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PEOPLE IN THE NEWS

Ann Brown resigned on 1 November 2001 as Chairman and Commissioner of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) after more than seven years at the helm of the agency. The longest serving Chairman in the CPSC's history, Brown was appointed by President Clinton and confirmed by the Senate in 1994. She was reappointed and confirmed to a second seven year term in 1999. Brown's goal as Chairman was to keep families safe, and she made the safety of children a top personal priority. Brown has set up a non-profit organization named SAFE, Safer America for Everyone, to promote consumer health and safety, launched on November 3. More information about SAFE can be found on its web site, www.saferam.org. During Brown's tenure as CPSC Chairman, the agency's funding increased by over 25%. Civil penalty amounts increased 2500%. CPSC announced, on average, more than 300 product recalls each year. CPSC passed several important safety regulations during her time at the agency, including standards for cigarette lighters, bunk beds, bicycle helmets, fireworks, dive sticks, and improved child resistant packaging. Brown always emphasized her interest in pursuing voluntary cooperation with industry. Under her leadership, the agency agreed to five times as many voluntary standards as mandatory, including voluntary standards for baby walkers, high chairs, crib slats, strollers, play yards, halogen lamps, and mobile soccer goals. Brown also secured a cooperative agreement with the children's clothing industry to remove drawstrings from the necks of children's outer garments (a strangling hazard).

Thomas Moore, who has served as a commissioner at the US CPSC since 1995 has become Acting Chairman, replacing Anne Brown.

Caroline Warne has been appointed to chair ISO/COPOLCO, the ISO committee on consumer policy for a period of two years from January 2002. She has chaired the British Standards Institution's Consumer Policy Committee over the past three years and has a background in psychology, spending some years researching accidents and safety. While with the UK government's Consumer Safety Unit, she was instrumental in establishing the Home Accident Surveillance System, one of the few national home accident databases. She has represented consumer interests on a range of BSI technical committees including fire test methods and nursery furniture. She is the UK national observer to ANEC and until her appointment to the Chair of ISO/COPOLCO has led the UK delegation to COPOLCO I, where she has been an active member of COPOLCO working groups. She sees an increasing role for standards (whether for products or services) in protecting consumers, particularly vulnerable consumers, nationally, in Europe and internationally. Caroline is also a trustee of the Child Accident Prevention Trust.

Marion Clifton Blakey has been sworn in as the ninth Chairman of the US National Transportation Safety Board. Ms Blakey has served in a number of positions in government, most recently as Administrator of the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) (1992–93). As the nation's leading highway safety official, she was charged with reducing deaths, injuries and economic losses resulting from motor vehicle crashes. For the last eight years, she has been the principal of Blakey & Associates, a Washington, DC public affairs consulting firm particularly focusing on transportation issues and traffic safety.

EUROPEAN CHILD SAFETY ALLIANCE

On the anniversary of the signing of the UN convention on the Rights of the Child in November 2001, the European Child Safety Alliance was officially launched at a press conference in Brussels. The alliance is a platform for European campaigning for child safety. It intends to make the issue of injury prevention visible to European authorities and decision makers, to influence decision making in view of a safer world for children, and to extend partnership in a national and European context. The main focus is safety for young children in relation to the domestic environment, the kindergarten, transportation and at school.

REVISED NHTSA BOOSTER RECOMMENDATION

In November, the US government agency, NHTSA, issued a revised booster seat recommendation. It now says that all children who have outgrown child safety seats should be properly restrained in booster seats until they are at least 8 years old, unless they are more than 4' 9” (1.45 m) tall. NHTSA is reviewing its child passenger safety web site as well as all printed materials to update the information on booster seats to reflect the revised recommendation.

CIPCC PROJECT

The Canadian Injury Prevention and Control Curriculum (CIPCC) project, funded by Health Canada and administered by the Alberta Centre for Injury Control and Research and Plan-it Safe: Child & Youth Injury Prevention Centre, has developed a flexible, modular curriculum to increase the number of individuals prepared with the same basic understanding of the epidemiology of injury; the principles of injury control; the basic injury data systems; applied research and planning methodologies; and, program development, implementation, and evaluation. Eight pilot workshops in seven provinces across the country have been conducted between October 2001 and February 2002. Feedback from participants and facilitators of the pilots are being used to revise and edit the final draft of the curriculum for distribution in Fall 2002. Also, participants will be asked to partake in a six month follow up survey to aid in the evaluation of the project. Telephone +1 780 492 6019 for more information.

NEW PRODUCT SAFETY DIRECTIVE

In October, the European Parliament endorsed the revised Directive on General Product Safety. David Byrne, European Union Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, welcomed their action, claiming that the new directive will make significant improvements to the rules for protecting consumer health and safety for non-food products. It will update, reinforce, and complete the current rules that have been in place since 1992. The overall aim of general product safety rules is to impose an obligation to market only safe products and to ensure a consistent and high level of protection of consumer health and safety and the proper functioning of the internal market. General product safety rules are complementary to community legislation, which sets specific safety requirements for specific products. The main features of the revision are: clarification of the products that are covered by general product safety rules—in future the rules will apply to all consumer products, including products “migrating” from the professional sector to the consumer market and products used or made available to consumers by service providers such as beauty centres, hotels etc; a better definition and reinforcement of the responsibilities of producers and distributors, including the responsibility to recall dangerous products when necessary; and increased transparency, which obliges producers and distributors to inform authorities and collaborate with them if products are found to be dangerous. It also gives consumers the right to know which products are dangerous and what action has been taken. The directive requires more active market surveillance and better collaboration between national surveillance authorities, including the establishment of European Product Safety Network; more stringent criteria for assessing product safety; simpler rules for rapid intervention at community level to remove dangerous products from the market, and strengthened operational rules for the EU Rapid Alert System. The final text includes a ban on the export to third countries of products prohibited in the EU as proposed by the commission, with a limited possibility for exemptions. EU member states have two years to implement the new rules at national level.

BIKE HELMET LEGISLATION

The Alberta Legislature has passed a bill requiring all bike riders under 18 to wear a bike helmet. The legislature has taken a strong advocacy position on safety for children and teens in this province. The passage of the bill was the culmination of nine years of advocacy work by Kidsafe Connection, the Pediatric Injury Prevention Program at Edmonton's Stollery Children's Hospital, to promote the use of bike helmets in reducing head injury in the province. In analyzing the journey a few essential factors led to the success of the bill: an increasing body of scientific evidence to support the efficacy of bike helmets in reducing head/facial injury; individual and group lobby efforts; a survey showing that 77% of Alberta's parents supported bike helmet legislation; and developing a trusting and respectful relationship with a legislative champion. This bill will be help every child and teen under 18 years in the province of Alberta.

JELLY CUPS RECALLED

Recalls of all minicup jelly products containing Konjac have been announced in Canada, Australia, and the UK. These individually packaged jellies, about the size of a single serving coffee creamer and sometimes containing a candy centre, are inexpensive and popular. They are also responsible for at least 15 child deaths worldwide and are considered a hazard for the elderly as well. The size, shape, and consistency of these jellies make them a perfect plug for small airways and are extremely difficult to dislodge. Because the little nuggets of jelly are packaged in a small plastic cup, consumers often suck them out of the cup or tip them back into the mouth to get at the treat. The major problem, explained the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, is that Konjac does not dissolve easily in the mouth or throat, unlike other gelatin-like products. Even a good Heimlich maneuver may not work to dislodge it.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE AND FAMILY VIOLENCE

Australian Aboriginal leaders have agreed on a national plan to tackle family violence. The aim of the plan is to develop a national framework while supporting local solutions to family violence in Aboriginal communities. An audit will be conducted of programs trying to tackle the problem. At the announcement of the National Indigenous Family Violence Working Group, a community social justice spokesman described family violence as a “problem of plague proportions” and that Australia “does not realise ... how extremely bad this issue of family violence is”. Family violence within indigenous communities came to national prominence mid-year after a major newspaper ran rape allegations made by four indigenous women against the man who is the chair of the national indigenous people's commission (ATSIC). The allegations, relating to events 20 years ago, sparked a wider, heated debate on abuse problems in indigenous communities.

PUBLIC HEALTH RECOGNITION FOR INJURY IN CANADA

At its annual meeting in Saskatoon, the Canadian Public Health Association identified injury prevention and control as an additional priority for the association. It will develop a position paper on the public health approach to injury prevention and control in Canada. The association called on the Canadian government to take the lead in the development of a national injury prevention strategy and to resource it in collaboration with the provincial and territorial governments. A resolution on ways to reduce hot water temperature settings to no greater than 49°C for every dwelling, to cut the risk of scalds from tap water, was referred to the association's board for further consideration.

CALL FOR US BABY WALKER BAN

Joining their colleagues in Canada at last, the American Academy of Pediatrics has called for a ban on the manufacture and sale of mobile infant walkers. The Committee on Injury and Poison Prevention's policy statement can be found on the web site of the journal Pediatricswww.pediatrics.org or in the September 2001 issue of the journal.

CHILD SAFETY IN EURONCAP

EuroNCAP, the European car crash test programme, has introduced a new protocol to look at how the car manufacturer protects a 6 month old and a 3 year old child. The introduction of child protection in the scheme's star rating is a big success for consumers.

CHILD RESTRAINT SCORING

Work in underway on both sides of the Atlantic to develop a scoring system for the safety and usability of child restraints. The US government has published proposals in a comprehensive docket that reviews the pros and cons of using existing regulatory tests or new car assessment programme crashes for comparative testing. It proposes a variation on the usability scheme developed by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia to give consumers guidance on how easy it is to ensure that a restraint is fitted and used correctly. Meanwhile, in Europe TRL Ltd has launched initial proposals for a similar test programme for European restraints. Discussions involving crash researchers, government representatives, restraint and car manufacturers, and consumer groups are focussing on the nature of the crash tests to which restraints should be subjected and how best to handle the usability issue.

EUROPEAN COMMUNITY AND “SCOOTERS”

The European Commission has rules that, in principle, scooters have to be considered as toys, and therefore, covered by toy safety directives. Two exceptions are possible: scooters designed and marketed to be used at sporting events of for physical training, and scooters designed and marketed exclusively for use by adults as a vehicle. The catch-all General Product Safety Directive covers these two types of scooters. The existing harmonised toys safety standard (EN 71-1:1998) does not cover all safety aspects for scooters. Therefore, manufacturers have to proceed to an EC-type examination before affixing the CE marking on their scooters. The relevant European standards committee CEN/TC52 has decided to amend the toys standard to include additional requirements and test methods for scooters. CEN/TC136 “Sports and playground equipment” is working in a separate standard for scooters considered as sport equipment.

WISQARS 2000 ESTIMATES AVAILABLE

National estimates for non-fatal injuries treated in US emergency departments for the year 2000 are available in WISQARS (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System). The data are from the expanded National Electronic Injury Surveillance System All Injury Program operated by the CPSC. This expanded system is the result of a collaborative effort between the CPSC and the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, CDC. There is an extensive quality assurance program to ensure the high quality of the data. In WISQARS non-fatal injuries, there is a HELP feature and a tutorial that gives a description of the data system as well as definitions of data elements and coded categories. This system allows users to extract national estimates and rates of non-fatal injuries by intent of injury, external cause of injury groupings, age, sex, disposition at discharge from the emergency department (for example, treated and released, hospitalized, transferred), and national estimates by race/ethnicity. There is a download feature at the bottom of each table for people who want to manipulate the data further into figures and graphs. Currently, estimates are based on a total of approximately 230 000 first time emergency department visits. Visit www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars to try out this powerful system.

CANADA'S SAFE KIDS WEEK

Canada's Safe Kids Week, slated for 3–9 June 2002, will highlight sports and recreation safety, with the emphasis on fun and safety for “kids on wheels”. Cycling deaths among children under 16 in Canada still number close to 30 annually, and close to 2000 children are hospitalized. The new lightweight scooters, along with in-line skating and skateboarding, account for thousands of emergency room visits, many of which result in hospital stays as well. Helmet use in Canada remains inconsistent, with only four of 13 provincial jurisdictions having legislation on helmet use. The annual campaign, organized by Safe Kids Canada, combines a national media strategy, in-store promotions by the lead sponsor Johnson & Johnson, and local activities from several hundred community organizations. All public education materials are available in English and French. This year's campaign will stress the need for helmets and for kids to learn to handle their “wheels” in a safe environment. For more information, contact Safe Kids Canada at www.safekidscanada.ca or +1 416 813 6766.

CHILD RESISTANT PACKAGING

The US CPSC is to require child resistant packaging for some common household products and cosmetics containing hydrocarbons that can poison children. Examples of household products and cosmetics covered by the new packaging regulation include some baby oils; sunscreens; nail enamel dryers; hair oils; bath, body and massage oils; makeup removers; some automotive chemicals; cleaning solvents (wood oil cleaners, metal cleaners, spot removers, adhesive removers); some water repellents containing mineral spirits used for decks, shoes, and sports equipment; general use household oil; and gun cleaning solvents containing kerosene. If these products contain 10% or more hydrocarbons by weight and have a low viscosity (that is, are “watery”), they will have to be in child resistant packaging. Thicker products are less likely to be aspirated. CPSC is aware of five fatalities of children under 5 years old since 1993 involving the aspiration of hydrocarbon products. Data from the American Association of Poison Control Centers for 1993 to 1999 revealed 11 115 potential aspiration exposures to cosmetic and household products containing hydrocarbons. The new packaging for affected products containing hydrocarbons must be in use by October 2002.

ACCURATE POLICE INJURY DATA

Jim Nixon and Caroline Acton in Queensland have been amassing data collected from a local study of bull bar related trauma and are finding local police data very accurate indeed as far as the major injuries are concerned, contrary to what is usually reported in the literature.

AAP POLICY ON AGRICULTURAL INJURIES

The October issue of Pediatrics contains a policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics on preventing agricultural injuries among children and adolescents.

CONCERNS OVER EHLASS

ANEC, the body that coordinates consumer representation on European standards committees, is continuing to monitor developments of EHLASS, the European Home and Leisure Accident Surveillance System. ANEC has serious concerns on the future of the system, as the registration of EHLASS accidents has already stopped in several EU member states because the European Commission's funding has ceased. It has become the task of the member states to provide the funds, but without any obligation to do so. The continuation of EHLASS is crucial for consumer safety in the EU. If this system stops functioning as a common European accident surveillance system, a significant source of expertise will be lost and it will mean a reduction in the efforts made for better consumer product safety in the EU. ANEC has called for the European Commission to place an obligation on the member states to provide funding for the system.

AMA ADVICE TO PARENTS OF TEENAGERS

The American Medical Association has released new tip sheets for parents of teens on tobacco, alcohol, and violence prevention. Read the full story at www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/article/1987-5480.html#9.

“FLOATING SEATS” ARE NOT TOYS

The European Commission has rules that “floating seats” for children are learning devices, not toys. They are therefore covered by the General Product Safety Directive and cannot be designed in such a way that would lead parents and children to confuse this “learning device” with a toy. If market surveillance authorities find floating seats sold with the CE mark (which must be placed on all toys sold in the EU), or produced to give the appearance that they are toys, they will remove them from the market.

CPSC AND MATTRESS FIRE SAFETY

The US CPSC has voted to begin developing a safety standard to reduce the severity of mattress fires and to make mattresses less flammable. The new standard will address fires ignited by sources such as candles, matches, and lighters. The goal is to minimize the deaths and injuries from fires started in bedding and mattresses by limiting the size and spread of the fire. There already is a federal standard requiring mattresses to be resistant to cigarette ignition. Mattress and bedding fires are one of the leading causes of injuries and were second only to upholstered furniture in the number of fire related deaths in 1998. In 1998, mattresses or bedding items were first to ignite in about 18 100 residential fires that resulted in 390 deaths and 2160 hospital emergency room injuries in the US. These fires cost more than $200 million in property damage. “From 1994 through 1998, over three quarters of the deaths relating to mattress and bedding fires ignited from such sources as candles, lighters and matches were to children under the age of 15”, noted Ann Brown, CPSC's then Chairman. Most of these fires begin when a small, open flame ignites bedding. The bedding fire can then grow into a much larger fire involving the mattress. The vote directs CPSC staff to issue an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking for publication in the Federal Register, the first step in agency rulemaking. Since 1998, CPSC has been researching options for addressing mattress fire hazards from open flames.

DOCUDRAMAS IN AUSTRALIA

In Australia, docudramas are used to highlight the horrors of road crashes to school students. They are “mocked up” incident scenarios undertaken by students in grade 12 (about 17 years) in which a car is acquired from a wrecker's yard, the students are made-up and sit in the car, except one “dead” one who is on the bonnet or nearby. The real emergency services arrive and undertake extrication of victims, provide emergency life support and first aid, fire extinguishing, and removal of body by undertaker. Meanwhile a lawyer talks about legal ramifications and a trauma doctor discusses the injuries and sequelae for victims, their families, etc. Caroline Acton, a surgeon, who contributed this item questions whether there are lasting effects—positive or negative—from such events. If you have a view or know of similar initiatives, get in touch with Caroline at c.acton{at}mailbox.uq.edu.au.

AUTOMATIC SECURITY GATES

The CPSC has alerted consumers to a tougher safety standard that should prevent children from becoming trapped in automatic security gates. These sliding or swinging gates are typically found at the entrances of residences, apartment buildings, condominiums, parking lots and garages, and commercial establishments. Since 1985, CPSC has learned of 32 deaths related to automatic gates, including 20 deaths to children. Each year over 2000 people, including 800 children, are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries to the head, neck, arm, or hand. Many older gates do not have sensing devices or reversing mechanisms to prevent these entrapments.

DOES PREGNANCY AFFECT INJURY?

In June/July 2001, the national body for the (mainly) female sport of netball in Australia announced that it would be changing its rules to ban pregnant women (at whatever stage of their pregnancy) from playing the sport, full stop. It would seem that the issue arose because a master's thesis suggested that there could be a risk of litigation from mothers and children further down the track, claiming damages sustained as a result of severe trauma during sporting activity. In August, the Australian Sports Commission organised a medical and league forum to discuss issues relating to pregnancy, sports participation, and risks to both mother and unborn child. Professor Caroline Finch from Deakin University presented an overview of the risks of abdominal injury during sport and a representative of the Australian Medical Association discussed risks to the fetus during sports participation. Netball Australia is seriously considering removing the ban. Papers from the forum are being published as a special supplement of the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.

KIDS AND AIRCRAFT

The Federal Aviation Administration is drafting a rule mandating that children under 2 have their own seat while flying, and will have to be placed in safety seats, the agency says. That pleases the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which has published a policy statement on the topic in its journal Pediatrics. Dr Marilyn Bull, of Indiana University School of Medicine and Chairwoman of the academy committee that approved the new policy statement, noted that infants are the only occupants or items on an airline that are not required to be restrained or put away. “Even coffeepots have to be put away”. Non-fatal injuries not related to crashes occur during turbulence, and parents cannot adequately provide restraint for by holding an infant or young child in their arms.

VICTORIAN LEGISLATION: INDUSTRIAL MANSLAUGHTER

The Victorian government has announced that the legislation that would enable companies to be prosecuted for workplace deaths will be introduced into parliament. Attorney General Rob Hulls and WorkCover Minister Bob Cameron said the Crimes (Workplace Deaths & Serious Injuries) Bill would allow owners or company directors to be prosecuted for “gross negligence” even if they liquidate or close down their companies in a bid to avoid being charged; make it easier to prosecute larger businesses whose “gross negligence” contributed to the death or serious injury of an employee, and increase penalties for breaches of occupational health and safety laws. Thirty one Victorians were killed at work in 2000. So far this year, 25 Victorians have been killed at work. “The existing law is unfair—it effectively only captures small businesses leaving large corporations immune. Under the new laws grossly negligent corporations, whether they are large or small, will now face the same legal consequences”, Mr Hulls said.

EU PEDESTRIAN SAFETY PROPOSALS

In November 2001, the EU Internal Market Council supported the car industry's and the European Commission's negotiated agreement on safer car fronts. Having favoured a directive on safer car fronts in June, this change of position on the part of the council has been criticised by consumer bodies as a complete cave-in to the car industry and goes against the public interest. According to Jeanne Breen, Director of the European Transport Safety Council, it is beyond belief given the facts presented on the poor safety content of the agreement. Breen noted that it requires by 2012 only 25% of the safety of the alternative EEVC researched legislative tests despite the fact that a car offering 70% of this level safety is on the road now. For European consumer groups, ANEC and BEUC, the EEVC tests are the only scientifically validated test and as European Commission's DG Enterprise acknowledges, their implementation in full could save up to 2000 lives annually. They also feel that find pedestrian safety is too important an area to experiment with new types of coregulation such as voluntary agreements, particularly as it is unclear how compliance will be ensured.

GRADUATED DRIVER LICENCE PROGRAM IN MANITOBA

From October 2001, Manitoba's new graduated driver licence (GDL) program has restricted all novice drivers, regardless of age, to a zero blood alcohol content when operating a motor vehicle today. The zero alcohol restriction, the first initiative under the GDL program, will apply to all drivers with learner licences, probationary licences, and motorcycle instruction permits. Any driver in these categories, regardless of age, will be issued an immediate 24 hour suspension at roadside if found to have a blood alcohol content greater than zero and up to and including 0.08. Novice drivers who violate the zero alcohol tolerance law will be required to attend a hearing to determine additional penalties, including further licence suspensions. Drivers who have a blood alcohol content over 0.08 or refuse a breathalyser or blood test are subject to the existing strong sanctions. Penalties include a 24 hour roadside suspension, automatic minimum 30 day vehicle impoundment, automatic three month administrative licence suspension, mandatory alcohol assessment, minimum one year licence suspension if convicted of a criminal code offence and licence reinstatement fees. The second GDL initiative, scheduled to come into effect in 2002, will require new drivers to hold a learner licence for at least nine months before taking a road test. Novice Manitoba drivers have higher alcohol related collision rates than experienced drivers. Manitoba's GDL program is expected to be fully implemented in 2003.

FARM SAFETY REPORTS

The National Adolescent Farmworker Occupational Health and Safety Committee (NAFOHSAC) has published a report to be used as a planning tool in improving working conditions for adolescent farmworkers. The NAFOHSAC report, edited by Vela Acosta and Lee, is the result of an 18 month consensus development project involving health care providers, farmworkers, parents, adolescent community groups, non-government organizations, federal agency representatives, and agricultural employers. The committee was convened by the National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, a program of Marshfield Medical Research Foundation, Marshfield, Wisconsin. The committee's recommendations are designed to reduce risk of occupational injuries and diseases resulting from exposures to agricultural work environments; promote knowledge and skills in agricultural health and safety for hired migrant and seasonal adolescent farmworkers; and encourage constructive, prosperous, and healthy beginnings to work life for hired adolescent farmworkers. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) provided major funding for the NAFOHSAC report.

The report from the 2001 Summit on Childhood Agricultural Injury Prevention (edited by Lee and Marlenga) has also been published. It makes 12 recommendations using working and non-working children as points of reference. The summit was also convened by the National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety. Representatives of farm organizations joined health and safety professionals in generating themes for the report. They included the need for multiagency, interdisciplinary efforts; the impact of changing rural sociology and worker demographics; and the need to focus on migrant and seasonal adolescent workers. The 2001 summit was built upon the National Action Plan of 1996, which achieved congressional support and was later implemented by NIOSH. NIOSH provided major funding for the 2001 Summit Report. See http://research.marshfieldclinic.org/children/ To order bound copies, tel: +1 888 924 7233 or +1 715 389 4999.

I PROMISE PROGRAM

The aim of this initiative is to reduce car crashes attributable to novice teen drivers. The program consists of a parent-teen mutual safe driving contract and a rear window decal. The decal displays a toll-free number to enable community reports of driver behaviour. Calls are taken by a call center and delivered to the family for the information to be addressed as set out within the mutual safe driving contract. The program presents a positive and potent communication tool to enable discussion and consensus building between parent and teen on mutual obligations and responsibilities with respect to being appropriate road users. The program then takes the dialogue a step further by facilitating a public commitment by parents and teen as established with the rear window decal and the 1-800 number. Harvard University, School of Public Health is conducting research on behalf of the program in the US and Plan-It Safe, from the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, in affiliation with the University of Ottawa, is conducting research here in Canada. The distribution model for the program is by way of partnerships with automobile insurance companies. Learn more about the program at www.ipromiseprogram.com or through Gary Direnfeld, the program's Executive Director, email: gary123{at}sympatico.ca.

WHO INITIATIVE ON SEXUAL VIOLENCE

A Consultation on the Health Sector Response to Sexual Violence was organized by WHO in June 2001. It brought together experts from various sectors and regions to discuss normative guidance on the medical and legal response to persons who have experienced sexual violence. Participants reviewed existing medical and legal responses to sexual violence in a variety of socioeconomic contexts, identified challenges and opportunities for normative guidance in the area of sexual violence, and proposed normative documents for integrated medicolegal and health services to sexual violence survivors. Consultation participants decided that there was a need to produce two separate documents: policy standards for the provision of adequate services, and a guide to develop protocols for the medical management of survivors of sexual violence. While the policy document will define the policy standards necessary to ensure the provision of appropriate and ethical services to survivors, the guide will be used to build capacity of health professionals to document cases of sexual violence, collect evidence, and provide health care to persons who experienced sexual violence. These documents will be developed over the next year by teams of experts and then field tested in at least one country in each region. Once a draft of the guidelines is produced, WHO will organise regional courses on appropriate service provision in cases of sexual violence, and on the integration of the guidelines into country plans of action. Project leaders hope that at the end of the initiative, countries will have used the documents to strengthen the health system response to sexual violence, and have established an intersectoral national structure to approach the problem in a comprehensive manner.

ROAD SAFETY PROCEEDINGS AVAILABLE

Papers from the 12th Canadian Multi-disciplinary Road Safety Conference in London, Ontario in June 2001 are available on CD-ROM for $25 (Canadian). The 60 papers from within and outside of Canada include analyses of the speed dynamics of the popular new microscooters, how well child car seats hold up in real-world damage tests, and the effectiveness of pedestrian safety programs. To order the disk, visit the website at www.carsp.ca.

AUSTRALIAN FARM INJURY PROJECT

The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council has awarded a four year project grant for a prospective case-control study of serious farm work related injury among males. The study will recruit 300 injured farmers with maximum abbreviated injury score of 3 or more and 600 age matched controls from the study area and compare them on a range of farm and individual factors. The study is expected to provide a continuing scientific basis for development and selection of interventions for farm injury and targeting for prevention programs, at a time of increasing momentum in agricultural health and safety in Australia. The study will be conducted by a team of researchers from Monash University and University of Melbourne in Australia, New Zealand's University of Otago, and the University of Saskatchewan in Canada. Further details: Dr Lesley Day, Monash University Accident Research Centre, Melbourne, Australia, tel: + 61 3 9905 1811, fax: +61 3 9905 1809, email: lesley.day{at}general.monash.edu.au.

MOTOR VEHICLE INJURIES

The American Journal of Preventive Medicine, in collaboration with CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control and the Task Force on Community Preventive Services, has released a special supplement containing systematic reviews of 13 community based interventions to reduce motor vehicle related injuries and deaths. Learn more about this special supplement online at www.cdc.gov/ncipc/duip/mvsafety.htm. The supplement highlights results from systematic reviews of scientific literature on interventions to decrease alcohol-impaired driving, increase the use of child safety seats, and increase use of safety belts. The Task Force on Community Preventive Services, an independent, non-federal panel of community health experts, issued recommendations for implementing interventions with demonstrated effectiveness based on the reviews conducted by CDC scientists. Visit www.thecommunityguide.org for more information about the Community Guide, complete text for each of the supplement articles, brief summaries of the interventions, and task force recommendations. The findings can be used to support or expand local motor vehicle injury prevention programs and to promote the adoption, maintenance, or strengthening of traffic safety laws. If you would like hard copies of the supplement, contact David Sleet (+1 770 488 4699, email: DSleet{at}cdc.gov).

ALCOHOL AND INJURY

Alcohol is often implicated in injury, and a web based resource for Canadian teachers is designed to assist in teaching young teenagers about the risks of alcohol. “Your Life: Your Choice!” web site is a collection of educational resources for use with 13–14 year olds. As with many materials in Canada, the site has both English and French versions. The site was developed by a national group of curriculum and addiction experts, with funding from the Brewers Association of Canada. A report on its development is available from Judy Roberts at judyrobe{at}istar.ca, and the web address itself is www.schoolnet.ca/alcohol.

AUSTRALIA AND BUNK BEDS

The major injury mechanisms associated with bunk beds are falling (from the top bunk), head and limb entrapment and hanging by protrusions in the vicinity of the top bunk. A mandatory standard has been developed to remove from the market the main hazards that contribute to child injuries in bunk beds. It requires the provision of guardrails to reduce the high incidence of falls from the top bunk and the elimination of hanging protrusions. Information can be found at www.consumersonline.gov.au.

TRADE OR CHILDREN?

At the beginning of September 2001, a parliamentary question was raised by a Greek member of the European Parliament concerning the protection of children from the dangers that are created by toys or other inedibles imbedded in food. In its answer, the commission considered the application of internal commerce rules in the European Union to be of higher priority than the safety of young consumers. Commissioner Liikanen implied that he does not intend to propose the prohibition of foodstuffs that include toys because, he said, a balance must be kept between ensuring the protection of consumers and securing the free circulation of goods. For this reason, the commission will not permit the adoption of measures at national level if these measures are not fully justified. ANEC, the European consumer group has been highlighting to the commission the dangers of inedibles in food since 1997 and in 2001 asked the commission to consider a standardization mandate for these products, in order to have at least some rules to protect children's lives and their health. No decision has been taken so far.

KITCHEN CONFERENCES

The Canadian Institute for Child Health is developing a series of interactive, on-line parenting resources which include safety and injury prevention, among many other topics. The “kitchen conferences” are described as a case study in disseminating current research on early childhood development directly to parents in ways that can help them improve the child's chances of a healthy start in life. The institute can be reached at www.cich.ca or +1 613 230 8838 in Ottawa.

FIREARM INJURY

The Firearm Injury Center at Penn (FICAP) recently received a grant from the Joyce Foundation to expand partnerships between healthcare professionals, researchers, and communities. Founded at the University of Pennsylvania in 1997, its mission is to create safer communities through the systematic reduction of firearm injury and its repercussions to the individual, family, and society. To this end, the center plans to pursue data driven strategies that translate research into viable interventions and policy. FICAP is committed to an interdisciplinary approach to produce new scholars and scholarship in firearm violence research. Current research activities cover a broad range of topics relating to firearm injury and violence. New data surveillance systems, established in three less urbanized areas of the United States, provide local partners with fully linked, population based data to guide their firearm injury reduction efforts. Other research projects underway include: urban-rural differences in firearm violence; comparisons of firearm and non-firearm causes of violent death; contributing factors to firearm injury among hospitalized patients; the geography of firearm violence for neighborhoods across six cities; the influence of alcohol outlets on firearm violence; and the risks for firearm suicide. For further details: Rose Cheney, Executive Director, FICAP, 3440 Market Street, First Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19104-3335, USA (email: ficap{at}uphs.upenn.edu or visit the web site: www.uphs.upenn.edu/ficap).

Contributors to these news and notes include Caroline Acton, Rose Cheney, Les Fisher, Anara Guard, Barb Lee, Morag MacKay, Barry Pless, Ian Scott, Jan Shield, David Sleet, Kathy Weber, Rhea Yates, and Amy Zierler. Michael Hayes has edited the contributions. Items for the September 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 June 2002.

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