Paediatric Surgeon. Research and advocacy injury prevention.
Q: If you could wave a magic wand what would you change and where would you start in order to improve childhood injury?
A: Starting with cross-sectoral federal and state government commitment to addressing the issue with an injury prevention action plan for children aligned with appropriate funding.
Q: Please tell us about a story that has had an impact on you and that has strengthened your resolve in childhood injury prevention.
A: Every child that is admitted to hospital as a result of an injury where the injury could have been prevented or made less serious while not stifling childhood exploration, fun and experience, leaves an impression. Car crashes, pedestrian injuries, falls from windows, children using off-road vehicles, bicycles and scooters with no helmet, trampolines, injuries to the very young. It’s the split second where everything changes – and didn’t need to “if only” – that leaves families reeling and lives changed forever.
Q: What practical solution(s) would you like to see/do you believe would see an immediate reduction in childhood injury?
A: It has to start with prominent government commitment, and a cessation of blame/responsibility shifting from sector to sector.
Any initiative where there is evidence – contained in the good practice guide – has my support. If you have to start in one area – the area of most injury is transport. But there is no reason multiple areas cannot be addressed – especially if one takes a step back and looks at addressing the ‘determinants’ of injury that are often common to many situations.
Q: Given your experience with childhood injury, what key message should parents/guardians need to be made aware of?
A: Preventing injury does not mean preventing childhood exploration, challenge and fun. Your child has a right to enjoy and experience all the joys of childhood while being protected from the risk of serious injury. Injured children have a right to access to health care that ensures the best possible outcome.