|Team Leader: Dr. Ronan Lyons||
Date of Completion: 09.01.98
Passive and active strategies are important in reducing injuries. Passive strategies involve separating people from hazards and are more effective than active strategies which involve individuals changing behaviour to reduce risks. Injury prevention is often subdivided into the three es: environmental modification, enforcement of safety legislation, and education, although many successful interventions rely on more than one approach and it is often difficult to disentangle the effects of the component parts.
Examples of environmental modifications which have a proven effect in reducing injuries include: vehicle design, large area traffic calming measures, child resistant containers to prevent poisoning, window guards to prevent falls and domestic product design.
Examples of enforcement initiatives which have a proven effect in reducing injuries include reducing legal limits on permitted alcohol levels in drivers, speed cameras, safety belt and bicycle helmet wearing.
Interventions which have been effective in changing behaviour include bicycle helmet education, child restraint education programmes and child restraint loan schemes; education about the best use of and the provision of smoke detectors, and educational programmes on hazards in the home.
The design of injury prevention strategies need considerable thought. Many activities have attendant risks as well as wider health benefits e.g. most physical sports. A successful injury prevention strategy is one which allows a greater number of people to participate safely and not one which achieves a reduction in injuries by reducing participation.
Community programmes can be very successful, however to be effective they need a commitment to inter-agency cooperation, adequate resources, time to develop effective networking, and a surveillance system to target areas of need and monitor progress.
The quality of the research available could be improved by greater emphasis on well-designed and evaluated programmes, using randomised controlled trials where possible.
Health Evidence Bulletins: Wales, Duthie Library, UWCM, Cardiff CF14 4XN. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org