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941 Preventing childhood injuries through educational posters
  1. P Mtambeka,
  2. N du Toit,
  3. D Schulman,
  4. AB Van As
  1. Childsafe South Africa, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital


Background Since 1991, Childsafe South Africa has gathered available statistics on childhood injuries and deaths presenting at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital Trauma Unit in Cape Town, South Africa. This database serves as a surveillance system on childhood injuries and it is considered to be one of the biggest paediatric injury databases. The database has been systematically analysed for a large number of clinical and epidemiological studies as they relate to childhood injuries.

Childsafe South Africa collaborated with relevant stakeholders and developed educational posters that convey universal safety information and recommendations for families, crèches, and care givers, based on the statistics from the database.

Methods A series of three educational posters (1) “Growing Safely” (2008), (2) “Living Safely” (2010), and (3) “Travelling Safely” (2011) were developed encompassing the various characteristics of children throughout their development and providing corresponding harm reduction principles.

These posters identify the early developmental limitations of the children; recognise typical injuries within specified age groups (from the database); illustrate the best practice scenario and best prevention are organised by age and are coloured with detailed pictures of accident precautions and suggestions.

Results “Growing Safely” is an international award winning poster and depicts the child from birth until age six. It raises crucial awareness by providing safety recommendations, by age, for fall prevention, drowning risks, car safety, and the dangers of common household items.

The “Living Safely” poster was designed in response to a growing number of hot water burns and flame burns. Thus, “Living Safely” is formatted in the same award winning design and addresses burn risks and fire safety. The topics portrayed in “Living Safely” include; sunburn protection, hot water burn prevention, electrical cord/outlet recommendations, and proper fire extinguishing directions.

The most recently developed poster, “Travelling Safely” illustrates age appropriate vehicle restraints, helmet and safety guard suggestions, street crossing advisory, and tips for proper bicycling. To provide such imperative information, the three posters have been translated into local languages.

Conclusion The Childsafe South Africa posters have been well received and regarded as best educational tool not only in South Africa but around the world. People are able to connect with messages as it’s extracted from simple situations that take place on daily basis. Images of real people (children) are being used and the pictorial depictions overcome literacy levels.

  • Educational poster
  • growing safely
  • living safely
  • travelling safely
  • childhood injuries
  • database

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