Safety and Injury Prevention

Unintentional Injury

Motor Vehicle Injuries

Did you know?
What can you do?
  • In Manitoba, motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death in children aged five to 19. Motor vehicle injuries are one of the top four causes of hospitalization.
  • In Canada, every year, about 10,000 children 12 years of age and under are injured in traffic collisions. About 75 of these injured children die each year in Canada.
  • Seatbelts do not usually fit children until they are at 8 years old, sometimes older.
  • 80% of child car seats in Manitoba are not used properly.
  • 16-19 year olds in Manitoba have the highest reported driver infractions. Top infractions include driving too fast for conditions, driver inexperience, and lost control/driving off road.

  • Check children regularly to be sure they have not undone the seatbelt or placed the shoulder strap under their arm or behind their back.
  • Check that their car seat or booster seat has been properly installed
  • Do not let them sit forward on the edge of the seat.
  • Make sure their seatbelt is worn as low as possible on the hips to reduce the risk of internal injuries.
  • Support a graduated licensing system, which allows new drivers to develop safe driving practices and attitudes through a staged process.

Booster seats and NEW legislation

On August 8th, 2013 a new law took effect in Manitoba that makes it compulsory for older children travelling in motor vehicles to use booster seats. For your child’s safety, provincial law requires children to remain in booster seats until they are at least 145 cm (4’9”) tall, 36 kg (80 lb.) OR 9 years old. Drivers are responsible for ensuring that child passengers are properly seated and restrained in child car seats, seatbelts and now booster seats.

**Effective July 1, 2013, child restraining devices used in vehicles, such as car seats and booster seats, are exempt from provincial sales tax.

In the event of a crash, research shows that booster seats protect children from serious injury by more than 60 per cent. Proper installation and use of a booster seat are important. For more information call 1-888-767-7640 or visit the Road Safety section at

Road Safety

Did you know?
What can you do?
  • Children’s field of vision is 1/3 narrower than adults. Children also have under-developed peripheral vision – making it more difficult to see many of the dangers around them on the road.
  • Children cannot determine the direction of sounds. Therefore they cannot always determine whether sound is coming towards them or moving away.
  • Small children may believe that a vehicle has “eyes” and that it can “see” them.
  • Supervise your children closely on roadways.
  • Insist that your child hold your hand when crossing the street. Teach him/her to make eye contact with the driver before crossing.
  • Insist that your child wear reflective equipment, a helmet, wrist guards, and knee and elbow pads when cycling, in-line skating, or scootering.
  • Teach your child to in-line skate or scooter only where it is safe and legal.


Did you know?
What can you do?
  • In Manitoba, falls are the leading cause of hospitalization in children aged five to 14.
  • Common injuries due to falling include concussions, fractures, dislocations, cuts, bruises, and sprains.
  • Falls account for almost ¾ of all playground injuries. Most falls involve climbers, slides, or swings. A typical injury for five to nine year old children is a fracture after a fall from a play structure.
  • Many common fall injuries occur during sports and recreational activities.
  • Other serious falls are due to playing on ladders, roofs, balconies, trampolines, and falling from bunk beds and through windows.
  • Encourage children to wear protective and reflective equipment when walking, biking, or inline skating. This includes helmets for wheeled activities on the road and sidewalk, and wrist guards for inline skating.
  • Choose a playground with a deep and soft surface (e.g., rubber, sand, pea gravel, or wood chips) instead of one with dirt or grass.
  • Make sure play equipment has sturdy handrails, barriers, and railings.
  • Do not let your child use a piece of equipment if he or she needs help to get onto it. It is meant for older children.
  • Do not use trampolines at home or at community or public play areas.
  • Do not let children less than 6 years of age use the top bunk of a bunk bed.
  • Do not let children climb ladders or play on roofs or balcony railings.
  • Make sure protective equipment for sports and recreational activities are adequate.


Did you know?
What can you do?
  • In Manitoba, drowning is the second leading cause of death in children aged five to 14.
  • Most cases of drowning occur near or in water (dugouts, pools, natural waterfronts, lakes), and when boating or swimming.
  • Always supervise children in and around water, even if they know how to swim.
  • Take swimming, water safety, and first aid lessons.
  • Always wear a lifejacket when boating.
  • Ensure that your backyard pool is fenced on four sides to at least 4 feet high, (or to local by-law requirements) and that the gate is self-closing and self-latching.
  • Know CPR and First Aid procedures and have a telephone and rescue equipment nearby.
  • Do not let children use flotation devices (e.g., water wings or inflatable rings) without constant adult supervision.
  • Never drink alcohol while swimming or boating.


Did you know?
What can you do?
  • In Manitoba, fires and burns are the third leading cause of death for children aged five to nine. These deaths are due to house fires.
  • Fatal house fires are most often caused by careless cooking, smoking, or playing with fire. • Smoke detectors can reduce the risk of death from fire by 50%.
  • When we think of burns, we usually think of fire. However, hot liquids cause more burn-related hospitalizations than fire (which causes more deaths).
  • A child's skin burns more quickly and deeply than an adult’s at the same temperature.
  • Young children are most likely to be burned due to playing with fire or campfires or explosive/flammable materials (aerosol cans, gasoline), or by spilling hot water or foods while cooking.
  • Install a smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide detector on every level of your home and in every sleeping area.
  • Check your alarms every month to make sure the alarms are working. Change the batteries at least once a year.
  • Do not smoke in your home.
  • Do not cook when you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or when you are very tired.
  • Supervise children closely near open fires such as bonfires and campfires. Teach older children that gasoline and aerosol cans cause severe burns and eye injuries when they ignite or explode.
  • Do not allow your children to play with matches and lighters.
  • Do not let children cook alone at home until they are at least 12 years of age. Make sure they have good kitchen safety and first aid knowledge and good judgment.
  • Supervise children closely in the kitchen, especially around boiling liquids. Foods and drinks heated in the microwave can also cause severe burns.


Did you know?
What can you do?
  • In Manitoba, suffocation/choking is the fourth leading cause of injury and death for children five to 14.
  • Drawstrings on jackets, skipping ropes, scarves, and loose clothing can become entangled in playground equipment or fences and cause strangulation.
  • Children can choke on food and candy, and numerous objects such as coins, toys, and balloons.
  • Choose clothing with no drawstrings at the neck. Remove drawstrings on hoods and replace them with Velcro. Remove toggles and knots on drawstrings as they can catch on play equipment, vehicle and school bus doors, and escalators.
  • In winter, use clips instead of strings to hold mittens. Use a neck warmer instead of a scarf.
  • Do not let children wear bike helmets on playground equipment. The helmet can get stuck so that the straps strangle the child.
  • Do not let children tie skipping ropes, leashes, or other ropes to trees, decks, or play equipment.
  • Make children sit down when eating. Laughing, running, and playing while eating increase the risk of choking.
  • Choose nutritious and safe snacks. Children can choke on large round gumballs and hard candies.
  • Do not let children hold coins, balloons, or other objects in their mouths. Do not let them play games where they place many objects or foods in the mouth.

School Safety

  • Use a reporting system to record injuries that happen at school. This information can be used to identify causes and plan preventive strategies for the school.
  • Provide appropriate adult supervision for all sports, recreation, and play activities.
  • Teach children how to use playground equipment properly.
  • Establish safety rules and use the proper safety gear for sporting activities.
  • Ensure regular equipment checks and maintenance.
  • Designate parent drop-off zones.
  • Be familiar with the Safety Guidelines for Physical Activity in Manitoba Schools and the Youth Safe Manitoba Field Trip Safety for Schools document.

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Intentional Injury

What are the signs?

  • Thinking about killing self.
  • Saying “I wish I was dead”.
  • Feelings of hopelessness.
  • One or more previous suicide attempts.
  • Death by suicide of a friend or family member.
  • Sudden change in behaviour (positive or negative).
  • Withdrawal from friends and activities.
  • Lack of interest.
  • Increase use of alcohol and other drugs.
  • Unusual preoccupation with death or dying.
  • Giving away valued personal possessions.
  • Mood swings, emotional outbursts, high level of irritability, or aggression.

What can you do?

Individuals should be trained before assessing for suicide risk!

  • Ask the person if he or she is thinking about suicide.
  • Be direct - Ask if they have a concrete plan.
  • Always take talk about suicide seriously.
  • Really listen, without judging or challenging, or becoming angry and shocked.
  • Stay with the person until other help is available.
  • Talk to someone.
  • Help them see hope for the future.
  • Guide them to other sources of help as soon as possible, such as a parents, counselor, or other trusted adult, or community crisis phone line.
  • Don’t keep the information to yourself.

If you are having an immediate mental health crisis, please click here to see a listing of mental health crisis lines and services available in Manitoba or contact the Youth Emergency Crisis Stabilization System at MacDonald Youth Services in Winnipeg.

Bullying and Physical Violence in School

What is Bullying?

Bullying is a major concern in our society. Bullying occurs when a person is targeted, over time, with repeated negative actions. Bullying involves an imbalance of power so that the person being victimized has trouble defending him/herself.

What can you do if your child is being bullied?

  • Take bullying seriously.
  • Listen and be supportive.
  • Reassure your child that it is not his or her fault.
  • Ask about what actions you can both take to solve the problem.
  • Promise to check with your child before taking action.
  • Talk to the teacher and/or school administrator and ask what they can do to help if the incident occurred at school.
  • Encourage your child to tell a trusted adult.
  • Teach your child strategies to counter bullying.

What can you do if your child is bullying?

  • Stay calm.
  • Don’t minimize the behaviour.
  • Model non-violent behaviour at home.
  • Try to find out why your child is behaving this way.
  • Talk to the teacher and/or school administrator and ask what they can do to help if the incident occurred at school.
  • Try to help your child to understand what it’s like for the victim.
  • Praise your child when he or she shows empathy for others.
  • Set realistic, firm guidelines to help your child control behaviour.
  • Obtain professional help.

How can Schools & Teachers Help?

  • Don’t ignore bullying; it will not go away.
  • Have clear policies and procedures for dealing with bullying in your school.
  • Equip teachers and school staff with prevention and intervention skills and strategies.
  • Have a school climate and programs that teach children and staff about safety and belonging and how to get along with others.
  • Resolve the situation decisively, and in a way that supports the victim, the bully and bystanders.
  • Ensure anyone affected by the incident is given an opportunity for counseling.
  • Keep records of bullying incidents.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest



Motor Vehicles

Road Safety


  • Manitoba Injury Data Resource, Injury Deaths and Hospitalizations Province-wide and by Region: 1996 and trends.
  • Parachute Canada. Playgrounds & Play Spaces.


Suffocation and Choking

Self-Inflicted Injury and Suicide

Bullying and Physical Violence

  • Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. (2004). Sticks & stones can break your heart.
  • Halifax Regional Police.  Bullying.
  • Olweus, D.  (1993).  Bullying at School: What We Know and What we Can Do.  Oxford, Blackwell.

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