BLOG: Spring into Safety with these Top Tips
Spring has finally sprung, and if your family is anything like mine, you’re ready to throw open those windows and let the fresh air in! While warm weather is right around the corner, and should have us all running for the nearest trail or backyard play space, let’s take a moment to be sure that all these “springy” activities are as safe as possible for our families. Here are five quick tips to remember.
#1: Make wearing a helmet a rule for everyone.
A family bike ride, skateboarding, inline skating, scootering and horseback riding are all great ways to get exercise and enjoy the outdoors! But all these activities require a well-fitting helmet in order to be safe, and for good reason: head injuries are the # 1 cause of serious injury and death to kids on bicycles, scooters and roller blades. A properly fitted and correctly worn sport helmet can make a huge difference, cutting the risk of serious head injury by up to 80%.
A helmet fits well if it sits level on the head and isn’t tilted forward or backward. To fit a helmet properly, use the 2V1 Rule:
- The rim should be 2 finger-widths above the eyebrows.
- The straps should form a V under the ears.
- The chin straps should fasten snugly under the chin, so that 1 finger can fit under the strap.
Knee, wrist and elbow pads are also recommended, especially for kids just learning to ride or skate.
#2: Inspect all play equipment to make sure it’s in good working condition.
Falls from play equipment cause most injuries in children 5-9 years old. Check all home play equipment thoroughly before children begin to play, and check the surface below it – you may need to lay down more wood chips, sand or mulch. Make sure play equipment is free of rust, splinters, rotting wood and sharp edges and make sure no parts have broken or come off. Always be sure to supervise young children.
Check out our Playground Safety Top 5 Tip Sheet here.
#3: Consider this information on backyard trampolines.
Do you have a backyard trampoline? If so, did you know that injuries from backyard trampolines are on the rise for children 0-14 years of age? A 2009-2013 Atlantic Canadian study shows that 40% of playground equipment injuries resulted from playing on or falling from a trampoline. It also showed that 83% of backyard trampoline-related injuries occur while multiple people are on the trampoline at the same time.
If you allow your children to use a trampoline, the following tips may help prevent injury:
- Do not allow kids under 6 years old to use a trampoline
- Always ensure close adult supervision when the trampoline is being used
- Allow only one child on the trampoline at a time
- Do not allow children to attempt flips or stunts
Visit Child Safety Link’s page on Trampolines here for more information.
#4: Check driveways and /or parking lots before you drive.
Kids play everywhere, and they often love playing in driveways.
Every year in North America, numerous children are injured or killed in front- or back-over incidents in their own driveways by a parent or caregiver who did not see them playing.
You can prevent these tragic incidents by exercising the following steps:
- Walk completely around your car before getting in to drive.
- Eliminate distractions (put the phone away, turn off the music) while driving or backing out of your driveway.
- Roll down windows and listen before backing up.
- Do not rely on your vehicle backup camera: while they do offer some visibility, they also have significant blind spots at each corner.
#5: Keep small kids away from outdoor tools and supplies.
You may be itching to clean up your yard, deck or balcony after winter, and your kids are just as excited to get out and play! It is best to keep toddlers out of the yard while using any type of lawn mower or other power tools, and make sure the kids stay away from these items even when they are not in use. And as fun as it may look, never carry a child with you on a ride-on mower.
Garages and sheds are also not ideal places for children to play and explore. Not only are there sharp objects, but plenty of toxic products that could be very poisonous to a child (e.g. fertilizers, pesticides, car/truck products, paint products). Remember to keep all these products in a high, locked cupboard that children cannot access. Also, keep these types of products in their original containers so that they can’t be mistaken for food or drinks.
If you even suspect that your child has eaten something found in the garage, call the IWK Regional Poison Centre immediately at 1-800-565-8161 (in NS and PEI). In New Brunswick, call 911.