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Sure Start and early years accident prevention

   Sure Start and early years accident prevention

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) welcomed research published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and academics at University College London (UCL) that demonstrated the success of Sure Start centres.

The research established that for every one Sure Start centre per thousand children there were 5,000 fewer hospital admissions for 11-year-olds each year.

RoSPA has always valued working closely with Sure Start centres and between 2009 and 2011, centres supported the delivery of RoSPA’s national home safety equipment scheme. Targeted at areas of deprivation, this scheme provided equipment such as safety gates to more than 66,000 low-income families and education to over 300,000 families with children under five. In the best performing areas, hospital admission rates due to accidental injuries were halved. 

Despite ‘delivering major health benefits to children’, Sure Start centres have experienced a two-thirds cut in funding. Spending on Sure Start peaked in 2010 at £1.8bn (in current value) but was cut by two-thirds to £600m by 2017-18 - and about 500 centres closed between 2011 and 2017.

The IFS and UCL study, also demonstrated the biggest impact was in the most deprived areas-the poorest 30% of areas saw the probability of any hospitalisation fall by 11% at age 10 and 19% at age 11. While those in more affluent neighbourhoods saw smaller benefits.

It is clear, as in the case of Sure Start, that interventions targeted at the areas in the greatest need can produce positive public health outcomes.

Children from the most disadvantaged families (whose parents have never worked or are long-term unemployed) are 13 times more likely to die in accidents than children of parents in higher managerial and professional occupations.  More effort is now needed to prevent accidents involving children in the lowest income households and RoSPA is proud to be leading the way in tackling this issue.

In 2017, which marked a 100 years since the founding of RoSPA, the society launched it’s ‘Brighter Beginnings' appeal that aimed to distribute ‘Keeping Kids Safe Packs’ to families in the most disadvantaged parts of the UK.

RoSPA's 'Keeping Kids Safe' packs are full of life-saving advice, tips and tools, and includes an easy-to-fit cupboard latch, a nursery thermometer, a falls prevention height chart and useful kitchen/bathroom resource including a flannel and weaning spoon. So far, the packs have been welcomed by parents and carers of young children in the Midlands, North West, Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland.

With around 700,000 babies born in the UK every year, and 30 % of all children growing up in relative poverty it is clear there is much more work to do to help relieve pressure on our over-stretched NHS.

Errol Taylor, chief executive at RoSPA

Posted: 6/5/2019 11:59:05 AM 0 comments


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