Best Practices Overview

The aim of this project is to provide information to a wide variety of users on what works and what doesn't work for the prevention of injuries to children and adolescent The reason to conduct this project is straightforward: because resources are always limited, they should be used for those prevention programs which have been shown to be effective in properly designed evaluations. This information will be important for investigators in terms of setting priorities for a future research agenda as well as for injury control professionals in deciding priorities for implementation of interventions. 

Worldwide, injury is a leading cause of death in childhood and a major cause of morbidity and long-term disability. The implementation of prevention strategies of proven efficacy is of major public health importance. Finding out "what works" in injury control is of tremendous public health importance. Systematic literature reviews and meta-analyses are invaluable methods of synthesizing the existing evidence from evaluation studies. Health care providers, policy makers and injury control professionals are faced with large amounts of information, distributed in a large number of sources, and need systematic reviews to provide a basis for rational decision making. It is quite likely that when currently available evidence on the efficacy of injury prevention interventions is thoroughly synthesized, many interventions believed to be effective will be shown to be ineffective and vice versa. In addition, systematic reviews are likely to show that some proposals for future research are redundant because intervention efficacy can already be established from existing evidence. Most importantly, such reviews will clarify which programs are appropriate to implement on a broader scale. 

It is unreasonable to expect clinicians, policy makers and program directors who want reliable information about interventions to unearth all the relevant evidence from reports of original research. Particularly in the injury field, these reports are far too dispersed to make this practical. Many reports are not indexed in MEDLINE and cannot be easily found in computer searches. Reviews occupy a key position in the chain which should link results of research at one end to programs and decreased injuries at the other. 

Hundreds of childhood injury prevention programs have been implemented; many have been evaluated, and many have been evaluated in controlled trials. Injury prevention professionals in health departments, community agencies and other organizations need to have data on which interventions are effective and which make sense to replicate in their community. Investigators need to know what has been done in the past so as to not duplicate these efforts, and instead build on them. Hopefully, the information in this database will make the work of many people easier. Most importantly, our hope is that it will reduce morbidity and mortality from injuries to children and adolescents.