Outdoor Accident Prevention

Now that warmer weather is upon us, the kids want to play outside! As parents, we’re more than happy to oblige. Fresh air and physical activity are great for kids, but sometimes all that running around and exploring invites accidental injury. According to the Canadian Paediatric Society, an estimated 28,500 children are treated for playground-related injuries every year!

Thankfully, by knowing where and how most common outdoor accidents happen, you can help protect your kids against them and against serious injury.

Falls

Falls are a major cause of injury-related hospitalizations. Common places for child-related outdoor falls include playgrounds, trampolines and such equipment as bikes, scooters, skateboards and roller blades.

How can falls be prevented? Adult supervision is the number one deterrent against falls. Other ways to prevent falls include:

  • Playground safety – Playgrounds are meant to be fun, but some areas like higher surfaces or equipment without guardrails or barriers should be off limits to kids who are age five or younger. It’s also crucial to look for playgrounds built on sand, wood chips or synthetic surfaces; all of which are best to land on should a fall occur.
  • Protective gear – While on bikes, scooters, skateboards and roller blades, kids should wear appropriate protective gear such as properly-fitted helmets, elbow and knee pads at all times.
  • Trampoline safety – Trampolines are a lot of fun, but can be a hazard if they’re not used properly. Ensure kids are safe by supervising them, placing the trampoline on level ground, allowing just one person on at a time and installing a safety net.

When to visit the hospital – Most cuts and bruises can be treated at home, but you should visit the hospital immediately if:

  • Bleeding continues after five to ten minutes of applying pressure.
  • You feel the cut is deep enough to require stitches.
  • Your child is displaying signs of a concussion such as vomiting, breathing problems, dizziness and headache.
  • Your child is inconsolable.
  • You suspect a fracture or a broken bone.

If you are unsure, call your local health line to inquire.

Road safety

Outdoor games like street hockey are a common sight in many Canadian neighbourhoods. However, streets aren’t made for play. It’s important to closely supervise such activity and teach kids about road safety such as not playing around parked cars and adhering to the rules of the road to ensure their safety.

Pool Injuries

While swimming pools are a wonderful way to have fun and bond as a family, they should be used with close caution. Every summer, the news is filled with reports of drowning and pool-related injuries.

How can swimming pool injuries be prevented?

  • Supervise kids at all times when they are in and around the pool.
  • Install fencing and a self-latching gate around your backyard swimming pool.
  • Enroll kids in swimming lessons and first-aid classes.
  • Empty and turn your wading pool over after each use. Even blow-up wading pools put kids at risk of drowning and falls.

Insect bites

Insects are a part of nature, but their presence and bites can be quite a nuisance and even dangerous at times.

How can bug bites be prevented?

  • Remove standing water to prevent mosquitos from breeding.
  • Hire a professional to remove bee hives and large ant hills.
  • Dress kids in light-coloured, long pants and tops at dusk when bugs tend to be at their worst or if they’re playing in a heavily wooded area (where tics tend to breed).
  • Use an insect repellant with low levels of DEET.

There’s nothing better than heading outdoors to play, but health and safety should always be a number one priority. For additional information about outdoor safety and injury prevention, please visit Health Canada.