Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Injury prevention for toddlers

Hoe related unintentional injuries remain one of the main health threats for children in established market economy countries. In the Netherlands each year about 44,000 children need medical care because of such injuries, and this goes with high medical costs.

Today Tinneke Beirens defended her thesis called ‘Home-related injury prevention and safety promotion in the setting of preventive Youth Health Care (see and

Her thesis explored the possibilities of injury prevention by investigating parental safety behaviours (such as placing safety gates at the stairs in their home, and storing poisonous products, for example cleaning products or prescription drugs, in a child-safe manner), correlates of these behaviours, and the effectiveness of the so-called safety cards. These cards are the main education tool used by Child Health Clinics and developed by the Dutch Consumer Safety Institute (, to educate parents about why and how to protect their children from accidents in and around the home.

Tinneke’s research showed that many parents do engage in child protection behaviours, but there is still much room for improvement. Two interesting findings were that lower educated people on average take better precautions than the higher educated, and that parents have high intentions to take safety measures when they have their first child, but often only act on these intentions when they have their second.