Introduction: What is good practice

The need for knowledge of what works is growing every day among those working to reduce the burden of unintentional injuries amongst Europe's children. Recent developments calling for Member States to develop national action plans top revent injury have increased the demand to deliver effective interventions at the national and local level 1-3. Good use of evidence is central to achieving this and knowing 'what works' is at the heart of developing good policy and programmes.

The European Child Safety Alliance believes in the value of 'good practice', which to us combines the best available research evidence with the practical expertise of professionals in the 'real world'. This approach requires that professionals are aware of both best evidence and practical aspects of transferring policies and programmes from one setting to another. With so much to do to address the safety of European children and so little time and limited resources, there is a need to focus on good investments, those strategies that are most likely to reduce childhood unintentional injuries.

For the purpose of this document 'good practice' is defined as:

  1. A prevention strategy that has been evaluated and found to be effective (either through a systematic review or at least one rigorous evaluation) OR
  2. A prevention strategy where rigorous evaluation is difficult but expert opinion supports the practice and data suggest it is an effective strategy (e.g. use of personal floatation devices (PFD) to prevent drowning) OR
  3. A prevention strategy where rigorous evaluation is difficult but expert opinion supports the practice and there is a clear link between the strategy and reduced risk but a less clear link between the strategy and reduced injuries (e.g., secure storage of poisonings) AND
  4. The strategy in question has been implemented in a real world setting so that the practicality of the intervention has also been examined.

This Child Safety Good Practice Guide build s on previous work by the Alliance and child safety researchers from around the globe and is a further step in supporting Member States in moving toward evidence-based good practice. Its purpose is to enable Member States to examine strategy options for unintentional child injury, move away from what has 'always been done' and move toward good investments – strategies that are known to work or have the greatest probability of success.

It is acknowledged that knowing what worked in one setting is not enough and the transfer and implementation points and European case studies included in this Guide are there as information to guide decision making and illustrations of good practice in action. It is hoped that this information will begin to provide initial thoughts on why a strategy worked and provide some guidance for transfer to new settings. However, more work is needed to understand all the factors that influence the success of a strategy that is transferred from one setting to another.

Finally, the synthesis of existing knowledge compiled in the development of this resource also allows the identification of situations where there is a need to evaluate existing interventions and where good practice strategies do not exist.


Download the Reference Document (PDF 529kb).