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INJURIES ARE NO ACCCIDENT

- Local Families Encouraged to Think Safety to Reduce Risk of Child Injuries -

Predictable and preventable – most childhood injuries are no accident.

To help ward off injuries, local parents and caregivers are being asked to keep child safety top of mind, especially during Safe Kids Week (June 5 to 11). According to the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit, there are easy ways to help keep young children out of harm’s way.

“Very young children are constantly learning, moving and exploring, so there is always a risk for injury,” says Shelley Shaughnessy, a Family Health Nurse with the HKPR District Health Unit. “Helping your child stay safe means anticipating what your child might get into, identifying potential hazards, and assessing how to reduce the risk.”

Answering three simple questions: what?... so what?... and now what?... can help parents and caregivers with injury prevention efforts, she adds. Asking ‘what’ involves assessing a child’s actions and abilities; ‘so what’ means predicting potential hazards for a child based on his or her actions; and ‘now what’ is reviewing what can be done to prevent injury. Shaughnessy suggests parents uses the three-question approach for common causes of injury to Ontario children:

Falls: If a young child is starting to climb or walk (what?), then falls could pose a serious injury risk (so what?). Precautions to reduce falls around the home (now what?) can include: having a proper safety gate on stairs; ensuring furniture such as cribs, change tables or dressers are not placed by a window through which a child could fall; and keeping babies and young kids securely strapped in when using high chairs, swings and strollers.

Drowning: Since young children are very active and like to explore (what?), going near or into water may appeal to their curiosity – at the same time posing a drowning risk (so what?). To prevent drownings (now what?), parents should: actively supervise children when they are in or around water; get children under age five to wear life jackets; learn First Aid and CPR; and put children into swimming lessons.

Suffocation: Young children like to taste or put things in their mouths (what?), posing a potential risk for suffocation/choking (so what?). Taking steps to prevent suffocation (now what?) can include: removing potential hazards like balloons, coins, jewelry, small magnets and button-style batteries that children could swallow and could causes suffocation; supervising meals so children sit quietly while eating and ensuring food doesn’t get caught in their windpipe; and taking First Aid to know how to clear the wind passage if a child suddenly begins to suffocate.

Local parents and caregivers can get more injury-prevention tips and sign up for free child safety email alerts by visiting the Prevent Child Injury website.

For media inquiries, contact:

Shelley Shaughnessy, Family Health Nurse, HKPR District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100, or 1-866-888-4577,

or Kelly Taylor, Family Health Nurse, HKPR District Health Unit, (705) 457-1391, or 1-866-888-4577.

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