Injuries pose greatest risk to children

Last June was “Safe Kids Week” and to celebrate the event, Safe Kids Canada and Johnson and Johnson sponsored a home safety challenge. As a family, you went around the house with a safety checklist.

Why the interest in safety? It’s quite simple!

For children in Canada and the United States, the number-one health risk is not drugs, disease, or kidnapping–it’s injuries. Many kids are killed from unintentional injuries, and many more are permanently disabled.

Traffic injuries, drownings, fires and burns, firearm injuries, falls, and poisonings are not random accidents. They are predictable, and with proper education largely preventable.

A comprehensive injury prevention education program has been developed and field tested. The new “Risk Watch Curriculum” is aimed at the major risk areas that affect school-age children.

The “Risk Watch Curriculum” will create safer homes and communities for children and families, throughout Canada and the United States, by giving them the information and support they need to make positive, health-promoting choices about their personal safety and well-being.

“Risk Watch” will be a school-based educational curriculum for children in pre-school through grade eight. It will target eight risk areas:

  • motor vehicle safety;
  • fire and burn prevention;
  • choking, suffocation, and strangulation prevention;
  • poisoning prevention;
  • falls prevention;
  • firearms injuries prevention;
  • bike and pedestrian safety; and
  • water safety.

For some time now, fire services have used the “Learn Not to Burn” educational materials in schools throughout Canada and the United States to teach children and families how to be safer from fires and burns–with documented success.

Yet today, public safety needs of communities increasingly place fire department personnel in the role of emergency responders (first on the scene) not only in a fire emergency, but in medical emergencies along with ambulance personnel.

Fire safety educators needed new educational tools that take the broader, all-risk approach.

The “Risk Watch” program will rely heavily on committed fire and life safety personnel in fire departments, health departments, police, hospitals, and other agencies to promote this program at the community level.

The board of education and teachers also will be asked for their commitment.

Implementation of this program will be a challenge since teachers already are extremely busy with teaching their own curriculum.

“If you never need what you learn about personal safety, you have lost nothing.”

“If you never learn what you need, you may lose everything . . . your family and your life!”

A friendly reminder to you and your family . . . make time for safety!

Tyler Moffitt is a fire and life safety educator, part-time firefighter, and first aid instructor.