Keeping Country Kids Safe Final Report
Keeping Country Kids Safe Research
The Keeping Country Kids Safe research project was the Commission’s first research initiative into child deaths in rural areas. The final report, which was released by the Commissioner in October 2011, examined the accidental deaths of children in Queensland’s rural and country communities, using data from the Commission’s Child Death Register between 2004 and 2008.
The research highlighted that children living in country Queensland communities die from accidents (non-intentional injuries) at a rate 2.4 times the rate of those living in cities. A similar trend was identified in the analysis of data from hospital admissions (non-fatal) for children from country communities held by the Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit.
During the consultation phase, the Commission received 321 responses from members of rural communities (mostly farmers) and 19 responses from government and industry. Special consultation efforts were made by travelling to agricultural shows to speak with farmers and children who work and live on the land.
The Commission is grateful to all those community members and organisations who participated in the consultation processes. Their input and advice helped explain the context and settings in which fatal and non-fatal injuries occurred and shed light on some practical ways to focus prevention efforts in the short and long term.
The final research report highlighted key safety messages, based on analysis of the data and consultation with rural communities, and recommended opportunities for future action to help prevent child death and injury in rural areas.
Safety message 1 Teenagers are vulnerable to transport incidents as they are learning to drive and travelling with peers, while the fate of young children in vehicles is dependent on the actions of the driver. The keys to preventing deaths in these circumstances rest with drivers in making wise decisions in relation to high risk behaviours before taking control of a vehicle (licence conditions, fatigue, consumption of alcohol or drugs) and while driving (speed, road rules and condition and being conscious of other unpredictable drivers or pedestrians).
Safety message 2 Children and parents should be familiar with quad bike and motorbike safety, including dedicated seating provisions for passengers, correct use of helmets for all participants, and appropriate sizing of the vehicle in relation to the age of the rider in accordance with manufacturers’ recommendations.
Safety message 3 Young children should be within the line of sight of an adult at all times when a water hazard is present.
Safety message 4 While supervision is the key to drowning prevention, toddler-proof fences constructed around the family home can act as a critical means of preventing access to rural water (and other) hazards, should a lapse in supervision occur.
Safety message 5 Positive health outcomes after an immersion incident depend on the early initiation of resuscitation. Learning CPR may be critical for rural and remote communities where ambulatory services are located some distance away.
Safety message 6 Strategies to prevent death and injury to children in country areas need to be practical and readily achievable for rural communities to put in place. They must also recognise that they may represent a change in longstanding approaches or customs.
If you are undertaking research into child death prevention initiatives in Queensland, please contact us to access research data from the Commission’s Child Death Register.