Travelling with children, and nutrition and mental health

1 Nov 2014

Transport accidents are a cause of death and disability across the developed world. In Australia, transport accidents are a leading cause of child deaths from unintentional injury (ABS, 2006) and a leading cause of hospitalisation (ABS, 2007). Most of those child hospitalisations from vehicle accidents are children who were not properly restrained (Kidsafe SA, 2010).

The use of child restraints significantly reduces the risk of injury or death in transport accidents, but there can be barriers to their optimal use. Working with families to help them to use child restraints in a manner that protects their child and adheres to the law can help to reduce the rate of unintentional injury and death among Australian children.


Developing strong foundations for good mental health is one of the many tasks for children in the early years of life. Mental health problems are thought to affect around 20 per cent of children worldwide (Belfer, 2008), and represent a significant global health burden. For some children, these problems will be transient; however, if left untreated up to half of preschool mental health problems will continue throughout childhood (Bayer et al, 2009) and can go on to have lifelong effects.

A range of risk and protective factors influence children’s ability to develop strong foundations for good mental health. Reducing the number and impact of risk factors and bolstering the number and impact of protective factors helps to set children on a healthy developmental path.

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