Last month I had the opportunity to travel to an international conference on product safety. The International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization (ICPHSO) holds conferences both in the US and internationally to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas on consumer product health and safety. ICPHSO held the most recent Symposium in Billund, Denmark. While many of the members and attendees are manufacturers, attorneys, retailers, and regulators, consumers are an important part of the organization too. At this conference, we held a panel on child safety advocacy.
The workshop was described as “Meeting Consumers’ Needs by Advocating Child Safety Good Practices” and addressing the challenges in organizing advocacy efforts to support child injury prevention best practices.
I spoke of KID’s efforts in the US, both to educate parents and caregivers on product safety AND to influence public policy such as the landmark 2008 “Danny’s Law” which requires standards for children’s products. Joanne Vincenten, until recently director of the European Child Safety Alliance, spoke of what is required for effective programs to reduce child injury. Herdis Storgaard described her work with Iceland’s Child Safety House – an interactive display designed to educate new parents on safety in every room of the house. Their program originally had government support but now relies on private sources including a manufacturer and insurance company. Finally Riikka Laitinen from the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) shared the interactive game they developed to encourage safe actions in young children. We all spoke of the need to develop good evaluation tools to show the program’s effectiveness.
What we all had in common was the need to raise public and private support for disseminating safety information and the dedication of those in the field to develop new tools and methods to reach new generations. It was very inspiring and everyone brought home new ideas. I look forward to collaborating in the future on child safety worldwide.