Background For consumers, standards are important. When they are properly developed and applied, they can make our lives easier, the products we buy safer, and help prevent injuries and accidents. In order to properly develop standards leading to safer products, it is very important to have accident and injury statistics at our disposal.
Methods One powerful aspect of ANEC’s pan-European network of experts is that it has the ability to spot emerging trends, as there is no pan-European data system that allows this to happen. Thanks to the availability of accident data from some countries, ANEC asked the European Standardisation organisation CEN for standards to be set up for cords and drawstrings on children’s clothing, moveable goals and ‘nappy sacks’, and asked for improving the standards for cigarette lighters and window blinds.
Results ANEC was successful in asking for standards to be set up for cords and drawstrings on children’s clothing, for moveable goals, and in improving the safety of cigarette lighters and window blinds through standardisation. Unfortunately, only a few countries within the EU systematically collect accident and injury data. This lack of data is often used by some stakeholders as an excuse not to improve standards. As a result, ANEC has not been able for the standard for small off-road motorbikes to address child safety aspects, nor for the standard for the safety of children’s clothing to address the risk of hoods. The request from ANEC to set up a standard for ‘nappy sacks’ was not followed up, as data on fatal accidents was only available from one country.
Conclusions Lack of EU-funded accident & injury data system makes it difficult to assess where legislative, standardisation, market surveillance, and/or awareness raising actions are needed and to assess the success of measures/actions taken. Therefore, there is an urgent need for a pan-European accident & injury data system, funded by the European Commission.
- accident & injury data
- product safety
- consumer safety