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Over 10,000 Kiwi kids learn to prevent injuries

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In May 10,271 students across New Zealand have learnt how to prevent injuries through the new ASB St John in Schools programme.

Students in years 1-8 from 100 schools over the country participated in the ‘Make it Safe May’ injury prevention module, developed by St John in partnership with ACC.

The module focusses on the four leading causes of child injury requiring hospitalisation: burns, poison, falls/slips, and drowning.

In New Zealand, unintentional injuries are the third-leading cause of death in children under 14, with more than three children hospitalised each day for falls, more than five children hospitalised each week for burns, about four children hospitalised for poisoning each week, and about three children die from a home drowning every year.

Last year, St John ambulance officers responded to 54 children—aged 0-18— on average each week due to a fall or slip and 20 children on average per week due to poisoning.

St John Head of Community Education Jacci Tatnell says they continue to see far too many preventable incidents involving children and know these situations can have a significant impact on them and their families.

“By teaching our tamariki how to identify hazards and risks and eliminate them, our homes and playgrounds can become safer and we can see fewer children hospitalised,” says Jacci.

“Through Make it Safe May, we have taught children how to recognise the dangers of falls and poisons, how to make safe decisions, how to identify appropriate safety equipment for outdoor activities, and explore how to prevent injuries in the playground.” 

ACC’s Head of Injury Prevention Isaac Carlson says it is important to educate tamariki about the risk of injury and how to better manage it.

“Kids learn through playing and exploration and it's important that we encourage this,” he says. 

“But it's also important that they know that risks exist. Having the ability to understand genuine harm potential and how to make good decisions to manage this, is an essential life skill – not only for themselves, but for their whānau and community.”

ACC recently launched an injury prevention campaign called ‘Preventable’. It is estimated 90 per cent of all injuries are preventable. Research shows that injuries are not random, unconnected or unpredictable.

Every year, ACC accepts around two million claims, which is more than 5,000 injury claims every day. Injuries can have life-changing impacts – for those who are injured, their whānau and society.

“With ‘Preventable’ we are not telling people to not take risks,” says Isaac.

“The campaign is telling people to have a moment to consider what the risk is and how to manage it more effectively. 

“We want to teach our young people about risk and how to manage it so they can keep themselves safe and have fun growing up in Aotearoa.”

In conjunction with ‘Make it Safe May’, St John and ACC offered a free interactive online activity called SafetyChamp to teach children how to make their home safe.

Schools that participated in Make it Safe May were eligible for a lucky draw to win a lifesaving automated external defibrillator (AED), and students who completed the SafetyChamp lessons went into the draw to win a first aid kit and free morning tea for their class.

St John presented Ashhurst School with an AED on Friday July 2 and today gifted a first aid kit and morning tea to ten-year-old Hinearoha Phillips from Opotiki Primary School.

Primary and intermediate schools interested in booking the ASB St John in Schools programme can visit www.stjohn.org.nz/schools for more information.

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