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Child Safety Report Cards published for England and Scotland

Both England and Scotland are demonstrating positive performances on child safety but there remains room for improvement on some aspects of accident prevention among children and young people, according to European “report cards” published this week

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The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has welcomed the publication of the cards for 31 European countries.

The Child Safety Report Cards, produced by the European Child Safety Alliance (ECSA), give grades for national-level policies across nine areas of safety (passenger safety; motor scooter and moped safety; pedestrian safety; cycling safety; water safety/drowning prevention; falls prevention; burns prevention; poisoning prevention; and choking/strangulation prevention) and three strategic issues (leadership; infrastructure; and capacity). They also give various suggestions for future work.

Child Safety Country Profiles, produced to accompany the report cards, contain statistical information, such as injury death rates and the number of potential years of life lost due to accidental injuries - “years where children and adolescents won’t be growing, learning and eventually contributing to society”.

Injury is revealed as a leading cause of death among children and young people aged 0-19 in both England and Scotland.

England is given a “fair” grade for its national-level policies and strategies and is shown to have child and young person injury (accidental and intentional) death rates that are ranked 2nd out of 31 countries for males and 3rd out of 31 countries for females.

Scotland is given a “good” grade for its national-level policies and strategies and is shown to have child and young person injury (accidental and intentional) death rates that are ranked 18th out of 31 countries for males and 11th out of 31 countries for females.

For both countries, an examination of the specific causes of accidental death over a three-year period from 2007-2009 show that road traffic accidents continue to take the greatest toll, particularly among 15-19-year-olds, and the death rates linked to choking/strangulation among babies under a year old are also of note.

Also relevant to both England and Scotland, the report cards recommend that, in addition to continuing to enhance road safety (an issue on which the greatest gains have been made), increased attention should be given to injuries occurring in and around the home. And while both countries have “excellent capacity to address child safety and reasonable infrastructure”, the cards say that stronger leadership from national governments is required to ensure endorsement and implementation of national strategies for child and adolescent safety.

ECSA is publishing report cards for 31 European countries - Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Scotland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Wales. A launch is taking place at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, supported by Malcolm Harbour MEP, chairman of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, and John Dalli, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy.

The publication of the cards is just one of a variety of activities to benchmark and monitor child injury and related action as part of ECSA’s EU-funded TACTICS project (Tools to Address Childhood Trauma, Injury and Children’s Safety).

ECSA, which is an initiative of the European Association for Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion (EuroSafe), is hosted by RoSPA. More information about ECSA and the report cards is available at www.childsafetyeurope.org.

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