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3 December 2007 | Printer friendly

Countries scored on protecting children from accidents

More than 6,700 child and adolescent deaths could be avoided each year if every Member State achieved the level of the safest country in the European Union, according to a major review launched by the European Child Safety Alliance, EuroSafe on 20 November 2007.

A summary report of the review has been made available for policy makers while individual “Child Safety Report Cards” have been released for each of 18 countries participating in the review.

The report cards provide figures on how many deaths could be prevented if each country achieved the same levels as in Sweden, the EU country with the lowest child and adolescent death rate in the year examined. Countries with higher child deaths rates have more to gain. For example, Greece has a child death rate that is four times higher than Sweden. The report card for Greece shows that the lives of an estimated 509 children could be saved each year.

The 18 countries have been scored for the first time on their efforts to reduce fatal accidents among children based on evidenced safety policies. The countries that scored best are the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, and Sweden. The countries doing least well are Greece and Portugal.

No European country is taking all the necessary steps to minimise child accidents but nor is the performance of any of the countries in the review deemed “unacceptable”. The dozens of policies assessed in the performance grading have all been shown to prevent child deaths if adopted, implemented and enforced. They relate to road traffic accidents, drowning, falls, poisoning, burns and choking.

Effective measures include strategies such as child seats in cars, fencing for private swimming pools and adaptation of vehicle design to reduce risk of pedestrian injury.

- Child Safety Report Card - Summary for 18 countries, 2007 and other documents are available on the website of the European Child Safety Alliance (ECSA).

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