Nova Scotia’s Child Passenger Safety Strategy: a renewed strategy built on 10 years experience

Author(s): Sandra Newton

Slidedeck Presentation Only (no paper submitted):

3C - Newton


Background/Context: In Canada, injury is the leading cause of death and hospitalization among children and youth and motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of injury-related death for children aged 1-14. In 2004 motor-vehicle related injuries to those 14 years and under in Atlantic Canada cost $34.7 million. This is primarily due to the severity of these injuries and the impact over their lifetime. The frequency, severity and potential for life-long disability and death, as well as the significant economic costs involved, make injury a leading health problem in Canada.

According to Canada’s Road Safety Strategy 2015, proper restraint use is noted as key area for prevention work. As injury prevention theory dictates, multifaceted initiatives that use more than one strategy (education, enforcement/legislation, and engineering) have the greatest chance of success.

Child Safety Link (CSL) is an injury prevention organization dedicated to the reduction of the incidence and severity of injury to children and youth in the Maritimes. Located at the IWK Health Centre, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, CSL works with partner organizations to change public policies, educate the public and build the capacity of their partners on several priority areas including child passenger safety. In 2005, CSL developed a government supported Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Strategy for Nova Scotia and in the fall of 2015 renewed this comprehensive strategy.

Aims/Objectives: The overall goal of the CPS Strategy is to reduce the incidence and severity of injury to children and youth on the roads (in cars). Several outcomes are also outlined that reflect the key pillars of the Strategy that include Capacity Building & Partnerships, Communications & Public Relations, Advocacy & Healthy Public Policy and Research & Evaluation.

Methods/Target Group: CSL has developed a comprehensive strategy that focuses on reaching families of young children through organizations/agencies who work with young families. Organizations include Community Action Program for Children (CAPC) sites, police, Community Services, Car Seat Coalitions, etc.

Results/Activities: All initiatives are designed based on the literature, best practices, lessons learned from CSL’s previous decade and feedback from our partners. Activities are planned and categorized by each strategic pillar for example Capacity Building & Partnerships (Technician Training & support, Car Seat grant program, Enforcement Checks); Communications & Public Relations (Child Passenger Safety Week, Booster Seat campaign); Advocacy & Healthy Public Policy (Hospital transportation policy); Research & Evaluation (Needs Assessment with technicians).

Discussion/Deliverables: As of November 2015, CSL has a renewed CPS Strategy that will guide initiative development over the next three years. Due to the past strategy, CSL has established countless partners, trained hundreds of technicians, developed educational materials for families, police, nurses, etc and also promoted the issue through media campaigns and social media. This presentation will provide an overview of the Strategy, highlight key initiatives and will reflect on past successes and lessons learned.