Thousands of Kiwi kids are learning to prevent injuries and hospital admissions
MEDIA RELEASE 30 MAY 2019
Every week more than 135 children are hospitalised in New Zealand for a range of unintentional injuries – of which more
than half are due to falls.
During the month of May, more than 12,000 primary school students throughout the country have been learning how to
prevent these types of injuries, through the ASB St John in Schools Programme.
The ‘Make it Safe May’ injury prevention modules, developed by St John in partnership with ACC, focus on the four
leading causes of child injury requiring hospitalisation: burns, poison, falls/slips and drowning.
On average, St John treats and transports more than 70 children (aged 0-18) to a medical facility or hospital each week,
due to falls or slips. Fractures make up more than a quarter of these incidents. Other weekly child hospital admissions
include non-traffic transport like falling off skateboards (12), sharp objects (7), poisons (5) and hot objects (4). In
addition, one child is hospitalised every two weeks due to a water incident.
“St John is called to far too many preventable incidents involving children. We have been working with ACC to deliver
bespoke modules with the hope of reducing the number of child hospital admissions due to unintentional injury,” says
Sarah Manley, St John Director of Community Health Services.
Last year alone, St John treated and transported more than 3,300 children to medical clinics or to hospital, due to
falls and slips.
“We have been coaching Kiwi kids how to avoid these common incidents by teaching them how to identify potential risks at
home and at school, how to make safe decisions, the importance of knowing what we put in our mouths and keeping
dangerous items out of reach,” says Ms Manley.
In conjunction with Make it Safe May, St John and ACC developed an interactive online activity to teach children about
understanding how to make their home safe. This is now available for free at:www.stjohn.org.nz/safetychamp
ACC’s Head of Injury Prevention, Isaac Carlson says educating kids about injury prevention is one of several initiatives
critical to changing behaviour around being safe and taking measured risk. “As kids gain the skills to identify hazards
in real life situations they learn to asses and respond to risks. The more they do that the more they learn to manage
risk well. What they gain is a life-long skill - not only for their benefit, but for the benefit of their families and
communities as well.”
St John today presented Wiri Central School in South Auckland with an AED, following a lucky draw for schools which
participated in the injury prevention modules.
According to Safekids Aoteroa, Māori are over represented in paediatric hospital admissions – with 29% percent of all
child unintentional injury admissions being Māori children. About 40 tamariki Māori are hospitalised each week from
unintentional injury. To help reduce these statistics, St John is now looking into how to translate the injury
prevention modules into Te Reo Māori.
Primary schools interested in the ASB St John in Schools programme can find out more and contact St John online at www.stjohn.org.nz/schools