How can I keep my child safe from accidents and injuries?
We all want to keep our children safe and secure and help them live life to their full potential. Knowing how to prevent the leading causes of child injury, such as traffic accidents, drowning and falls, is an important step in ensuring their safety.
Falls are by far the leading cause for hospital admissions for children under nine years old. They account for more than all other injuries combined, according to Parachute Canada, an injury-prevention organization.
As parents, teachers and caregivers of children and youth, we can prevent many of these injuries. Most “accidents” are not accidents at all, but are predictable and preventable events. The good news is there are many programs that can educate parents and schools on how to help children and students avoid injury.
How can I teach my child traffic safety rules and keep them safe on the walk to school?
Many students walk to and from school. It’s important they understand safety practices for walking are just as important as those for riding on a bus or in a car. Students can follow some simple road safety guidelines to prevent pedestrian injuries:
- Always cross streets at corners where there are traffic signals and designated crosswalks.
- Make eye contact with drivers before crossing on front of them.
- Always walk on sidewalks. Walk facing traffic if there are no sidewalks.
- Be aware of cars that are turning or backing up.
- Never run out into the street or cross between parked cars.
- If you are bicycling, wear a helmet, use bike lanes, obey traffic signals and use hand signals to indicate your intentions to drivers.
- Don’t text and walk! Keep your smartphone in your pocket or bag while walking.
- Younger children should walk to school with a buddy.
How can I keep my children and students safe during sports and swimming?
We want to keep our children safe when they participate in sports and play activities. Following simple rules to prevent injury can make play a safe and healthy activity for our kids.
A properly fitted helmet helps to protect a child's brain from absorbing the force from a crash or a fall. Four out of five brain injuries could be prevented if everyone wore a bike helmet when cycling.
Everyone should wear a helmet when:
- Inline skating
- Scooter riding
- Playing contact sports (such as hockey and football)
You should also ensure that your child has the full set of protective gear recommended for their sport to avoid sports injuries. The most commonly injured body parts are the hands and arms, although abrasions to other areas of the body are common. Wrist, elbow and knee pads should be worn when skateboarding and inline skating. Also, fitted mouth guards are a good idea in any sports activity that might involve falls or collisions.
What is a concussion and what can I do to prevent and treat it?
A concussion is an injury to the brain. Any blow to the face, head or neck, or a blow to the body that jars the head, could cause a concussion. It is important to know the signs and symptoms of a concussion so you can act appropriately. Anyone with a suspected concussion should be checked out by a medical doctor.
How can I keep my child or student safe near water or while swimming?
Drowning is the second leading cause of injury related death for Canadian children. Children can be at risk of drowning because they may overestimate their own skills or underestimate the depth of the water. Even a good swimmer can get into trouble.
Adult supervision, training for adults (CPR, water rescue), wearing lifejackets and swimming lessons all help to keep children safe when around water.
- Healthy Schools BC’s injury prevention guides and bike to school workshops
- Parachute Canada’s active transportation safety tips
- ICBC's guide to teaching your kids to be a safe pedestrian
- The BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit’s education modules
- Parachute Canada's Smart Hockey Concussion Kit
- The Concussion Awareness Training Tool for coaches and teachers
- Hub for Active School Travel BC’s advice on safe walking and biking groups