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Unintentional Injuries

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Play is the main activity of children’s everyday life in all cultures. It provides children with opportunities for learning about the world around them, thus making it significant to children’s healthy growth and development (Brussoni, Olsen, Pike, & Sleet, 2012). However, because the rapid physical growth, strength, motor skills and greater independence of children during their preschool year; they become difficult to supervise and to carry out of danger which places them into the risk of unintentional injury when playing (Hoffnung, et al., 2010). Play is the main activity of children’s everyday life in all cultures. It provides children with opportunities for learning about the world around them, thus making it significant to children’s healthy growth and development (Brussoni, Olsen, Pike, & Sleet, 2012). However, because the rapid physical growth, strength, motor skills and greater independence of children during their preschool year; they become difficult to supervise and to carry out of danger which places them into the risk of unintentional injury when playing (Hoffnung, et al., 2010).

As children want to constantly explore thrilling and exciting new things for their development, their physical activity plays whether outdoor or indoor (e.g., exercise play, rough-and-tumble play); object play (toys) and pretend play (socio-dramatic) becomes more involved with heights, speed, hazardous equipments or near dangerous places that can highly result to unintentional injury (Brussoni, et al., 2012). Children then face the risk of making mistakes resulting to bumps, bruises or even a broken bone. That is also why boys are more likely to sustain unintentional injury than girls because of their greater risk-taking behaviour and more active approaches to play (Hoffnung, et al., 2010). Children’s playtime activity are ending in nearly three-quarters of a million children aged 0-15 years of hospital admission each year from having been injured inside their homes (Smithson, Garside, & Pearson, 2011). Falls off home equipments, being caught between objects or pinned against objects are some of the common issues for hospitalisations.

Effective provision of safety equipment such as supports with installation, maintenance of equipment and safety checks can help prevent these injuries at home (Smithson, et al., 2011). However, it would be challenging for families living in rented or extended accommodations to do so because of the limited possibilities for modifying their environment for home safety (Smithson, et al., 2011). Strategies such as declining children to engage in outdoor free play are considered by some parents and the media as an effective prevention for it keeps their children from the occurrence or risk of injury (Brussoni, et al., 2012). However, research also suggests that implementing this restriction may hinder children’s development physically and mentally (Brussoni, et al., 2012). By having the leisure life of the children just indoors, they will be more prone to problems such as obesity, due to lack of physical activity. Also, it can increase their social isolation, reduce sense of personal control and reduce happiness that may lead to anxiety and depression due to having used being alone at home (Brussoni, et al., 2012).

Thousands of children die due to these preventable causes (Brussoni, et al., 2012). Some children are lucky to survive, but there could always be a possibility that they may be significantly disabled for a lifetime. Children may suffer cognitively as well because of the lessen ability to perform different activities and this may highly impact the family members who are often called upon to care for their injured child (Hoffnung, et al., 2010). This can result to stress, having to leave from work, and lose income from hospital bills and medications. Local government and organisations that works in dealing with unintentional injuries for children are responsible for ensuring that environmental hazards are minimised. They continue to ensure the balance between providing a challenging but suitable environment for pre schoolers while making sure of the appropriate level of safety (Hoffnung, et al., 2010). Some of the works done are ensuring that public playground have low impact ground cover under swings and jungle gyms, and having child proof doors in childcare facilities (Hoffnung, et al., 2010).

References

Brussoni, M., Olsen, L. L., Pike, I., & Sleet, D. A. (2012). Risky play and children’s safety: Balancing priorities for optimal child development. International Journal of Environmental Research, 9, 3134-3148. Hoffnung, M., Hoffnung, R. J., Seifert, K. L., Smith, R. B., Hine, A., Ward, L., et al. (2010). Lifespan Development. John Wiley & Sons. Smithson, J., Garside, R., & Pearson, M. (2011). Barriers to, and facilitators of, the prevention of unintentional injury in children in the home: A systematic review and synthesis of qualitative research. Injury Prevention: Journal of the International Society for Child and Adolescent Injury Prevention, 17(2), 119-126.

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