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

Canadians can show their support for winter helmet use by signing the online charter

VANCOUVER, Nov. 20 /CNW/ - Safe Kids Canada 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."

In an international review that includes Canadian data, while head injuries have been shown to comprise three to 15 per cent of all injuries suffered by skiers and snowboarders, a large percentage of skiing and snowboarding deaths, 87.5 per cent, have been 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.

The aim of the charter is to promote a common goal among Canadians of creating a safe, healthy and active sporting and recreational culture for skiing and snowboarding activities. The Vancouver Charter is officially endorsed by Dr. Perry Kendall, Provincial Health Officer, Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport for British Columbia; Dr. Patricia Daly, Chief Medical Health Officer, Vancouver Coastal Health; and Dr. Jack Taunton, Chief Medical Officer, Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

"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, which was originally created during the 2006 Turin Winter Olympic Games. It was prepared by a panel of experts from European governments who worked under the coordination of the Turin Organizing Committee, BE.PRA.S.A. (a project co-financed by the European Commission and the health authority of the Italian region of Veneto) and the Italian National Health Institute. Following the Turin Winter Olympic Games, Italy passed legislation at the national level that now makes it mandatory for all children under the age of 14 to wear a helmet while skiing or snowboarding.

    
    PHOTO OPPORTUNITY:
    ------------------
    WHAT:     Officials will publicly launch and sign the Vancouver Charter
              on Skiing Safety

    WHO:      -  Pamela Fuselli, Executive Director, Safe Kids Canada, the
                 national injury prevention program of The Hospital for Sick
                 Children
              -  The Honourable Mary McNeil, Minister of State for the
                 Olympics and ActNow BC
              -  Dr. Patricia Daly, Chief Medical Health Officer, Vancouver
                 Coastal Health
              -  Dr. Hedy Fry, Member of Parliament for Vancouver Centre
              -  Dr. Mike Wilkinson, Director of Medical Services, VANOC

    WHEN:     Friday, November 20, 2009

              1:00 pm  -  Media are welcome to attend the Put A Lid On It!
                          Forum discussion.
              2:30 pm  -  Officials will provide remarks at the forum.
              2:45 pm  -  Officials will sign the winter helmet safety
                          charter.

    WHERE:    Put A Lid On It! Winter Helmet Safety Forum
              Metropolitan Hotel, Pacific Room
              645 Howe St.
              Vancouver, British Columbia
    

Safe Kids Canada's mission is to lead and inspire a culture of safety across the country in order to reduce unintentional injuries, the leading cause of death among children and youth in Canada. As a national leader, Safe Kids Canada uses a collaborative and innovative approach to develop partnerships, conduct research, raise awareness and advocate in order to prevent serious injuries among children, youth and their families. Our vision is Fewer Injuries. Healthier Children. A Safer Canada. Safe Kids Canada is the national injury prevention program of The Hospital for Sick Children. To learn more about Safe Kids Canada and child safety, visit www.safekidscanada.ca or call 1-888-SAFE-TIP.

SOURCE Safe Kids Canada

For further information: For further information: or to set up an interview, please contact: Lisa Lipkin, Safe Kids Canada, Cell: (416) 843-1190, lisa.lipkin@sickkids.ca

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Safe Kids Canada

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