Background Under the auspicious of the Decade of Action for Road Safety, the Ministry of Health of Portugal, on 11 may 2011, launch a national project on child safety promotion aimed to increase the use of child-restraint systems. Six years later the project is implemented in Hospital Maternities and Health Centres, involving health professional, parents, grandparents and its consolidated in the community in a holistic perspective of child safety promotion.
Objective Evaluate what has been done, the health gains and the importance of the community in changing safety behaviours in a new perspective at safe kids’ mobility.
Methods The Ministry of Health signed a protocol with DOREL Industries, MAPFRE Foundation and The Portuguese Association for Child Safety Promotion and promoted the capacity building of health professionals. These professionals trained pregnant women and families, including grandparents and work in the community with teachers of schools and kindergartens, taxi drivers, security forces, among others. Every year, activities and beneficiaries of the project are monitored such as changes in safety behaviour.
Findings Currently we have 63 projects implemented in Hospital Maternity and Health Centres. Annually, almost all new-borns in Portugal benefit from the project. The project increased in 4% the use of Child Restraint Systems in cars and 10% on the correct use of this device, especially in the group 4–12 years. The capacity building of community promotes new projects aimed at safe mobility.
Conclusion The effectiveness of the Project is bigger if it includes a risk survey on child injuries prior to its implementation, have a minimal data set, organize counselling model and promotes family and community activities.
Policy implications Child safety is an integrated issue that needs a comprehensive management and a holistic approach. Bottom-up approaches on safety promotion makes its implementation sustainable and the community ownership of projects.
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