Woolworths is delighted to announce the opening of its first Childsafe Centre in Africa.

Child safety is very important to us at Woolworths, which is why The Woolworths Trust supports the Children’s Hospital Trust, an independent organisation that raises funds for the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and paediatric healthcare in the Western Cape. The Children’s Hospital Trust has played an instrumental role in the development of The Woolworths Childsafe Research and Educational Centre.

According to in-depth research done by Childsafe South Africa, a staggering number of accidents that injure children are recorded every year, many of which could have been avoided by taking simple safety precautions.

All Childsafe’s preventative work is based on their analysis of accidental death and injury statistics, and they have been maintaining a database with this information since 1991. This database serves as a highly regarded national surveillance system on childhood injuries in South Africa.

In order to run their much-needed child safety skills training programmes and research projects more efficiently, the rapidly growing staff at Childsafe required more space and resources than their modest offices at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital could accommodate. In support of the important work they do to keep kids safe, The Woolworths Trust donated R1.45m towards the R6.4m the Children’s Hospital Trust needed to build The Woolworths Childsafe Research and Educational Centre. This is Africa’s first centre dedicated to child safety and injury prevention and will provide Childsafe with the infrastructure they need.

“Addressing child safety is a key focus of The Woolworths Trust, and working with Childsafe has been incredibly rewarding. They have made great strides in creating a safer South Africa for children with their research, workshops and government engagement,” said Sam Ngumeni, Woolworths Chief Operating Officer and Chairperson of the Woolworths Trust.

The centre has been designed to include a Safety Demonstration Room, a model of the ideal design and furniture needed to create a child-friendly environment.  Childsafe President and Head of the Trauma Unit at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, Professor Sebastian Van As explains, “Our research has shown that about 80% of child injuries occur around the home. The Safety Demonstration Room will be used to give the general public useful tips on how to prevent easily avoidable child injuries at home.”

Louise Driver, CEO of the Children’s Hospital Trust, is confident that opening of the Woolworths Childsafe Research and Educational Centre will have a positive effect on child safety in South Africa.  “We’re expecting fewer accident-related trauma admissions at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital now that Childsafe is able to increase the impact of their educational programmes,” said Louise.

The Woolworths Childsafe Research and Educational Centre officially opens on 15 May 2014.