Safe Kids Week (June 3-June 9)

Parachute Safe Kids Week is an annual campaign to raise public awareness of child safety issues in Canada, encouraging community involvement as part of the solution. This year, Safe Kids Week took place June 3 to 9, and focused on the topic of preventing harm from children’s falls in the home and at play.

Falling is a normal part of children’s development, as they walk, climb, run, jump, play and explore their environment. While most child falls do not result in serious injury, each year more than 140,000 children are seen in emergency departments for fall-related injuries.

Most of these injuries to children under 5 occur in the home. Take part in Parachute Safe Kids Week, happening June 3 to 9, 2019 in communities across Canada. Keep kids safe from harmful falls in the home and at play with 5 tips that the Northumberland Sports Council will highlight during #SafeKidsWeek #FallProofYourHome


Tip #1 Use window stops and keep balcony doors locked.

A window screen can easily tear or get pushed through if your child is pressing on it. Keep windows locked when possible and use window stops, which prevent windows from being opened wide enough for a child to fall through.

Remember, children can climb even before they are able to walk. Climbing on furniture can give children access to windows and balconies, where they can fall from significant heights.

Tip #2 Use stair gates in your home.


Always use hardware mount gates at the top of stairs. Pressure mount gates can be used at the bottom of stairs.



Tip #3 Get on your child’s level!

Take time to get down on the ground and look around to see the world through your child’s eyes to identify hazards around your home.


Tip #4 Never purchase or use a baby walker with wheels.

Baby walkers with wheels are banned for sale in Canada because they put children at serious risk of falling down stairs and getting to areas of the home they wouldn’t normally be able to reach.


Tip #5 Active supervision, while still giving your child the chance to explore and develop, is key.

For children younger than five years, stay close to children as they play. And keep an eye on older children, too; they like to take chances but do not necessarily understand risks.



What is Risky Play? Why is it so important for keeping kids safe?

“Risky play is a term used to describe a body of research in the area of children’s play. It includes play at height, at speed, with dangerous tools, in dangerous environments, rough and tumble play and the ability to get lost. These characteristics are from the child’s perspective and support the development of confidence and competence to successfully negotiate their physical and social environment. Many parents and grandparents will recognize these characteristics in the play they experienced in their childhood. In that sense, risky play is not a new idea, but captures the elements of play that have been lost along the way as society has become more focused on reducing injury and liability. By eliminating risk from play we have removed the unexpected possibilities of success or failure. It is in this space of experiencing the unexpected that children learn to anticipate and control the outcome.

For instance, when a young child is learning to climb on a log, they will often fall off. It’s in the falling that they learn about balance and when they try again they can control their body differently to attempt a more successful outcome. And, sure in falling they may scrape their knee or suffer a bump or bruise, but only very rarely do injuries incurred in play warrant advanced medical intervention. Research suggests that learning to manage risk in play is advantageous as children age into adolescents where the consequences of actions become more severe. Mr. Rogers was right when he said “play is the work of childhood”. If we are committed to building a generation of healthy, happy and resilient adults, this work begins with children. There are excellent resources encouraging policy and programming to re-introduce the element of risk in play. It will take an interdisciplinary approach in our communities to move past the short-term, safety-minded play provision to a new approach that takes long-term health outcomes into account. Together we can make these changes – it’s worth the risk!”

– Brandy Tanenbum, Injury Prevention Program Coordinator at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre


Still want more? Check out this webinar on Risky Play!
Are we doing it all wrong? Physical activity, risk and resilience…/are-we-doing-it-all-wrong-physical-…

Each year more Canadian children are injured falling out of their beds than falling out of a tree yet there is no outcry to ban bedroom furniture. With few exceptions, our communities are safer than ever before but children are cocooned indoors, over-programmed and left with no time for free play and discovery. In one generation we have managed to eliminate the ability for children to negotiate their environment, make mistakes, learn, and develop lifelong skills including, perhaps most imperative: resilience. The outcome of this approach is nothing short of catastrophic from a health perspective, but not irreversible. There is a growing movement to bring the natural environment, play, and risk back to children. The recently developed concept of “risky play” identifies key elements in building resilience through physical activity. Risky play is defined as thrilling and exciting play that can include the possibility of physical injury. This begs the question: how can physical activity promoters integrate risky play in the same public health space as injury prevention efforts to eliminate preventable injuries?

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