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Priorities for child safety in the European Union: Agenda for action

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Statement of the problem Children have a right to safety, but this is still not optimally implemented throughout Europe. Furthermore, no joint commitment to change has been undertaken by the European Parliament, European Commission, or collectively by the EU Member States. This paper summarizes a White Book presented to governments entitled ‘Priorities for Child Safety in the European Union,' requesting concerted action. Methods The report is based on statistics provided by the World Health Organization as well as by research centers in the European Union Member States. Original research was contracted to the Mori Social Research Institute in 2001 in order to obtain an update on parents' and leading government officials' views on child safety. Results The leading causes of child injury deaths in the EU (road accidents, 48%, other unintentional 16%, intentional 13%, drowning 11%, fires 5%, falls 5%, and poisoning 2%) are the same in all Member States, but it is the distribution of injuries within each category that determines the unique profile of each. Adopting a number of best practices that have been identified for each injury area can reduce these injury deaths. Survey results show that the parents of children in Europe are concerned regarding child injuries, while government officials are still not making strong commitments to advance safety for children. A review of EU standards and legislation related to child safety shows that these are still incomplete and require changes. Conclusions A joint commitment to reduce child accidental injury deaths in the EU is advocated, with a clear set of recommendations to act upon.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-03-01

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