Children's Environment and Health Awards announced in Vienna

27/06/2007

The winners of the Pan-European Children's Environment and Health Awards were announced at the Intergovernmental Midterm Review (IMR) conference in Vienna on 13 June.

Financially supported by the Government of Austria and coordinated by the Health & Environment Alliance, Eco-Forum, Women in Europe for a Common Future and ISDE Austria, the competition was launched in March with the aim to highlight some of the excellent projects that are helping to reduce the harm to children from environmental hazards.

The contest was very successful with over 100 applications from 32 countries in the WHO European Region. The projects were evaluated by a jury consisting of international experts from the health and environment sectors.

Two Alliance members won prizes in the 'Protection from injuries' category for the following projects:

'Safe Road to School in Faro' organised by the Portuguese Association for Child Safety Promotion

Road crashes are the largest cause of child and adolescent injury death in Portugal, yet 80% of children travelling to school in cars were found not to be benefiting from a child restraint system. According to the Portuguese Association for Child Safety Promotion, although legislation is in place, enforcement is poor.

Working with the "Safe School" department of the police and other local institutions, the Portuguese Association for Child Safety Promotion launched a programme to increase the enforcement of existing legislation. First, information was provided to primary and secondary students and their parents in 11 schools in Faro. The children watched a video, played games, visited a simulated road accident and met traffic accident victims in the local hospitals. Second, they organised "enforcement days" as joint ventures between the police and the students before and after school. Results were impressive. The rate of use of child restraint systems went up from 20% to 89% in the seven primary schools involved. On the day of the campaign, 243 reports of infringements were made prompting local press coverage.

For more information on this project please contact: Elsa Rocha, apsi@apsi.org.pt or visit www.apsi.org.pt.

'Paediatric Injury Prevention Counselling' organised by Grosse schützen Kleine (Safe Kids Austria)

In Austria, half of all childhood injuries occur among young children in and around the home – yet doctors receive no medical training in injury prevention counselling.

Grosse schützen Kleine (Safe Kids Austria) therefore lobbied for regulations to require doctors to counsel parents on injury prevention while researching existing educational materials and programmes and working with paediatricians to develop safety manuals, guidelines and tips. Today, 80% of all families with children from birth to 6 years of age in Austria benefit from the Paediatrician Injury Counselling Programme. A recent survey showed that 70% of doctors are regularly handing out sheets from their pads during child consultations. The survey also showed that parents are benefiting because they are not always aware of the greatest risks.

In 2006, the programme was identified as an example in the "Good Practice" guide of the European Child Safety Alliance. The model has been adapted for counselling programmes in Cyprus, Czech Republic and USA.

For more information on this project please contact: Gudula Brandmayr, gudula.brandmayr@klinikum-graz.at or visit www.grosse-schuetzen-kleine.at.

For more information on the awards please go to the HEAL website: www.env-health.org/a/2577.

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