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Keeping Our Children Safe: How Knowledge Can Help Save Lives and Prevent Injury

Pregnancy, Labour and Delivery

The infant mortality rate in Canada is alarmingly high. Canada ranks 30th out of  36 countries that make up the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.[i]   It is also noted that this is in part due to inadequate maternal health care, discrimination and medical mistakes.

Stats Canada lists the top 10 causes of infant mortality[ii] and it would appear that many of these deaths could be preventable. 

Public Health Canada tells us that the risks factors for infant death include[iii]:

  • Low maternal education  
  • Inadequate housing
  • Lack of access to healthcare
  • Food insecurity
  • Poverty

In addition, birth injuries to infants occur at the rate of about 6 to 8 per 1000 births in the US[iv], many of which are avoidable.  It is thought that similar rates of injury occur in Canada.   

Discrimination in healthcare plays a role in infant mortality rates and birth injuries.  Education around discrimination in healthcare, pregnancy, labour and delivery rights, and medical mistakes can have an impact on improving birth outcomes. 

If you have been mistreated or discriminated against in a healthcare setting,  your treatment may fall below the standard of care giving rise to a medical negligence lawsuit.  Knowing your rights and speaking up against obstetric violence can help pave the way for change.

Car Safety

Car accidents are the leading cause of  injury related death in Canadian children[v].

In 2018 car accidents accounted for the death of 55 children under the age of 14 and 418 serious injuries for children under the age of 14[vi].  Some of these deaths and injuries could have been prevented by the proper installation of car seats and proper use of seatbelts.

“According to a recent analysis of severe injuries of child passengers, 92% of infants, 74% of toddlers, and 96% of school-aged children were not using the appropriate restraint at the time of the crash[vii]

It is very important to ensure that children are using the proper restrains.  Ensure that you read the weight classification and user manuals, some even come with installation videos.  In many communities you can attend local fire departments for a car seat safety check.  And you can head to http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/install-child-car-seat.shtml for instructional videos. 

Bike Safety

Cycling injuries account for  4% of all child emergency room visits and 7% of all child-related hospital admissions, in addition to 5% of deaths due to unintentional injury.[viii]

Helmets can help to prevent serious injury and death in children. It is important to ensure your kids have proper fitting helmets that are worn at all times.   Educating your children about road safety and vehicle traffic is also important.

Statistically, most cycling accidents occur at rush hours so its best to avoid taking your children out at those times if possible.

Swimming & Boating

Drowning is the second leading cause of injury related deaths in Canadian Children.[ix]  

If you have a swimming pool or are near a body of water ensure that children are supervised at all times.  Someone on the premises ought to know CPR.  Teach children to swim early.   Most children under the age of 4 can learn to swim[x]. Avoid drinking alcohol while supervising children who are swimming.

Swimming pools should be fenced in and many areas have bylaw specific fencing requirements.   Teach children to stay away from the pool or hot tub drains.  Do not keep toys in the pool.   If possible, separate or barricade the pool from the rest of the yard.  When swimming ensure life jackets or personal flotation devices are worn.

Ensure child is educated about boating, is supervised while on a boat, and is always wearing a life jacket. 

Having emergency equipment like a life ring with rope, and reaching pole are recommended.

Winter Sport Safety

Tobogganing can be a fun winter activity.  It is important to ensure proper safety equipment is used and parental supervision is recommend.   Safe locations set back and away from any roadways is essential.  Avoid very  crowded hills and steer clear of any open water.

The same applies for skating.  Ensure  the use of proper fitting helmets and safety equipment and stay clear of open water.  If skating on frozen ponds use extra caution in ensuring the body of water is actually frozen. 

In Ontario for the 2020-2021 season, there have been  58 serious snowmobile crashes with  11 fatalities[xi].  This can be a very dangerous winter sport.  When children participate in snowmobiling it is of the utmost importance to ensure they have proper safety gear, supervision, and knowledgeable guide/driver. 

Negligence

If your child has been injured as a result of someone else negligence, or their failure to take due care,  you may have the right to sue on behalf of your child. If you believe you or your child have been injured as a result of someone else negligence and want to learn more about your rights you should contact a qualified personal injury or medical malpractice lawyer. 

For additional information please do not hesitate to contact me for a free consultation. You can reach me at shearer@mckenzielake.com  or  @guelphinjurylawyer

Article by Catherine Shearer lawyer at McKenzie Lake Law Firm LLP, operating in Guelph, Ontario.


[i] https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/new-report-highlights-alarming-state-of-canadian-kids-well-being-1.4078958

[ii] https://www.statista.com/statistics/587413/top-ten-causes-of-infant-mortality-in-canada/

[iii] https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/science-research-data/inequalities-infant-mortality-infographic.html

[iv] https://columbus.org/birth-injury-statistics-and-facts/

[v] https://www.cpha.ca/child-passenger-safety-and-injury-prevention

[vi] https://tc.canada.ca/en/road-transportation/motor-vehicle-safety/canadian-motor-vehicle-traffic-collision-statistics-2018

[vii] https://www.cpha.ca/child-passenger-safety-and-injury-prevention

[viii] https://www.cps.ca/documents/position/bike-helmets-to-reduce-risk-of-head-injury

[ix] https://www.ccsd.ca/resources/ProgressChildrenYouth/pdf/skc_injuries.pdf

[x] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/child-safety/art-20044744

[xi] https://globalnews.ca/news/7629508/snowmobile-crashes-injuries-ontario-opp/#:~:text=For%20the%20entire%202019%2D2020,of%20the%20crashes%20were%20fatal.