OBJECTIVES: In Sweden about 100 children 0-14 years die from accidental injuries every year, roughly 40 girls and 60 boys. To reduce this burden the Safe Community concept was developed in Falköping, Sweden in 1975. Several years later a second programme was initiated in Lidköping. The objectives of this paper are to describe the programme in Lidköping and to relate it to changes in injury occurrence. SETTING: The Lidköping Accident Prevention Programme (LAPP) was compared with four bordering municipalities and to the whole of Skaraborg County. METHODS: The programme included five elements: surveillance, provision of information, training, supervision, and environmental improvements. Process evaluation was based mainly on notes and reports made by the health planners, combined with newspaper clippings and interviews with key people. Outcome evaluation was based on information from the hospital discharge registry. RESULTS: In Lidköping there was an on average annual decrease in injuries leading to hospital admissions from 1983 to 1991 of 2.4% for boys and 2.1% for girls compared with a smaller decline in one comparison area and an increase in the other. CONCLUSION: Because the yearly injury numbers are small there is a great variation from year to year. However, comparisons over the nine year study period with the four border municipalities and the whole of Skaraborg County strengthen the impression that the programme has had a positive effect. The findings support the proposition that the decrease in the incidence of childhood injuries after 1984 could be attributed to the intervention of the LAPP. Nevertheless, several difficulties in drawing firm conclusions from community based studies are acknowledged and discussed.
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