September 16, 2019  — 

It’s that time of year — school is back in session! Whether you are a student, teacher, school bus driver or parent, this can be both an exciting and stressful time.

Did you know that schools are among the top places for injuries that lead to hospitalization for Canadian children and youth?

According to our most recent Injury and Trauma Quick Stats (XLSX), schools are among the leading places of occurrence for unintentional falls that result in emergency department (ED) visits for elementary and high school children. In 2017–2018, 18,990 ED visits for unintentional falls at schools or other institutions, or in public areas involved children age 5 to 17.

The good news is that 90% of injuries are predictable and preventable, according to Parachute External link, opens in new window, a national charitable organization dedicated to preventing injuries and saving lives. That’s why we are outlining some of the hidden hazards to be aware of in order to keep you safe this school year.

Getting to school

Biking to school? Cycling is one of the leading causes of sport-related injury hospitalizations for both children (age 5 to 17) and adults (age 18 to 64).

Walking your kids or siblings to school? Take extra care in the winter, as falls on ice are responsible for the largest number of winter-related injury hospitalizations for adults (age 18 to 64).

Recess

It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Playgrounds are the leading place of occurrence for sport and winter injury hospitalizations for both girls and boys. In 2017–2018, 1,507 hospitalizations involving children age 5 to 17 occurred in playgrounds; that number makes up 30% of all sport and winter injury–related hospitalizations for this age group in Canada.

Watch out for that ball! Over the last 5 years, counts in Ontario and Alberta have doubled for sport-related brain injury ED visits due to being hit by a ball for children age 14 and younger.

Before- and after-school activities

From the school ground to the sports field, before- and after-school activities are important for staying active. But according to our most recent injury data (XLSX), sports and athletic areas are the second leading place of occurrence for unintentional falls that result in ED visits for children age 5 to 17 (after schools, other institutions or public areas).

In 2017–2018, the top causes of hospitalizations for sport and winter injuries for boys and girls in elementary and high school (after playground) were cycling, all-terrain vehicle and ski/snowboard.

As many as 7 teens a day age 10–19 (more females than males) are hospitalized for conditions entirely caused by alcohol. Source: CIHI, 2017

Alcohol

It doesn’t only affect adults. According to our most recent Alcohol Harm in Canada report, in 2017–2018 as many as 7 people a day age 10 to 19 were hospitalized for conditions entirely caused by alcohol. Girls were more frequently hospitalized for alcohol than boys; this is the only age group where hospitalizations caused by alcohol were higher for females.

Whether you are a student, teacher, school bus driver or parent, it’s important to be aware of some of these hidden hazards to make sure you stay safe this school year.

For information on preventing injuries, please visit the Government of Canada’s Injury Prevention page External link, opens in new window or Parachute External link, opens in new window.