St John takes safety into schools
Every week more than 135 children are hospitalised in New Zealand for a range of unintentional injuries, more than half of them the result of falls. Last month more than 12,000 youngsters around the country learned how to avoid adding to that statistic, courtesy of the ASB St John in Schools programme.
The ‘Make it Safe May’ injury prevention modules, developed by St John in partnership with ACC, focused on the four leading causes of child injury requiring hospitalisation — burns, poison, falls/slips and ‘water incidents.’
Director of Community Health Services Sarah Manley said on average St John treated and transported more than 70 children (birth to 18) to a medical facility or hospital every week after falls or slips, more than a quarter of them resulting in fractures.
“St John is called to far too many preventable incidents involving children, and we have been working with ACC to deliver bespoke modules with the hope of reducing the number of child hospital admissions due to unintentional injury,” she said.
“We have been coaching Kiwi kids how to avoid these common incidents by teaching them how to identify potential risks at home and at school, how to make safe decisions, the importance of knowing what we put in our mouths, and keeping dangerous items out of reach.”
St John and ACC had also developed an interactive online activity to teach children how to make their home safe (available free at www.stjohn.org.nz/ safetychamp).
According to Safekids Aotearoa, Ma¯ori were over-represented in paediatric hospital admissions, with 29 per cent of unintentional injury cases. In a bid to reduce that statistic St John was looking into translating injury prevention modules into te reo Ma¯ori.
ACC’s Head of Injury Prevention, Isaac Carlson, said educating children about injury prevention was one of several initiatives that were critical to changing behaviour around being safe and taking measured risk.
“As kids gain the skills to identify hazards in real-life situations they learn to assess and respond to risks. The more they do that the more they learn to manage risk well. What they gain is a lifelong skill, not only for their benefit but for the benefit of their families and communities as well,” he said.
The children at South Auckland’s Wiri Central School have become the proud custodians of an AED.