Evaluation of legislation and Government policy in child injury prevention and safety promotion in Poland


In Poland injury is the leading cause of death and disability among children.

In 2003, 1626 children and adolescents aged 0-19 died because of external causes, including 678 deaths caused by traffic accidents. The mortality rate of Polish children (4.26 per 100,000 population in 2003) is much higher than the European (E-25) rate.

A recent study has evaluated the legislation and government policy based indicators of child injury prevention and safety promotion in Poland for national child safety strategy planning. Unintentional injury prevention was analysed according to the following classifications: traffic safety, drowning prevention, falls prevention, burns and scalds prevention, choking, strangulation and suffocation prevention, poisoning prevention. The review and analysis of national policy, analysis of law and legal acts, analysis of statutes of government organisations, and internet and telephone surveys were applied in the study.

In Poland, childhood injury prevention activities are led by several departments of ministries, government agencies, and non-governmental organisations. In the National Programme in Traffic Road Safety "Gambit 2005-2013" children are identified as a particular vulnerable group. Drowning prevention, falls prevention, scalds and burns prevention is included in the Safe Poland-Safe School Programme targeting school children aged 6-16. This programme is implemented by the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Administration and Interior Affairs.

The results of the law analysis showed that 23 from 39 indicators (59%) are clearly stated, and are fully or partially implemented and enforced in Poland.

Since the government policy is insufficient in child injury prevention and safety promotion, there is a need to coordinate the various actions of different sectors and ministries to developed effective strategies. Analysis showed that there is still a need to improve the law regarding child traffic safety. Moreover there is a need to develop drowning prevention, burns and scalds prevention, choking strangulation and suffocation prevention, poisoning prevention, focusing on young children aged 0-4 especially in the home environment.

A government engagement in child safety is currently being discussed. The initiative has been undertaken by the Ombudsman for Children’s Rights. The main focus lies in the development of the National Child Safety Actions Strategy including unintentional and intentional injury prevention. This strategy should improve coordinated child injury prevention intersectoral efforts and contribute to the effective use of limited resources by providing directions to the range of governmental bodies, non-governmental organisations and communities.

Source and more information: Marta Malinowska-Cieslik, Institute of Public Health, Jagiellonian University Medical College Krakow, Poland: mxciesli@cyf-kr.edu.pl

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