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Back to Schoo-Oops!

Ahh September.  The kids are back to school and routines are back to normal.  Time to start thinking about updating the fall and winter wardrobe, winter tires, putting away the lawn-mower and closing up the pool.

Kids get excited too! Back to school means seeing their friends again, new teachers, new classes and maybe some new friends.  It also means getting back on the school playground.  What most people don't think about is playground injuries.  And yes, playground injuries tend to spike in September!

Playground injuries might mean time off school, interfering with their social lives, not to mention the additional work for parents of assisting their kids through things like eating left-handed.

Now, I'm all for avoiding bubble-wrapping our children, and truly letting them experience life outdoors, but a little mental preparation can help to keep them injury-free.

First let's look at some statistics (yaay!... nobody?)

How often do kids get injured on the playground?

More than 29,000 children under the age of 15 are seen in hospital emergency rooms for playground injuries each year in Canada. Children 5 to 9 years of age have the highest risk of injury, with boys injured only slightly more often than girls.  Playground injuries occur most often in summer (43%), followed by fall (27%), spring (24%), and winter (6%).

Three quarters of these injuries are due to falls! The next most prevalent cause is being struck by an object at only 11% of cases. Most commonly, the emergent injury is a fracture of an upper limb. Head injuries account for a total of about 15% of playground injuries seen in emergency rooms.

What can parents do?

Active supervision is important. Research has shown that children younger than five years of age were much less likely to take harmful risks when a parent was near by.

For older kids, remember that they use adults as their models.  It's important to teach and model playground safety rules, and remind children how to use equipment safely.  Make sure they know to remove things that can get caught or stuck such as loose necklaces, drawstrings, and helmets!

Education goes a long way, talk to your kids about injuries and what can happen. They can go have fun, but keep in mind what can happen if they fall.  Also remind your kids about proper playground behavior: there should be no pushing, shoving, or crowding.

Again, kids need to go outside and be kids, and have fun.  But a little education might just keep their little internal daredevil at bay!



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