Policy/Advocacy Advocacy The Injury Prevention Center (IPC) at Connecticut Children’s promotes the adoption of laws and regulations that make us all safer. Combined with community outreach and education, legislation is a proven method to reduce preventable injuries. The IPC does this by providing up-to-date information to inform public debate on a range of safety topics affecting children. IPC team members have served on a number of task forces and committees, including the Governor’s Teen Safe Driving Task Force (2007-2008), the Task Force to Study the Statewide Response to Family Violence (2015-2016), and the Water Safety Task Force (2017-2019). Child Abuse and Neglect The IPC advocates for school to post helplines to inform students about the availability of assistance for abuse and neglect and to increase the number of victims who receive help. The safe environment of a school setting is an ideal place to reach children and youth who are suffering at home. Schools can play an important role in helping children receive early intervention and services that are critical in preventing further harm and prolonged trauma. Child Passenger Safety In 1998, the IPC described the frequency, severity, and cost of childhood injury (including motor vehicle injury) in the state, and our research-based advocacy resulted in the passage of child passenger safety regulations. Most recently, our advocacy helped in the success of an upgraded booster seat law. Bullying Prevention In 2006 and again in 2008, the IPC provided support to efforts to improve how schools respond to incidents of bullying in schools, sharing our work in looking at bullying and its impact on children with special needs. This resulted in significant improvements to Connecticut’s laws. Firearms The IPC’s work on firearm safety began in the 1990’s, when our research on severe firearm injury informed advocacy that resulted in the passage of an assault weapon law prohibiting the sale of selected firearms with large capacity ammunition magazines designed for short-quick firing without the need for skilled marksmanship. In 2013, the IPC led a policy forum on firearms in direct response to the Sandy Hook shootings. This policy forum featured the Commissioner of Public Health and contributed to the overall debate on gun control. In response to the events in Parkland, Florida in 2018, IPC staff testified in support of a bill that would ban guns without serial numbers, regulate homemade guns and those sold that require final assembly by the purchaser, and allow police to interview family members of those applying for a pistol permit. Connecticut Children’s released an official statement fully supporting local efforts to ban bump stocks and ghost guns. The IPC continues to advocate for ending the sale of assault weapons, banning high capacity magazines, restoring funding to firearms research, and strengthening the background check system. Helmets In the early 1990s, the IPC described the frequency, severity, and cost of bicycle injury in the state, and our research-informed advocacy resulted in the passage of a safety law mandating helmet usage for children less than 12 years. In 1997, lawmakers upgraded the law to mandate helmet use for children less than 16 years of age. In 2018, the IPC contributed to the successful advocacy for an expansion of the law to require children to wear a helmet when on scooters, skateboards, and inline skates. The IPC continues to advocate for the reinstatement of a universal motorcycle helmet law in Connecticut, which would require all riders to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle. Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence The IPC advocates through the presentation of data to improve the supportive environment for victims of family violence, including children who witness family violence. The IPC works with partners across the state including the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence and The Alliance to End Sexual Violence. Teen Driving Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens. In the 1990s, the IPC began to study the problem and promote the passage of a graduated driver licensing (GDL) system in the state. GDL systems phase-in the driving privilege for new teen drivers over a 12 to 18 month period and control high risk driving situations such as night driving and driving with teen passengers. The IPC’s first publication on this issue highlighted the discrepancy between teen and parent knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors around driving issues. In 1997, our advocacy resulted in the passage of the Connecticut Learner’s Permit Law and the addition of passenger and night restrictions in 2004 and 2005. In 1996, three IPC team members were recognized for their work involving the passage of the learners permit law for teenage drivers and were named as Traffic Safety Leaders by the National Advocates for Highway Safety. In 2007, the IPC examined support for a GDL upgrade, which led to passage in 2008 of significant improvements including stronger passenger and night restrictions, increased requirements for parent-supervised driving, a 2-hour mandatory parent class, and increased sanctions including a 48 hour license suspension for GDL violations. In 2010, the IPC studied the impact of the Connecticut GDL system and demonstrated that it resulted in a 30-40% reduction in teen motor vehicle crashes. IPC team members have since testified before the state legislature to protect the GDL system and preserve existing restrictions. Road Safety The IPC advocates for Connecticut’s seat belt law to include all passengers, including those in the back seat. Current law mandates this only for children under age 18.