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Campaign Organisers Say “Kids Don’t Bounce”

September 30, 2005

Safekids Campaign Organisers Say “Kids Don’t Bounce”

Falls might be considered a normal part of growing up but they are preventable and need to be taken seriously, say Safekids Campaign organisers.

Falls are the main reason children are admitted to hospitals with injuries in this country. On average 405 children every month are hurt seriously enough from a fall to need hospital admission.

Safekids Campaign national co-ordinator Joy Gunn says this number does not include children treated at emergency departments, by GPs or at home.

“This number reflects those who have more serious injuries. Some of these children will require long-term treatment for a fall injury. Still others will have a life-long disability or impairment. Despite what many adults think, kids don’t bounce and some falls cause major harm.”

Community coalitions supporting the nation-wide Campaign are planning a range of activities to reduce child falls.

“These activities will be based around a range of issues so while some communities are planning baby walker bashes and education around the use of these products, others will focus on preventing child falls from trolleys in supermarkets and retail stores. The number of falls from trolleys is not high, but the injuries to young children can be very severe.”

Preventing falls from playground equipment will also be a focus of the year-long campaign. Just under one-third of all fall injuries to children who are hospitalised are from playground equipment used in the home, school or local playground.

“We’ll be urging councils to look at their playground maintenance and safety practices this year – especially as there is a new voluntary standard for playground equipment in New Zealand. ACC, one of our partners in the Campaign, is already running safety programmes with schools that aim to reduce fall related playground injuries to 5 to 9 year olds. Kids in that age group are the ones most often injured on play equipment.”

ACC also offers falls prevention workshops for caregivers of preschoolers, which it provides free of charge to groups throughout the country. The workshops aim to help parents prevent falls to young children around the home.

The seriousness of fall injuries has been recognised with the recent launch of a national fall prevention strategy – part of the New Zealand Injury Prevention Strategy. One goal of the fall prevention strategy is to reduce the incidence and severity of fall injuries to all New Zealanders.

ENDS

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