June 11, 2012
For immediate release
(Vancouver, British Columbia) – The Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport), on behalf of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Federal Minister of Health, today announced support for a project to reduce injuries among children and youth by improving the safety of outdoor play spaces used by children and youth, including First Nations, Inuit and Métis populations.
“Unstructured play is an important form of learning for children and youth, and is critical for healthy development. However, not everyone has access to safe and adequate outdoor play spaces,” said Minister Gosal. “Today’s investment is about reducing injuries at playgrounds and other outdoor spaces, while encouraging our kids to lead an active, healthy lifestyle.”
The University of British Columbia (UBC) will develop the Play Spaces for Vulnerable Children and Youth in Canada project in partnership with the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association, the Canadian Playground Safety Institute, and Safe Kids Canada. Together, they will work directly with communities and engage children and youth to assess current knowledge about outdoor play spaces in order to determine issues to be addressed through education and outreach. Information and resources — including an online tool to train community members to become outdoor play spaces inspectors — will ensure that parents, municipalities and policy makers have access to new and best practice information on outdoor play spaces.
“An estimated 2,500 children, aged 14 and younger, are hospitalized every year in Canada for serious playground injuries; however, many of these injuries are preventable,” said Dr. Ian Pike, Director of the British Columbia Injury Research and Prevention Unit at the Child & Family Research Institute at BC Children’s Hospital and UBC. “This project allows us to reach out to community members, providing them with the tools and resources needed to ensure outdoor spaces are safe for play.”
Through the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Active and Safe initiative, the federal government supports a number of projects that focus on preventing injuries among children and youth, and reaching Canadians in the communities where they live and play. Active and Safe encourages community level action to increase sport and recreation safety awareness.
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