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About SickKids

November 20, 2009

Safe Kids Canada launches national charter on helmet safety for winter ski sports to help reduce devastating injuries

VANCOUVER – Safe Kids Canada, the national injury prevention program of The Hospital for Sick Children, is asking Canadians to show their support for the use of helmets during winter ski sports by signing the Vancouver Charter on Skiing Safety. The charter, to be publicly launched this afternoon at Safe Kids Canada’s winter helmet safety forum in Vancouver, is designed to encourage the use of helmets during skiing and snowboarding activities. British Columbia is the first province that has officially endorsed the charter, created in the context of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Canadians can read the Vancouver Charter on Skiing Safety and show their support at www.safekidscanada.ca

“Given the increase in serious head injuries resulting from skiing and snowboarding activities, we felt it was time to ask Canadians to come together and show their support for protecting children from these preventable injuries,” says Pamela Fuselli, Executive Director, Safe Kids Canada. “We want children to take part in sporting and recreational activities and to be active and healthy, while at the same time being safe by wearing a helmet.”

An international review that includes Canadian data found that 87.5 per cent of skiing and snowboarding deaths were caused by a head injury. More specifically, traumatic brain injury has been reported to account for 67 per cent of skier deaths in children. Research has shown that ski and snowboard helmets are effective at preventing head injuries. It is estimated that for every 10 people who wear a helmet, up to six may avoid head injuries.

“Disability and death due to traumatic head injuries is an important population and public health issue that results in an extensive financial and social burden on our society,” says B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall. “The Vancouver Charter provides a common ground for government and stakeholders involved in winter ski sports to collaborate in developing and implementing sound, evidence-based safety standards and policies on helmet use in recreational winter sport activities.”

Other organizations that have endorsed the charter include: American Academy of Pediatrics; Atlantic Network for Injury Prevention; Brain Injury Association of Canada; British Columbia Injury Research and Prevention Unit; Canadian Academy of Sport Medicine; Canadian Collaborative Centres for Injury Prevention and Control; Canadian Institute of Child Health; Canadian Paediatric Society; Canadian Public Health Association; Canadian Snowboard Federation; Canadian Standards Association; City of Vancouver; Coaches Association of British Columbia; Dave Irwin Foundation for Brain Injury; EuroSafe; Institut national de la santé publique du Québec; Insurance Bureau of Canada; Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation; ParticipACTION; The Canadian Red Cross; Safe Communities Canada; Saskatchewan Prevention Institute; SMARTRISK; The Community Against Preventable Injuries; ThinkFirst Canada; Vancouver Coastal Health and Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Vancouver Charter on Skiing Safety is the successor to the Turin Charter on Skiing Safety, originally created during the 2006 Turin Winter Olympic Games.

To learn more about Safe Kids Canada and child safety, visit www.safekidscanada.ca or call 1-888-SAFE-TIP.