Experts in injury prevention, epidemiology, and trauma have called for a coordinated, national response to preventing childhood injuries in Australia. A national, evidence-informed, cross-sector prevention strategy with clear actions and performance indicators, as well as a national agency to coordinate action, have been recommended.
Recommendations are supported by a ten-year review of childhood injuries in Australia1. Of concern, the review identified that hospitalisation rates for childhood injury have not decreased between 2002 and 20121. Over the ten year period, there were 686,409 hospitalisations related to injury at a cost of $2.1 billion1. The leading mechanism of childhood injury was falls (38.4%) and one-quarter of injuries occurred in the home (24.5%). For more information about the characteristics of childhood injury-related hospitalisations in Australia, access the report here.
Other recommendations for action include:
- Focus prevention efforts on children at greatest risk of injury, including those from lower socio-economic groups, rural or regional areas, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
- Use evidence and an understanding of child developmental stages to inform the planning and implementation of childhood injury prevention.
- Support the wellbeing and psychological health of parents and families impacted by severe childhood injury.
- Enhance national surveillance systems and ensure timely monitoring of childhood injuries to support injury priority setting and evaluation of injury prevention strategies.
The expert position statement on childhood injuries in Australia is available here.
1Mitchell R, Curtis K, Foster K. A 10-year review of the characteristics and health outcomes of injury-related hospitalisations of children in Australia. Day of Difference Foundation. University of Sydney. 5th May 2017