Ottawa Citizen

‘Healthy’ photos not safety conscious

Health Canada web gallery contravene­s advice

- BY SARAH SCHMIDT

A new motto for Health Canada’s safety tips for sporting activities could be, “Do as we say, not as we show.”

The department’s online photo gallery is full of images for the media and other organizati­ons to reprint to promote “healthy lifestyles.” The only glitch is that many of the photograph­s, available at no cost, contravene Health Canada’s advice to parents on how to keep their kids safe.

“ For a department of the government of Canada to have something like that, to show a child with no helmet, it’s an absolute no-no,” Canada Safety Council past-president Emile Therien said. “It doesn’t make sense. Why would they have that up there?”

According to published safety tips for parents, Health Canada says children should always wear helmets for activities such as skiing, tobog- ganing, skating, cycling, roller blading and skateboard­ing.

The department also plans to introduce legislatio­n to regulate safety standards for helmets for skiing and snowboardi­ng.

When it comes to tobogganin­g, Health Canada safety tips for parents include using neck warmers instead of scarves to lesson the risk of suffocatio­n. Also, “make sure your children wear a helmet.”

One image in the Health Canada photo gallery shows a young girl and boy about to slide down a hill. The boy is wearing a scarf, and neither child has a helmet. In two other photos, fathers are whizzing downhill with toddlers in the front of the toboggan. The boys are bundled up with scarves, but no helmets.

There’s a similar problem for summer sports.

Therien said the photos in question should be taken off the web gallery. “ There should be an apology to say, ‘Hey, we blew it,’ ” he said.

In a statement on Thursday, Health Canada said some of the archival photos dated back “a number of years. The department will be reviewing its photo gallery to ensure that the images are up to date.”

 ?? HEALTH CANADA MEDIA ROOM ?? Health Canada recommends helmets for skateboard­ing, but this image shows otherwise.
HEALTH CANADA MEDIA ROOM Health Canada recommends helmets for skateboard­ing, but this image shows otherwise.
 ??  ?? Published tips suggest neck warmers, not scarves, for children on toboggans.
Published tips suggest neck warmers, not scarves, for children on toboggans.

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