportation fatalities in the United States rose 0.2% in 2000 over those in 1999, according to preliminary figures in a National Transportation Safety Board report released in September. The figures show that in 2000, 44 186 persons died in highway, rail, airline, aviation and pipeline accidents, up from 44 093 in 1999. Increases in fatalities were registered in highway, aviation, and pipeline while rail and marine fatalities declined. Highway fatalities, which account for more than 94% of all transportation deaths, rose from 41 717 to 41 800. A table and pie chart containing the data in this report can be found on the National Transportation Safety Board web site, www.ntsb.gov/Pressrel/2001/010906.htm.

Improving glass safety in New Zealand schools

Five years after a fatality in Blenheim on New Zealand's South Island, the Ministry of Education is investing NZ$7.5 million on improving glass safety. Every school in the country will be covered by the time the exercise is completed in February 2002. Existing glass is being covered with safety film, but broken glass will be replaced by material complying with the New Zealand standard. A spin-off from the project is a raising of the awareness about glass safety in schools. Further information: Frank Hodgkinson, Property Management Group, Ministry of Education, frank.hodgkinson{at}minedu.govt.nz.

PNCAP contract goes to TRL

The UK's transport research institution, TRL Ltd, has won a major contract from the UK government to examine the feasibility and potential for performing new car assessments in vehicle braking, handling, lighting, visibility, and ergonomics. The Primary New Car Assessment Programme (PNCAP), run by a consortium led by TRL and including Anthony Best Dynamics, BSI Testing and ICE Ergonomics, aims to identify suitable test procedures that will provide useful and understandable information for consumers and also scientifically valid detailed data for vehicle makers. Eventually, the hope is that PNCAP study will form part of a wider new car assessment programme not only in Europe but worldwide.

Infant safety vest for protection on planes

Every day, 10 000 infants and toddlers fly on commercial airlines in the United States according to the National Transportation Safety Board, with in-flight turbulence causing almost 60 infant related injuries each year. More than 85% of children under the age of 2 travel unrestrained on parents' laps, though most major airlines require adult passengers to wear a seat belt throughout the flight. A vest for babies and toddlers under 2 years produced by a Dallas company hopes to address this issue. The infant wears the vest, which attaches quickly and easily to the parent's lap belt during flight. The product cannot legally be used for taxi, takeoff and/or landing because of FAA regulations. Further information from Baby B'Air online at www.babybair.com.

Opposition to pedestrian safety plan

The June issue of the ANEC Newsletter reported that ANEC, the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) and the European Consumers' Organisation (BEUC) have sent a joint letter to the European Commissioners requesting them not to support the European Commission's draft proposal for a voluntary agreement on pedestrian protection. ANEC, BEUC, and ETSC are deeply concerned about the quality of such a negotiated voluntary agreement between the European Commission and the car manufacturers and urge the European Commissioners to reject it on the grounds that it will fail to deliver a high level of protection. Over 9000 pedestrians and cyclists are killed each year throughout the European Union. ANEC, BEUC, and ETSC also object the voluntary agreement on procedural issues. Pedestrian protection is a safety issue and therefore not an appropriate area for experiment with a new and untried form of co-regulation. Furthermore, it is not clear how, or if, other interest groups will be consulted. Concerning the substance of the agreement, the European Commission has not offered the opportunity to see or comment on specific points of the draft agreement. For many years now, consumers and traffic safety experts have been lobbying for a directive containing four pedestrian protection tests that are already used by the EuroNCAP car crash tests. The voluntary agreement that has been proposed by the European Commission's Directorate General Enterprise and ACEA, the association of European car makers, would, in its first phase, provide for the implementation of some sort of safety measures by 2005 for new car models. It seems, however, that the number of pedestrian protection tests would be reduced and the key requirements weakened. Experts believe that this could lead to worse upper leg injuries and more disabling knee injuries than at present. The ANEC Newsletter notes that phase 2 of the voluntary agreement offers industry an enormous loophole that will prolong this uncertain second phase only for many more years.

Soft bedding a factor in playpen deaths

The US CPSC released a report in July 2001 on deaths in playpens. Since 1988, CPSC has reports of more than 200 babies who died while in playpens. In almost 100 of these deaths, soft bedding or improper or extra mattresses were present in the playpen and the babies died of suffocation or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). More than 70% of these deaths were to babies less than 12 months old. Twenty six of the playpen deaths occurred in a daycare setting. Over the years, playpens, portable cribs, and play yards have evolved into virtually identical products. Parents use playpens today as places for babies to both sleep and play. To educate caregivers, CPSC and Mattel, Inc have launched a Sleep Safe, Play Safe campaign to address the two greatest hazards revealed by the study: adding soft bedding and adding extra mattresses or cushions. For years, CPSC has warned about the dangers of soft bedding such as quilts, comforters, and pillows in cribs. Soft bedding can become moulded around an infant's face and cause suffocation. As many as one third of baby deaths attributed to SIDS, in fact, may be suffocation in soft bedding. Other hazards identified in the study were playpens that were in poor condition, had broken or protruding hardware, or had side rails that collapsed creating an entrapment hazard.

Cords on children's clothes

The first meeting of CEN Technical Committee 248 WG20, Textiles and textiles products, was held in London in April 2001. The Working Group will start with specific requirements for cords, but will begin to identify other areas that can be considered in a second phase of work on general guidance for clothing. Key questions that were identified included details of the way in which clothes are sold in different countries (for example by height/clothing size) to help to determine how “children's clothing” will be identified in the standards work; categories of clothes to be included/excluded (for example scarves, ties, hats); whether a younger age is to be excluded (babies not vulnerable to same incidents); consideration of the details of the ASTM standard as a possible source of information, in particular regarding terminology.

Booster conference on science and public policy

A booster seat conference, Closing the Gap Between Science and Public Policy, was held in Washington DC in April. It brought together researchers, engineers, policy makers, and advocates/educators to look at the latest knowledge about belt positioning boosters and to make recommendations. The conference was organized by the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine (AAAM) with support from State Farm Insurance Companies, Volkswagen of America, and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Twelve recommendations were generally agreed upon at the end of the meeting. They range from the need for focused educational programs and better parameters than age and weight for state laws covering children over 40 pounds, to expedited certification of the 10 year dummy and a requirement for all rear seating positions to have three point safety belts. The full text is on the AAAM web site: www.carcrash.org/recs.html and a comprehensive account of the conference has been published in Safe Ride News (for information on how to receive this highly informative publication visit www.saferidenews.com).

Popular Australian child restraints fail crash safety tests

Australian States have long had requirements requiring the use of child restraints and strict requirements that all restraints sold meet the performance requirements of the relevant Australian/New Zealand Standard. Recent testing by road user organizations found that the number of restraints that could be recommended as “preferred buys” has gone down. Only seven of 22 popular child restraints tested and two of the 10 most popular style—so called convertible restraints which are used for babies and then turned around to function as child seats—met the preferred buy criteria. The motoring organizations, NRMA and RACV, used crash tests performed by registered laboratories in front, side, rear, and rollover crashes. The most common reason for a restraint to fail the “preferred buy” criteria was that it allowed the “head” of the test dummy to hit the car door in a side-impact collision. The results of the tests will inform the “preferred buys” programs run by the motoring organizations throughout Australia. Further information can be found at www.shift.nrma.com.au.

Fences under review

Collaboration between TRL and the University of Liverpool Faculty of Veterinary Science is leading to safer cross country fences in work commissioned by the British Eventing Safety Committee. Cross country fences, unlike show jumping fences, are solid obstacles and can lead to falls in which the horse rolls on the rider. An equine crash test dummy had to be developed during the research. The recommended new design of fence ensures that when a cross bar is knocked at a critical speed and angle, a pin holding the bar between the upright poles shears, allowing the bar to drop vertically to the ground between the posts. By preventing the horse rotating over the bar, the rider has a far better chance of remaining seated and retaining control. Further information: enquiries{at}trl.co.uk.

Childhood agricultural injury summit

The Summer 2001 issue of the newsletter from the National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety reports that the Summit on Childhood Agricultural Injury Prevention was strengthened by broad based participation. Ninety representatives from farm organisations, academia, and the health and safety field considered strategic and programme issues, the outcomes of which have been presented to the June National Institute for Farm Safety meetings. Visit http://research.marshfield-clinic.org/children/ for further information.

Acknowledgments

Contributors to these News and Notes include Joe Colella, Anara Guard, Robert Lu, Helena Menezes, Barry Pless, Ian Scott, Charlotte Stark, Deborah Stewart, and Amy Zierler. Michael Hayes has edited the contributions. Items for the June 2002 issue, 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: mh{at}capt.org.uk) by 1 March 2002.

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