Parents told to keep kids safe

By Lydia Anderson

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HAZARDOUS: Clean up mess lying around the garden.
HAZARDOUS: Clean up mess lying around the garden.

While Bay kids are having a blast these school holidays, the increased free time will likely see an increase in nasty accidents.

Last year 21,927 ACC injury claims were lodged for Bay of Plenty kids aged 0-14, costing taxpayers $4,629,092. This was up from 20,866 claims the previous year at $4,164,150.

Nationwide 334,141 child injury claims were lodged during 2012, costing $63,901,699. Boys were the most accident-prone, with 188,529 claims, compared to girls with 145,612 claims.

Tauranga Hospital Emergency Department clinical director Derek Sage said staff saw a slight increase in the number of injuries, but it was not significant and did not put any extra pressure on resources.

However, children were more likely to present in ED at all hours of the day during holidays, as opposed to evenings during term time.

"The injuries typically remain the same as during term time. So that would be sprains, abrasions and minor fractures from activities like sports, climbing on monkey bars and general play."

He advised parents to make sure children were wearing the proper safety gear when engaged in activities like cycling or skateboarding, and to supervise play when possible.

"Beyond that, kids will be kids I'm afraid and they will sustain the odd bump and bruise."

The majority of ACC child injury claims nationwide were for minor injuries.

Soft tissue injuries, such as bruises, strains and sprains, led to around 152,600 claims, while lacerations, puncture wounds and stings resulted in around 98,100 claims.

The next most common injury category was fractures and dislocations.

Other injuries included dental injuries, burns, "foreign body" in eye, and concussion.

ACC's Insurance and Prevention Services general manager John Beaglehole said many minor injuries happened during everyday, healthy play, so were simply part of childhood.

"Most kids love running and jumping around, which are all part of a healthy lifestyle. In fact, kids need to take some risks in order to learn.

"But at the same time, there are things you can do to help prevent injuries."

How parents went about this would depend on the child's age.

"With preschoolers, it's basically up to parents and caregivers to manage their risks, by checking their environment and through good supervision.

"As kids get older, you still need to set boundaries, but it's also about helping them start to learn to manage risk sensibly themselves. That means talking to them about risks and being a good role model."

Starship Children's Hospital figures from 2008-2011 showed falls were the leading cause of injury in children aged 0-14.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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