Pioneering research by a world-leading team of University of Nottingham academics in the prevention of accidents involving children and young teenagers is being showcased to health and social care professionals.
The work of Professor Denise Kendrick and the Injury Epidemiology and Prevention Research Group
at the University’s Division of Primary Care
has informed a substantial part of a National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)
Evidence Update ‘Strategies to prevent unintentional injuries among children and young people aged under 15’
The Evidence Update will be used by health professionals to keep up to date with the latest research in the field of the prevention of unintentional injuries among children and young people under 15 years. It outlines new evidence published since current guidelines on the topic were introduced.
NICE conducted a search of many thousands of new pieces of research in this area between January 2009 and August 2012 and prioritised 22 for inclusion in the update, including eight from Professor Kendrick and her team.
Injuries in childhood are largely preventable yet an estimated 2,400 children worldwide die every day because of injury and violence.
Professor Denise Kendrick said: “Injuries are the major public health challenge facing children today and it is fantastic to see that our research is influencing policy and practice in this area. We have produced a body of work clearly showing home safety education and the provision of safety equipment helps parents make their homes safer.
“This includes a Cochrane systematic review on home safety education and safety equipment provision, a randomised controlled trial evaluating devices to prevent bath water scalds (thermostatic mixer valves) and a meta-analysis of smoke alarm interventions.
“My team also evaluated ‘Safe At Home’, the national home safety equipment scheme and conducted a systematic review of barriers and facilitators to injury prevention, both of which advise about tailoring injury prevention to meet the needs of families. Our work provides evidence for several of NICE’s recommendations, including that local authorities should consider developing local agreements with housing associations and landlords to ensure permanent safety equipment, including hard-wired or 10-year, battery-operated smoke alarms, thermostatic mixer valves for baths, window restrictors, and carbon monoxide alarms, in all social and rented homes.”
Targeting those at risk
Children from disadvantaged families have higher injury rates and often live in less safe homes than children from more advantaged families. NICE guidance therefore recommends injury prevention is directed at the most vulnerable and at-risk groups.
A recent study by the IEPRG shows that data routinely recorded in GP records can identify children at greatest risk of injury so that families can be offered interventions. A further study by the group showed that targeting home safety interventions to those at greatest risk can help reduce the home safety gap between advantaged and disadvantaged families.
Professor Kendrick said: “Reducing the number of children being killed and injured each year is not enough. We also need to work hard to reduce inequalities in childhood injury by providing effective interventions to those at greatest risk and tailoring interventions to meet the needs of the family.”
Dr Michael Watson, Associate Professor in Public Health at The University of Nottingham, said:
“It is a real accolade that the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has used Professor Kendrick’s research to shape advice to health and social care professionals in the UK. Although, the new Evidence Update has been produced for UK professionals, it will also be of interest to public health experts from other countries.”
“One of Professor Kendrick’s current research projects, ‘Keeping Children Safe’, is a large £2 million study funded by the National Institute for Health Research. The programme is being conducted by University and NHS researchers from Nottingham, Bristol, Norwich, Newcastle and Leicester. Professor Kendrick is leading this research and it will help to inform future guidance at national and international levels.”
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