Accidental injury is a principal public health issue with important individual, societal and economic consequences. Crude figures show that 2.7 million deaths from injury and poisoning are reported worldwide. In developing and industrialized countries 10-30% of all hospital admissions are due to accidental injuries. In particular, children and adolescents are at risk. In all industrialized countries accidental injuries are the major cause of death and morbidity among children above the age of one. In the domestic safety area much effort has to be invested in improving the safety of the environment and products. In the European region, collaboration among authorities in the framework of the European Community (EC) has been shown to be productive in the area of safety. Although trade interest is predominant in the EC objectives, the need to harmonize national regulations and standards towards common European standards has appeared to be an important vehicle for establishing standards at an optimum level of safety. It has also fostered some collaboration in data collection and analysis and in implementing prevention measures. An even stronger international collaboration is needed for ensuring that appropriate priorities are being set and prevention measures are effectively being implemented.