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Students spread safety message about preventing child falls

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Students spread safety message about preventing child falls

Kids falling off the monkey bars at school is often seen as part of growing up. But some child falls can lead to serious head or spinal injuries, or even be fatal.

More than 4,000 children under 15 are hospitalised in New Zealand every year due to serious injuries caused by a fall.

Now a group of event management students from the University of Waikato’s Management School have partnered up with Midland Trauma System (MTS) to teach parents and kids about simple things they can do to reduce the risk of falls at home or school.

As part of the campaign, families and teachers are encouraged to come along to several fun-filled events happening in Hamilton next week that have a serious safety message: kids don’t always bounce back after a fall.

The activities will range from ‘Sammie’s Safety Oympics’ taking place at YWCA Hamilton on 23 May, through to a family fun day with ‘Gru’s Safety Crew’ at the Hamilton Lake on 27 May.

There will also be an inter-school teachers’ quiz night at the Marist Rugby Club, and a number of special events involving the pupils of five local primary schools, including a ‘falls prevention boot camp’ for kids.

Midland Trauma System (MTS) is a network of specialist healthcare professionals who aim to reduce the high rate of hospital admissions caused by falls in the 0-14 age group. MTS is a joint initiative of the central North Island’s five district health boards with management of the regional database held at Waikato DHB.

“Over 600 children were admitted to hospitals in the Midland Region last year as a result of falls and these rates are rising steadily,” says Dr Grant Christey, trauma director at Midland Trauma System and Waikato DHB.

“Most injuries occur in the afternoon and mostly at home. On average, patients stay in hospital for two days at a cost to the hospital of over $3000 per admission. The added cost of pain and suffering, time off school and missed opportunities for children is enormous” says Dr Christey.

“We may not be able to prevent all injuries but there are plenty of simple things we can do to reduce the risks.”

For more information about Midland Trauma System visit www.midlandtrauma.nz

Events open to the public:

· Tuesday, 23 May – Sammie’s Safety Olympics at the YWCA Hamilton, 28 Pembroke Street, 4pm – 5.30pm. Five Olympic-themed ‘safety’ activities catering for children aged 5-11 years, including an egg-and-spoon race; a ‘spot the incident’ hunt; a professional gym instructor teaching kids how to fall safely, a stepping stone ‘true or false’ race, and a colouring-in activity. To register your child, please visit www.sammiessafetyolympics.com

· Wednesday, 24 May – Teachers Tackle Trauma. A friendly inter-school teachers’ quiz night at the Marist Rugby Club, 7-9pm. There will be spot prizes, food and drink. If you’d like to register a team of teachers, please visit http://teacherstackletrauma.weebly.com

· Saturday, 27 May – Gru’s Safety Crew. Come keep the kids entertained at this free public event at the Hamilton Lake playground (picnic lawn), 12 noon to 2pm. There will be fun Minion-themed activities, face painting, goodie bags, prizes and more.

10 tips for preventing child falls:

· The floor is the safest place to change a baby’s nappy. If you have to put baby on a bed or changing table, keep one hand on her at all times.

· Always use the safety harness when your child is in a pram, high chair or shopping trolley.

· Once your toddler starts trying to climb out of her cot, it may be time to move her into a bed. Don’t put children younger than six into the top of a bunkbed, and always use bed guards to stop them rolling out.

· Install safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs; and put safety catches on windows to prevent kids climbing out.

· Encourage your children to walk - not run - inside the house. Keep floors and walkways clear of clutter, toys and other trip hazards, or a loose rug.

· Use non-slip bathmats in bathrooms, and wipe up any floor spills straight away.

· Ensure balconies and outdoor decks are fenced, with railings that children can’t climb.

· Supervise older children who are carrying young children and babies, ensure they are able to hold them safely.

· Make sure kids wear a safety helmet and covered shoes while riding a bike, scooter or roller skates.

· Check that outdoor play equipment is safe to use and has an impact aborbing surface underneath, such as woodchips or rubber pads.

· Trampolines should be placed well away from fences or other structures, a good idea is to install them in the ground to reduce the height, and the springs and frames are well padded.

More information on child falls prevention can be found on ACC and Safe Kids websites.

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