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Child safety research gets $1.7 million boost

Research that will ultimately make it safer for children to get to school or home from the park whether they’re walking, pedalling their bikes or riding in the back of a car got a $1.7 million boost yesterday.

“Each year, about 130 Canadian children under the age of 15 die as a result of road traffic injuries,” said Anne Snowdon, AUTO21 Theme Coordinator for Health, Safety and Injury Prevention, and a professor at the Odette School of Business.

“This research will help reduce those injuries by ensuring children are safer riding in cars, or walking or cycling in their neighbourhoods.”

Federal Minister of State, Science and Technology Gary Goodyear was joined Monday by Essex MP Jeff Watson to announce the funding for Dr. Snowdon’s team from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the AUTO21 Network of Centres of Excellence, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the University of Windsor, and Transport Canada.

Snowdon, who will work with Dr. Andrew Howard of the Hospital for Sick Children (Toronto), called the financial support “overwhelming.” The research will allow her team to:

  • address the high rate of child occupant injuries in vehicles through child safety seat interventions and public policy action
  • translate knowledge of the patterns of safety seat use and misuse into the design and commercialization of a new generation of child safety seats
  • examine pedestrian safety and cycling safety for children.

Peter Frise, Scientific Director and CEO for AUTO21, called Snowdon one of Canada’s leading authorities on child safety and said the network was pleased to contribute more than $700,000 to a project that will have “far-reaching benefits for families.”

“It’s important to get knowledge in to the hands of knowledge receptors” such as manufacturers, policy makers and families, Dr. Frise said.

President Alan Wildeman said he was delighted that the University of Windsor is contributing $150,000 to such an important research initiative.

“Investing in research is investing in people,” said Dr. Wildeman, “and this research is based upon the highest standards of excellence in the world. Anything that’s about saving lives and improving lives is important.”

CIHR contributed $600,000 to the project, with NSERC providing $200,000 and Transport Canada pitching in $60,000.

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