Middlesex-London Health Unit

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School Health - Personal Safety and Injury Prevention

Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for Canadian children and youth from one to 19 years of age.1 However, the majority of child and youth injuries are preventable.2 Common injuries at school include falls, sport injuries, and bicycling injuries. The Child and Youth Program Team at the Middlesex-London Health Unit is dedicated to providing teachers and staff with resources needed to teach personal safety and injury prevention to students as well as create safe environments. Most injuries happen due to unsafe environments, conditions and behaviours. A supportive physical and social environment is important to help make the safer choice the easier choice and prevent injuries. Injuries can be prevented by identifying and changing unsafe practices. Here are things that students, teachers, and parents can do.

 
 

Students can:

  • Walk to school opposed to driving. Reducing the number of motor vehicles in school zones can prevent accidents
  • Advocate for secure and adequate bicycle parking to encourage cycling.
  • Join the Active at School Movement. ACTIVE AT SCHOOL envisions a Canada where every student, from kindergarten to grade 12, is physically active for one hour a day. Visit ActiveAtSchool.ca to learn more about this initiative, and join the conversation on Twitter (#ActiveAtSchool)
  • Be role models for younger students by making safe choices. This could include always wearing a helmet when riding a bike, using sun protective measures when outside and properly crossing the street by obeying all traffic signals
  • Report safety hazards to school staff e.g. burned out lights and broken glass
  • Become peer leaders for safety on the school yard, in the classroom and during extracurricular activities
  • Assist school crossing guards
  • Become part of safe school groups e.g., playground monitors
  • Volunteer to be part of the Active and Safe Routes to School efforts

Teachers/school staff can:


Parents can:

  • Talk to your children about being safe on the way to and from school, as well as at school
  • Act as role models and make safe choices. This could include wearing a helmet when riding a bike, using sunscreen and other sun protection and showing children how to safely walk to school
  • Create family safety rules that all family members must follow at home, at school and in the community
  • Advocate for a safe school yard with safe playground equipment
  • Advocate for lots of shade
  • Send sunscreen to school with your child
  • Ensure bike helmets fit properly and teach children how to wear them correctly

Community can:

Injury prevention cannot happen in isolation. There are expert organizations, including the Middlesex-London Health Unit, that can support school communities in their safety and injury prevention efforts.

Community Partnerships could include:


Policy can:

Healthy school policies help support the creation of Healthy Schools. To promote safety and injury prevention at schools, policies that support safe school environments are important. These policies should also support students in gaining the knowledge and skills needed to make safe choices. It is important for healthy school policies to be part of a comprehensive approach to safety and injury prevention. For more information on specific policies and/or procedures, visit your School Board website:


Other Helpful Resources:

 
Date of creation: January 30, 2013
Last modified on: July 26, 2017

References

1Public Health Agency of Canada. Leading Cause of Death and Hospitalization in Canada. Ottawa: 2008. Retrieved from
http://parachutecanada.org/injury-topics
2The Canadian Paediatric Society (2012). Retrieved from
http://www.cps.ca/documents/position/child-and-youth-injury-prevention