In 2001,134 children ages 14 and under died in bicycle-related crashes, and additional
300,000 were treated in hospital emergency rooms in 2002. Bicycle helmets have
been shown to significantly reduce the risk of head and brain injury.
account for 60 percent of bicycle injury deaths. Non-helmeted riders are 14 times
more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than helmeted riders.
In 2001, 669 children ages 14 and under died from pedestrian injuries. Of these,
521 died in motor vehicle-related incidents. Approximately 73 percent of pedestrian
injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms in 2002 were traffic-related; nearly
10 percent occurred in driveways.
Canadian Statistics: Between 1997 and 1998, 11,709 children ages 14
and under were hospitalized for fall-related injuries. Eleven children died from
falls in 1997.
Most playground injuries can be avoided by making sure playground areas are safe,
and by teaching kids to play on playground equipment correctly and safely.
For more information on playground safety and to download a copy of "How
Safe Is Your Local Playground? A Parent's Checklist," visit the Consumer
Federation of America's Web site.
Window screens are not strong enough to keep children in, so window guards can
be used to prevent children from falling. Window guards should not be used on
fire exit windows, unless they're equipped with a quick release mechanism that
can be opened easily from the inside.
Visit your local playground with your children. As you explore the different
playground equipment, go over basic safety rules. Tour the playground and stop
at each piece of equipment and ask how to play safely on that particular piece.
Go over rules such as:
- Take turns on the equipment.
- Tell a grown-up if playground equipment does not look safe. Look
around for examples to show your children - a swing chain is broken, climbing
bars are loose or broken, steps are broken on the slide, no soft surface (such
as chips, mulch, mats) under equipment, hard spots (such as hard-packed dirt,
where grass has worn away, cement, asphalt) that could hurt children if they fall,
equipment that is too high (taller than 6 feet), and equipment that doesn't have
guardrails to protect children from falling.
- Play gently - pushing and roughhousing on equipment can lead to falls.
- When getting off the seesaw, work with your seesaw partner to get off about
the same time - when the seesaw is flat and in the middle, nobody will crash.
Don't get off when you are at the bottom and your partner is fully up in the air.
- Always swing sitting down, with one person on the swing at a time. Walk far
away from a swing with someone on it. Allow yourself lots of room - remember the
person swinging may jump off.
- Wait your turn on the slide until the person in front of you has slid all
the way down to the bottom and gotten off. Slide sitting down, feet-first.
Ask your children to look around the playground and point out safe and unsafe
playground behavior. They get one point for each behavior they "spy." The person
with the most points wins!
When your children recognize unsafe playground behaviors, make sure they know
the proper behavior as well. For example: If your children "spies" someone sliding
down a slide on their stomach, ask them why this is wrong and what the proper
way is (slide sitting down, feet-first).
Data Sources: Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI),
Consumer Federation of America, Health Canada, National SAFE KIDS Campaign®,
Safe Kids Canada.
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Fall Prevention parent activities.
Make sure play areas are covered with at least 12" of shredded mulch, wood chips, pea gravel, fine sand or are covered with rubber or rubber-like material designed for use under playground equipment. Dirt and grass do not provide proper fall protection.