Children learn to avoid injuries

07-06-2002

Dangerous children's infectious diseases have been eradicated, but they are replaced by fractures, poisoning, burns and fatal injuries. Experience shows, however, that the number of serious injuries can be reduced if children are taught how to avoid them. And this was the main objective of the National Week of Child Injury Prevention, that ended in Prague on Friday. Alena Skodova has the details:

logaloga The week was organized by a non-governmental organization called 'Held-Out Hand' and it included a series of events for primary school children, their parents and teachers. Earlier this week, I went to a velodrome in the Prague 10 district to attend one of them. Unfortunately, I came at a bad time. I was told children who were there in the morning were gone, and those expected to come in the afternoon had not shown up yet. But I found one of the organizers, Tomas Langer, who told me more about the event:

"It's named '12 hours in Helmet' and the mission of this action is to tell everybody that helmets are very useful when you ride a bike, and we have this children's day to teach children about injuries, together with riding bicycles."

And do you cooperate with schools, teachers and parents?

"Yes, our company, a public service company, cooperates with schools and children's houses, we send them packages with materials that we use for teaching children, and they make about 100 such events every year."

Tell us something about your company.

"It's a non-governmental organization, Held-Out Hand, it's a public service company, and it deals with child injuries. Our company is very small, so we put emphasis on these events - one week a year - called National Week Of Child Injuries Prevention."

And is it held only in Prague?

"Yes, these events are only in Prague, but the packages we send to our partners are sent to the whole republic."

Are children used to wear helmet when they ride a bike or do you really have to teach them to do so?

"We have to teach them...."

And can you describe this day, what are the children doing here?

"Children are visiting our stations where they can learn about dangers in the home, in traffic and when they do some sport, and after they visit all the stations and finish, we give them presents - also about injuries."

The 'stations' Mr. Langer mentioned were in fact small stands, and in each of them children could learn about all kinds of dangers they can encounter in the home - ranging from a plugged-in iron to a bottle containing acid, but they were also taught what to do with dangerous things they might find on the street - such as used syringes thrown away by drug users. The Held-Out Hand organization's view is that the more children know about injuries, the more they are able to avoid them - and the same applies to their parents, because a substantial number of child injuries happen at home. Prevention is the most powerful tool, says Tomas Langer, and that's also what his organization's project, entitled Childhood without Injuries, is all about. The fact that 400 children die of injuries in the Czech Republic every year, and thousands are left disabled, underlines the necessity of events like this, when children learn important things in the form of a game.

07-06-2002