Across Australia, unintentional injury is the leading cause of death for children aged 1 - 14 years of age, accounting for nearly half of all deaths in this age group. More children die from injuries than of cancer, asthma and infectious diseases combined. A sad fact is that the majority of these injuries are preventable.
Since it was first established, Healthy Cities Illawarra has maintained an ongoing commitment to promoting child injury prevention across the Illawarra.
HCI established and facilitated the Illawarra Child Injury Prevention Task Force from 1988 until 2005. During this time, numerous child safety campaigns and constant activities were generated. These included a neighbourhood backyard cleanup project, hot water scalds campaigns, childsafe home design project, bike helmet promotions, multiple child drowning prevention campaigns, the dog bite prevention project, child restraint and driveway safety campaigns, to name just a few.
HCI has been active in conducting research around key child safety issues and completed three major studies in the areas of Children's Sports Injuries, Child Drowning Prevention and a local Child Injury Profile (view relevant reports in the Policy and Submissions section).
In more recent years, HCI has become more strategic in its approach, directing its efforts towards building the knowledge and capacity of existing community based child and family service providers and supporting them to become active advocates for child safety, particularly through their everyday work with parents, carers and young families.
In partnership with the Federal Government, HCI implemented the Child Safety Advocate Project in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions from 2007 - 2008.
Throughout the project, HCI further developed existing relationships within the child and family sector across the Illawarra and Shoalhaven, and provided practical support, resources, information and training to develop skills, knowledge and ownership of child safety promotion. This included the running of two consecutive regional Child Safety Conferences held in early 2008 and late 2009.
HCI continues to seek funding and partnerships which support local child injury prevention initiatives and also advocates on relevant child safety issues and policies which affect children and families across the region as required.