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January 7, 2004

Lack of Global Public Policies and Resource Investments for Childhood Injury Prevention

Three articles in the December 2003 issue of Injury Prevention highlight injuries as a major public health issue all over the world. Adnan A. Hyder, assistant professor and the Leon Robertson Faculty Development Chair in the Department of International Health, authored the guest editorial, “Childhood Injuries.”

Dr. Hyder wrote, “It is surprising to note the lack of global attention to childhood injuries in terms of both public policies and resource investment.” He further explained that the three published studies were a major step in aligning childhood injuries with other well known health threats.

In one issue, the articles bring together information on specific types of unintentional childhood injuries with lessons for prevention. Two individual studies from the United States looked at the distance between balcony railings and low-positioned windows and washing machine-related injuries. The third study, done in New Zealand, looked into the usage of child restraint devices for children. Among the findings, the individual studies concluded that when establishing their own national standards to protect children from falls, developing nations should look at the building codes and practices of those in the developed world. In addition, the researchers found that simply having existing interventions does not mean they will be used effectively.

Dr. Hyder said that research is needed to develop effective prevention programs to combat childhood injuries. He explained in his article that the world has seen an increase in interest in other global health issues, such as landmines and violence. He concluded, “It is time for the global health community to recognize the toll of childhood injuries and make concerted efforts to reduce that burden.”

Public Affairs Media Contacts for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Kenna Brigham or Tim Parsons at 410-955-6878 or paffairs@jhsph.edu. Photographs of Adnan Hyder are available upon request.