Child Safety Good Practice Guide launched

Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network, NSW Health, NeuRA , Kidsafe NSW and European Child Safety Alliance today launched an Australian-first resource, known as the Child Safety Good Practice Guide, which aims to reduce injuries and death in children.

In Australia, injuries are still the number one cause of death among children over the age of one with a cost to the nation of over $212 million each year, and a mean cost per child of $3,119. In NSW alone, around 60 children (aged 1-16 years) die as a result of an unintentional injury, and a further 20,000 are hospitalised.

In response, NSW child safety and health experts – from Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network, NeuRA and NSW Kidsafe – joined forces to develop the Child Safety Good Practice Guide. This resource, funded by NSW Health, aims to reduce unintentional childhood injuries that lead to hospitalisation or death by providing a summary of good practice, to the extent it is known, for each of the leading causes of injury to children in NSW.

Leading medical and child safety experts were joined at the launch of the Child Safety Good Practice Guide by 13-year-old Ethan Wright, who is recovering from serious injuries after falling from his scooter in an accident at his local skate park. Ethan, who had taken his helmet off while his friend filmed him doing a trick, ended up in ICU at Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick with concussion and internal bleeding. He said while some kids might consider it uncool to wear a helmet, being in hospital was not cool either.

"I know how lucky I am that it wasn’t worse and I still have four months off from riding my scooter or contact sport, and six months to full recovery," Ethan said.

"As soon as I can ride my scooter again I will be back out there, but this time, I’ll keep my helmet on."

Dr Susan Adams, Paediatric Surgeon at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick said in her job she saw families, who only ever wanted the best for their children, whose lives were changed forever in the blink of an eye due to injury.

"Australian families and the community dearly want their children to grow up in an environment that is conducive to optimal growth and development, fostering the sense of childhood exploration and discovery that is such an important element of childhood. This Guide hopefully provides a starting point in helping to frame that environment for the decade ahead," Dr Adams said.

Working collaboratively, NSW child safety and health experts - including Dr Julie Brown, senior research fellow at NeuRA, Dr Susan Adams, Paediatric Surgeon at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, Karen Zwi, Community Paediatrician at Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network, and Christine Erskine Executive Officer at Kidsafe NSW - saw the opportunity to provide child safety leadership not only in NSW, but across Australia. This has come in the form of the timely Child Safety Good Practice Guide, funded by NSW Health, and comes as more Australians call out for greater detail and education around child safety issues in their home and close communities and acts as a positive step-forward in eliminating unintentional safety hazards.

The Australia edition of Child Safety Good Practice Guide builds on previous work by child safety researchers from around the globe. The first Guide was initially developed by the European Child Safety Alliance and saw significant success across the continent. The 2017 Australia publication incorporates a new section on safety guidelines for children in sport and includes: cricket, soccer, horse-riding, cycling, baseball, skateboarding, hockey and snowboarding, as well as quad-bikes, and other off-the-road vehicles.

The purpose of the Australia edition of the Child Safety Good Practice Guide is to provide practitioners, decision makers, and legislators with an evidence-focused resource, relevant to the Australian setting, on which they can base their work, funding and recommendations.

Download the guide