Protecting our future, protecting our children

The future lies in the hands of our children so what could be more important than protecting them from harm? Morag MacKay explains what the aims are to prevent child injury following The European Public Health Association (EUPHA) conference.

Shockingly, hundreds of thousands of children are injured in Europe every year including nearly 9,000 who die.

It’s a little known fact that the leading cause of death, disability and inequity to our children in Europe is actually injury. And the bigger questions are why some children are at greater risk than others? And why are there such significant differences in child injury rates between Member States?

The European Child Safety Alliance (ECSA) was launched in 2000 with the ambition to make the lives of children living in Europe safer. Fast-forward 15 years and there are now more than 30 European countries working together towards this one aim.

ECSA recently released four important documents to support local decision makers, advocates and practitioners with child injury prevention strategies.

To begin to explore the inequities across Europe and continue to enhance prevention efforts, ECSA recently released four important documents to support local decision makers, advocates and practitioners with child injury prevention strategies.

These documents will not only assist partners in making the case for continued investment in child injury prevention, but also equip countries with unique and important tools and resources to tackle injuries in children under the age of 18 years.

The documents stem from the project TACTICS: Tools to Address Childhood Trauma, Injury and Children’s Safety, which received funding from the European Union, in the Framework of the Health Programme involved child safety experts from across Europe. The experts come from a diverse range of fields and settings including medicine, public health, psychology, education, engineering, government, the list goes on.

The four documents released from ECSA, which is hosted on the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), consist of a research report on child injury and inequity titled Children’s Right to Safety: inequity in child injury in Europe and three targeted good practice tools, which focus on pre, primary and secondary school age children.

This also highlights existing evidence based good practices to address both intentional and unintentional child injuries.

This also highlights existing evidence based good practices to address both intentional and unintentional child injuries as well as introducing eight keys to success for prevention policies and programmes developed through an analysis of real-life projects from across Europe.

The eight keys: Leadership, Management & collaboration, Funding, Capacity, Data, Prevention strategy, Context & setting and Visibility are described along with the provision of specific questions to help increase the likelihood of success across adoption, implementation and monitoring (AIM process). They have also created an easy to use checklist so support practitioners in applying the 8 keys (AIM for safety checklist).

ECSA and its partners hope that these documents will have an impact on decision makers at all levels across member states and, ultimately, we hope they will take on board the crucial point that failure to adopt, implement and monitor proven solutions will increase inequalities and create further social injustice. And that’s a future for our children that no-one wants.

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