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Logo of injprevInjury PreventionVisit this articleVisit this journalSubmit a manuscriptReceive email alertsContact usBMJ
Inj Prev. 2007 August; 13(4): 220–221.
PMCID: PMC2598318


Injury Prevention and PsycINFO

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China Seat Belt Intervention

China accounts for about 15% of the world's total number of deaths from traffic accidents each year. Motor vehicle production has tripled since the 1990s and despite the availability of seat belts in almost all passenger cars in China and laws requiring restraint use, the habitual use of seat belts is low. With the human toll alone from road traffic injuries in China about 100 000 deaths per year, there is an urgency to implement such interventions in the major cities.

The seat belt intervention in Guangzhou utilized a novel blend of scientific expertise with practical approaches including enhanced law‐enforcement practices, extensive social marketing, and health education. According to Mr Wu Guanghui of Guangzhou Municipal Bureau of Public Security, “Activities to increase seat belt use, awareness and compliance have been implemented with great success. We accomplished significant improvements in Guangzhou city with seat belt law enforcement training for traffic officers in conjunction with the intensive enforcement program. The results have shown that enhanced police enforcement and road safety communication strategies contributed to raising the prevalence of seat belt use in the city and reducing road traffic injuries.”

Before the intervention, around half of all drivers/passengers in Guangzhou used seat belts. Mark Stevenson from the George Institute for International Health reports that, since implementation of the intervention, 62% of drivers and passengers in Guangzhou are wearing a seat belt. This translates into the equivalent of 530 disability‐adjusted life years saved as a result of the intervention.

More on small magnets

Adding to the report in the June issue of News and Notes, there continues to be concern about the hazards presented to children by small magnets. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported in April that it was aware of hundreds of complaints that magnets had fallen out of various toys and at least 33 cases where children had swallowed loose magnets and required emergency surgery. Of the 33 cases, the children ranged in age from 10 months to 11 years; the majority were older than three and were boys. All of the injuries led to hospital stays, which ranged from 3 to 19 days. In nearly all cases reviewed by CPSC, children had suffered intestinal perforations. In addition to the intestinal injuries from swallowing loose magnets, the CPSC is aware of one case of intestinal perforation after a child swallowed magnetic jewelry that was being worn on the child's tongue, two cases of intestinal perforations after children swallowed complete components of building sets containing magnets, one aspiration of a loose magnet, and one perforation of the nasal wall from nose jewelry.

Within the past year, the CPSC has conducted five recalls with more than eight million products containing magnets that could come loose and fall out of the product. In the fall of 2006, the CPSC alerted parents to the emerging hazard of magnets. Even so, children continue to be treated in emergency rooms across the country for complications caused by ingesting magnets or toy components with magnets.

If two or more magnets, two or more magnet components, or a magnet and another metal object are swallowed separately, they can attract one another through intestinal walls. When this happens, it may be thought that the materials will pass through the child. However, with magnets, this is often not the case. The magnets become trapped in the body and can twist or pinch the intestine, causing holes, blockage, and infection in the intestine, or blood poisoning, all of which can lead to death.

Surface temperature guide

The technical board of CENELEC, the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization, has adopted CENELEC guide 29: Temperatures of surfaces likely to be touched—Part 1: temperatures of hot surfaces. The guidance document was prepared by CENELEC BT TF 120‐1 following a mandate from the European Commission. Guide 29 will be distributed to all CENELEC technical committees, asking them to assess (and to revise where needed) the relevant standards under the European Low Voltage Directive to ensure compliance with the provisions of the guide.

Improving teen driving

US insurer American Family Insurance has made the Teen Safe Driver Program, an innovative program that helps young drivers overcome the challenges of learning how to drive, available to eligible customers in Indiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Parents log in to to view the driving report card, video events, and coaching tips, including objective, third‐party assessment of the teen driver's driving performance compared with other teens. Produced in conjunction with DriveCam Inc, the Teen Safe Driver Program is offered at no cost for 1 year to American Family auto insurance customers who have a teen driver. DriveCam's combination of technology and service are at the heart of the Teen Safe Driver Program, the same solution as applied extensively and successfully in commercial fleet settings. Once installed, the in‐vehicle video and audio camera captures risky driving behaviors such as swerving, hard braking, sudden acceleration, and collisions. The unit sends the images and sounds wirelessly to an analysis center, where trained analysts review them, add coaching comments, and assign each risky driving event a risk score. Parents and teens receive weekly status reports via email with links to the secure website for viewing the video clips. American Family conducted pilot programs in Wisconsin and Minnesota and reported a greater than 70% reduction in the frequency and severity of risky driving events among these novice drivers. A recent study by the University of Iowa of rural Iowa high school drivers using the same Drive Cam technology produced similar results.

2006 New Zealand Road Safety Innovation Award

A program that began 26 years ago and now has a 91% take‐up rate has earned the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society the premier award in the New Zealand road safety innovation and achievement awards. The program also took the road safety general category award. In 1978, only 20% of children under 5 traveled in appropriate car seats. Plunket identified poor restraint use as a major well child issue and in 1981 launched a pilot scheme in Dunedin to get all babies into child car restraints. Today the Plunket car seat rental scheme is nationwide involving 250 coordinators and has over 25 000 infant and child restraints available for hire. The scheme provides New Zealand with the highest number of rental car seat locations per capita in the world, is regarded as a blueprint for other schemes worldwide, and is strongly grounded in the communities they serve. The aim is universal usage, and Plunket works with many agencies to ensure that this goal is achieved. All Plunket car seat rental scheme staff are educated in the correct installation of child restraints under “Safe2go” training.

Major child car seat recall

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and Evenflo Company Inc announced in May a recall of 450 000 Evenflo Embrace Infant Car Seat/Carriers. When used as an infant carrier, the seat's handle can unexpectedly release, causing the seat to rotate forward. When this happens, an infant inside the carrier can fall to the ground and suffer serious injuries. Evenflo has received 679 reports of the handle on the car seat/carriers unexpectedly releasing, resulting in 160 injuries to children. These reports include a skull fracture, two concussions, cuts, scrapes, and bruises. The product can continue to be used as a car seat when secured in a vehicle. Evenflo is providing consumers with a free repair kit that strengthens the handle latch.


Contributors to these News and notes include John Langley and Barry Pless. Michael Hayes has edited the contributions. Items for future issues, including calendar entries, should be sent to Michael Hayes at as soon as possible.

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