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Effective risk communication puts people in a position to make safer choices. Risk communication takes into account that many benefits of activities, settings or products cannot be obtained without accepting at least a minimum risk. Well designed campaigns make people aware of certain hazards, inform them about the benefits of safety measures and facilitate the change to safer behaviour. Examples of successful campaigns in many Member States are: car safety belts, child resistant cigarette lighters, safety boots of construction sites, barrier free public buildings, legislation against intimate partner violence. These have all been successful in reducing preventable injuries.

The Community Public Health Programme should support campaigns on the priority areas of this document. Key characteristics should be the focus on intermediaries, the aim of sustainable results, the support for Member States, the reliance on evidence of what works in prevention and safety promotion, and the quality of the evaluation and documentation. Public-private partnerships will help to create wider exposure and better distribution channels so that the safety messages are acted upon.

4.2.Key priority areas for actions

In defining key priorities for actions on injuries, the following criteria have been used:

The social impact of injuries in terms of the number, severity and consequences of the various categories of injury, such as loss of productive years, disability and human suffering.

The evidence regarding the effectiveness of interventions and the cost-effectiveness of alternative interventions in relation to the various priority options.

The feasibility of successful implementation of interventions in the European context and given the great diversity of infrastructures within Member States.

The time frame and measurability of intermediate outcomes of actions and impacts in terms of injury reduction.

This has led to the identification of the following seven priority areas:

Safety of children and adolescents;

Safety of elderly citizens;

Safety of vulnerable road users;

Prevention of sports injuries;

Prevention of injuries caused by products and services;

Prevention of self-harm;

Prevention of interpersonal violence.

All Community public health campaigns will inform the public about the quantity of the problems, demand for better primary prevention, disseminate good practices, support networks, provide health administrations of Member States with policy tools for national action.

4.2.1.Safety of children and adolescents

Children and adolescents have been chosen as a priority because injuries and their disabling consequences have a tremendous impact on health in this age group in particular.


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