Festive first aid warning

Despite advances in safety, childhood injuries around Australia are on the rise.

It’s the holiday season and kids are out of school, running around, climbing trees and hanging off monkey bars.

And if research from Macquarie University, University of Sydney and Australian Catholic University is any indication, parents might want to get the first aid kit ready.

Over the past decade, nearly 700,000 children have been hospitalised with injuries – double the number of admissions for cancer, diabetes and heart disease combined.

Injuries were found to be the number one cause of death in children under 17 and for every child severely injured, another 13 were hospitalised with minor or moderate injuries.

Most incidents occurred in the home, with 24.5% of all injuries sustained there.

As for the activities which caused injuries, falls (38.4%) and sporting events (19%) were the most common, with fractures (41.9%) found to be the most prevalent type of injury.

Australian Medical Association Queensland Chair (Council General Practice) Dr Richard Kidd said it was alarming that the rate of injury had not declined in more than a decade.

“It’s an interesting tension in our society, because we don’t want to wrap our children up in cotton wool and make them too averse to risk and too afraid of becoming masters of their environment,” he said.

“We need to get the balance right.

We want an environment that allows kids to be kids and active, which can include risky activities like running, climbing and jumping, but still be safe.

Childhood injuries can affect the whole community, with the total cost of injury hospitalisations during the 10-year period amounting to $2.1 billion. “A bad injury can affect the whole family,” Dr Kidd said.

“Almost half of the parents of children who sustain severe injuries end up with post-traumatic stress disorder.”