New research aims to prevent childhood injuries

Researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) are to look at the prevention of accidental injuries in pre-school children as part of a major £2m study.

Accidental injury is the leading cause of death in one to four year olds, with falls, poisonings and burns and scalds being the most common injuries. The aim of the programme is to provide a better understanding of how to prevent accidental injuries in pre-school children and, working with Children’s Centres, implement effective approaches for children and their families.

The five-year study, due to start later this year, represents a collaboration between the leading centres for child accident research in England. The involvement of experts from Norwich builds on a long-established track record of epidemiological research on childhood injury conducted by researchers from the School of Environmental Sciences and the School of Medicine, Health Policy and Practice at the University of East Anglia.

The new work, Keeping Children Safe at Home, has been awarded a grant of £1,999,845 by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and is being led by the University of Nottingham.

In Norwich the clinical base will be at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, with researchers in the Accident and Emergency Department collecting data from children and their families who have been injured, and with Norfolk Primary Care Trust working through general practices. The researchers will follow injured children for up to one year after their accident to measure the consequences of their injuries and the cost to the NHS.

Leading the study locally is Dr Richard Reading, from UEA’s School of Medicine. He said: “This is a great opportunity to investigate in detail the causes of injury in childhood and ways of preventing this. Despite accidental injury being one of the most common causes of death, disability and need for medical care, we know surprisingly little about how to prevent it.

“The study is being funded under an NIHR Programme Grant for Applied Research, which prioritise studies of importance to the NHS, and the team includes the leading experts in child injury research in England. We have a real opportunity to make a difference with this project and it is a privilege to take part in it.”

Prof Denise Kendrick, an expert in child safety at the University of Nottingham, is leading the research nationally. “This award will allow us to investigate the effectiveness of common items of safety equipment and behaviour to reduce the risk of injury,” she said.

“I am excited about the opportunity to explore how we can get the findings of research into practice through Children’s Centres, as even when evidence is available, often it is not implemented. This research will help us to understand the best ways of implementing accident prevention in the real world.”

The multi-centre collaboration also involves experts from the University of Leicester, the University of the West of England, the University of Newcastle, the Child Accident Prevention Trust and members of the public.

Friday 27th of June 2008 03:00:52 PM