Avonsafe 2012 campaigns in focus

July 2012

Trampolining and hair straighteners 

Rob Benington is Injury Prevention Manager for NHS Bristol and co-ordinator of the Avonsafe partnership. Here he tells us about the campaigns that the partners are running in 2012 to reduce childhood injuries from garden trampolines and hair straighteners.

Avonsafe works to reduce unintentional injuries in Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset, and North Somerset. Our previous case study on Avonsafe explains more about the work of the partnership and Rob’s injury prevention role in Bristol.

The approach

Analysing admissions data

The Avonsafe partners have built their 2012 programme of work around the public health outcomes framework indicator on emergency admissions from unintentional and deliberate injuries among under 18s. Identifying the causes of emergency admissions has helped the team to plan targeted prevention campaigns across their region.

“Hospital admissions data shows that falls involving playground equipment are the leading cause of emergency admissions in 0-14 year olds nationally,” explains Rob. “We drilled down into local data and found that in Bristol, 20% of these injuries take place at home.”

Armed with this information, the Avonsafe team investigated the kinds of home-based playground equipment that could be involved in these injuries. They found that when garden trampoline sales took off in the USA in the 1970s and 1980s, there was a sharp rise in hospital admissions for children and young people who’d been injured while trampolining. The Avonsafe partners also spoke to hospital paediatricians to find out their perspective on the issue. “Each person was able to tell us about cases of trampolining injuries that they’d seen – it was clear that emergency departments are dealing with more and more of these injuries.”

Talking to frontline teams

Rob says that talking to frontline teams is a very useful way to flesh out the picture you’ve built from local data – and that it can even be the trigger for new prevention activities. “The starting point for our hair straightener safety campaign was information provided by Caroline James, a paediatric burns nurse at Frenchay Hospital and an Avonsafe partner. She’d conducted an audit which found that in the past 5 years, 110 children had been admitted to the South West Paediatric Burns Service with hair straightener burns – they were the third highest cause of admissions after hot drinks and hot food.”


Safe trampolining

Rob researched the evidence base on trampolining safety and produced the Trampoline Injuries report to summarise current understanding. “We were able to learn a great deal from work done by NHS organisations in Wakefield, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly and Greater Glasgow and Clyde. With their help, we designed a free two-hour trampolining training session that teaches skills and control, reinforces safety messages and helps parents supervise effectively. We teamed up with three local retailers to promote the training session at ‘point of sale’ – each person who buys a garden trampoline gets a voucher which entitles them to an information pack and a free skills session.”

The trampolining campaign was launched in June 2012 and was highlighted in local media, particularly through radio interviews. The retailers have been very supportive of the campaign but lower than usual levels of trampoline sales in June mean that uptake of the training sessions has so far been limited. If necessary, the team will employ alternative plans for distributing the vouchers, such as working with schools or delivering leaflets to homes in areas that have lots of trampolines, which they’ll identify by looking at images on Google Earth.

Avonsafe now plans to make the training resources available nationally, so that other unintentional injury prevention teams can adapt them to their local needs. “My vision is that one day, anyone in England who buys a garden trampoline will have the chance to attend a basic skills session. Now Avonsafe has done the legwork, it should be easier for others to make arrangements with local instructors and clubs who can run the course”.

Hair straightener safety

Avonsafe South Gloucestershire poster on hair straightener safetyAvonsafe was also able to build on the work of other organisations for its hair straightener safety campaign. “The very successful campaign run by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde was a great starting point for us and we also used resources developed by the Scottish Burned Children’s Club. Rather than reinventing the wheel, it makes sense to take what’s already out there and tailor it to your own needs – and, of course, people should feel free to use and adapt Avonsafe’s campaign materials too.”

Avonsafe’s campaign used a thought-provoking stunt – cooking a traditional English breakfast on a pair of straighteners – to grab the attention of the media and the public. Local Avonsafe teams then worked closely together to organise awareness-raising activities including poster design competitions and publicity events. During Child Safety Week 2012, Avonsafe NHS Bristol organised the sale of heat protective pouches at a subsidised price through the Lifeskills home safety equipment scheme.

What we can learn

  • Finding out about approaches that have worked in other areas will help you to design your own effective campaigns. Sharing learning and campaign resources enables injury prevention professionals to build on each others’ experiences and contribute to a continual cycle of improvement.
  • Gathering information and insights from frontline hospital teams can add valuable detail to what you learn from national and local data. It can also help to fill in the gaps when there is little or no data available on a particular issue.
  • An eye-catching PR stunt can be a very effective way to get safety messages out through the media. A film of the cooked breakfast demonstration on the ITV News website was a valuable resource for local activities – it provided external validation of the importance of the campaign and helped to stimulate discussion. It may also be a useful resource for others working in unintentional injury prevention.

Further information

For more information about the work discussed in this case study, please contact Rob Benington on 01179 002235 or rob.benington@bristol.gov.uk

Related links

Updated July 2012

Updated August 2013