Inside Parachute

TD I ThinkFirst! Contest:  A Fun, Interactive Way to Teach Kids About Safety

This year’s I ThinkFirst! Contest engaged many classes across Canada, of various ages, to learn about injury prevention through discussion and creative projects. Katherine Raas teaches Grade 1 at Osbourne Elementary in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan; and Irene Englezos teaches Grade 6 at Trinity Montessori School in Markham, Ontario. We asked for their feedback on the program, and were delighted to hear the results.

How did the I ThinkFirst! Contest help you realise the importance of being aware of childrens' injuries and understanding how to prevent them? 

Katherine: “As a mother and early-years teacher, I know it’s important to educate kids about injury prevention. But the I ThinkFirst! Contest is a new and fun way to teach my students about safety.”

Irene: “I thoroughly enjoyed the curriculum and the online support for educating and referencing safety and injury prevention. Especially the injury case studies: they were relatable and created a forum for open discussion with students.” 

Wny do you think it's important for children to understand injury prevention? Do you feel that more activities like the I ThinkFirst! Contest should be implemented into elementary school curriculums? Why/why not? 

Katherine: “Children are naturally curious, and don't always realize there are risks involved in everyday activities. I would love to see more of these types of projects available to elementary teachers and students. Hands-on lessons are more appealing to students, and often lead to greater information retention and learning.”

Irene: “Absolutely. I think we sometimes take for granted that children understand safety and injury prevention, but this is not necessarily true. Although many of our students could give examples of how to prevent injuries, they were not all aware of potential hazards associated with certain activities. This should definitely be implemented into the elementary curriculum, as prevention is the key!”

Creative projects often get kids thinking and give them a break from standard lecture-style classes. Did the children enjoy doing this activity? And how were they engaged in the topic of injury prevention? 

Katherine: “The students loved this activity! They were involved in all aspects of the project: from brainstorming topics and content, to the method of presentation. They were motivated by the possibility of their book being used to educate other children.”

Irene: “They loved getting involved in the injury prevention projects. It was great to see the students discussing ideas and being creative. It also allowed children to share experiences and ask questions, if they did not understand how to avoid dangerous situations. They enjoyed making posters, videos and writing stories/poems. They researched ideas on how to make them creative and fun.”  

What do you think was the most valuable part of the contest? Did it prompt the children to learn more about injury prevention from one another and through discussion? 

Katherine: “We had many great discussions, and I think that the students learned a lot from each other. The children had to cooperate and work together to create their safety book, which I think was invaluable. Students teaching students is a great way to make learning stick.”

Irene: “I think the most influential lesson this time around was the anger management and anti-bullying campaign. I think for our older students, this was very relatable and they learned different strategies to help them cope with a difficult situation or problem with a friend. We had many open discussions about this topic, and it was great to see different opinions and share strategies.”  

What was the children's strongest area of existing injury prevention knowledge? Safety at play, at school or at home? Depending on which was strongest, how could we improve their knowledge of the other two?

Katherine: “Home safety was the strongest area of knowledge, likely due to parents/guardians teaching their children from a young age. This type of program is a great way to introduce and teach new information. All areas of injury prevention had to be presented, before students could narrow down topics for their project.”

Irene: “I think the strongest knowledge was definitely the play component. I think, from a young age, children are taught about safety related to playing, street signs, fire, bike safety, etc. They were still very knowledgeable on home and school safety, but more discussions and projects would be great to provide them with more information in those areas.” 

Why do you think the I ThinkFirst! Contest was successful in sparking thought and conversation into the daily activity of the children? Do you think they would be interested in doing a similar contest again?

Katherine: “The I ThinkFirst! Contest was a fun approach to learning about injury prevention. Students would absolutely be excited to participate in a contest like this again.”

Irene: “I think the contest was successful because these are topics children deal with daily.  Whether it’s home, school or play, safety should always be discussed. Unfortunately, we live in such as busy society, we often do not take the time to explain the importance of why we do things, we just inform and move on. If children were more aware of the possible threats and potential risks of not being careful, they would probably be more diligent in their everyday lives. We will absolutely implement this contest and similar themes next year.”   

Find out more about the TD ThinkFirst For Kids Curriculum and the I ThinkFirst! Contest.

Bruce Peninsula Safe Communities Designation – Q&A

In conversation with Bruce Peninsula Safe Communities Co-chair Terry Bell

On June 14, 2017, the Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula and the Town of South Bruce Peninsula came together to become the 68th Parachute Designated Canadian Safe Community. Parachute asked Bruce Peninsula’s Safe Communities Co-chair Terry Bell some Q&As about the process of achieving this milestone and plans for the future. 

Parachute: Why did you initially seek designation?

Terry Bell: Our community relies rather heavily on the summer tourism industry. We felt designation as a safe community is important, and would also enhance our tourism profile. 

Parachute: What were (if any) your obstacles during this process, and how did you overcome them?

Terry Bell: Originally, it was difficult finding a time that was suitable for most potential committee members. We were holding our meetings at 7:00 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month. That time was not working. People did not want to give up their evening for yet another meeting. We changed the time to 3:30 p.m. and our attendance improved substantially. We found more committee members could attend during regular business hours.

Parachute: What does a designation and participation in the Parachute network mean to you and your community?

Terry Bell: The designation is like icing on the cake for our community. We have members who are genuinely committed to our efforts in making our community a safer place for all our citizens. They are involved because they want to be! This committee is an action committee which I’m proud to be a part of.

Parachute: What do you hope to gain from this designation?

Terry Bell: Our group has been together for three years now. We have addressed five community concerns successfully. We have gained a reputation as a committee that gets things done! We have gained the respect of the community and most importantly their trust.

Parachute is thrilled to welcome the Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula and the Town of South Bruce Peninsula as our newest designated Safe Community. We look forward to working together to help stop the clock on preventable injury.

Safe Kids Week- 20 Stitches: My six year-old’s road to recovery

On the afternoon of October 22, 2016, I was getting off a bus with my three young children. As I was adjusting my daughter’s stroller, I asked my two eldest boys to wait for me to cross the road. But, my six year-old son, Cody ran ahead into the street where he was hit by a passing car. Before I could see what happened, I heard a panicked woman screaming and I knew something had gone terribly wrong. I immediately saw my son lying in a nearby ditch, but I struggled to process what had actually taken place. Cody was unresponsive and was quickly rushed by ambulance to our local hospital in Sudbury before being airlifted to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto.

The next eight days were terrifying and trying for our entire family. Cody suffered a lacerated liver and cuts and bruises on his head, which resulted in about 20 stitches. While the bleeding to Cody’s liver stopped within a couple of days, he suffered a couple of setbacks, which included contracting rhinovirus. Cody’s fever kept him in hospital a little longer than expected.

Seeing my son in insolation, in the intensive care unit, and unable to do much of anything made my heart ache. Last Halloween, Cody spent the night in his hospital bed while his siblings and friends were out trick-or-treating. However, despite his suffering, Cody did return home and made a full recovery. I am thankful for that.

I commend the work Parachute is doing to remind all road users to be vigilant and follow the rules of the road. I feel grateful that Cody survived this horrific incident and I am hopeful that through better education, other families will share the same positive outcomes.

 -Francine Nault, Cody’s mother

Introducing 2017 Stacey Levitt Memorial Award Recipient

Parachute is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2017 Stacey Levitt Memorial Award is Jenicca Jean from Upper Queensbury, New Brunswick.

Jenicca is a grade 12 student at Nackawic Senior High School.

"Jenicca’s academic excellence, exemplary leadership abilities, her service to her school and community, and her general love of life make her an ideal candidate for this award, despite facing significant obstacles," said her vice-principal.

“I’m tremendously honoured and will try to keep her (Stacey) memory alive,” said award-recipient, Jenicca.

Jenicca exemplifies Stacey Levitt’s qualities and ideals, and Parachute’s overarching goal of a long life lived to the fullest, while maintaining an approach that is rooted in risk management and injury prevention.

Congratulations, Jenicca, on this great accomplishment!

Poison Prevention Week: Spotlight on Safety at Home with P&G Canada

Sometimes home can be a hazardous place for children, with injuries from play and curiosity resulting in more than minor bumps and bruises. These more serious occurrences are responsible for more than 20,000 emergency room visits every year across Canada- that’s about 60 children every day. Things within the home environment such as medication, batteries, household cleaning products and personal care products are the leading causes of unintentional poisoning.

Fortunately, many child injuries including unintentional poisoning are predictable and preventable. Awareness events including National Poison Prevention Week help empower families and caregivers with information and resources to improve the safety of Canadian children.

This year, P&G Canada is helping to shine a spotlight on home safety during National Poison Prevention Week happening from March 19-25, 2017. Together with Parachute, P&G Canada is sharing tips and tools to help create safer homes for children.

While many Canadians understand the importance of baby proofing, including covering electrical outlets, locking cabinet doors and placing safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs, laundry room safety also needs to be a priority for parents. According to the company, only one in five parents who buy laundry packets consider them a top safety concern. While they are bright and colourful products, parents and caregivers should avoid referring to laundry packets as a toy or something a child might want to play with.

Over the years, home layouts have changed with many newly designed laundry rooms located close to where families spend most of their time, like the living room or kitchen.

Additional safety tips include securing TV’s and computer monitors with brackets, keeping all tech accessories together to ensure they don’t pose a choking hazard for young children, and storing all electrical cords and remotes in a safe place- remote batteries can also be hazardous. It’s important to keep potentially harmful products like medications, laundry packets, batteries, cosmetics and household chemicals locked away, out of reach and out of sight of young children. It only takes a quick moment and a small amount to harm a child.

You should also be aware of potential airborne poisons like CO, Radon and smoke inside your home. Ensure there’s proper ventilation and keep all fuel burning appliances and smoke/CO alarms in proper working condition to help prevent potentially deadly consequences.

We know many child injuries can happen in the home. That’s why Parachute has a full list of Safety At Home tips to help parents create a healthier environment for their kids, from water and bath safety, to choking and strangulation, to poison prevention. For a more in-depth look at home safety, we also offer a collection of resources on Parachute Horizon.

Webinar: Responding to the Opioid Crisis in Canada

RE-SCHEDULED: New webinar dates will be announced soon. Please follow this page for updates.

Parachute and the Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre are joining forces to present this free webinar on the opioid crisis in Canada. The abuse of Opioids, most notably in the form of Fentanyl, has slowly grown to epidemic proportions in Canada over the past few years. Responses to tackling this issue have emerged on different fronts through front line action, community level interventions, enforcement and policy action. The three webinar speakers are: 

Dr.Roy Purssell - an emergency physician at Vancouver General Hospital and a Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of British Columbia. Dr.Purssell brings a medical toxicological perspective to the Fentanyl/ Opiod abuse problem and will discuss the treatment of patients who have taken overdoses of ultra-potent opioids including fentanyl.

Brad Reaume - a Detective Constable for the North Bay Police Service Street Crime Unit. With 15 years of policing experience, Brad is Involved in Bill 33 Safeguarding Our Communities Act as well as the Regional Patch for Patch Program in Northern Ontario. Speaking from a law enforcement perspective, Brad will talk about pharmaceutical fentanyl, origins, methods of abuse, street pricing, and associated crime.  

Patricia Cliche - a Registered Nurse with 30+ yrs experience in the Emergency Department and over 15+ years in Injury prevention. Pat will speak from a Harm reduction and injury prevention perspective and throw light on the implementation of Bill 33 in Northern Ontario and the adoption of the Regional Patch for Patch Program. 

ACCESS INSTRUCTIONS will be posted shortly.

An Update from our 2016 Stacey Levitt Memorial Award Winner Thomas Semchyshyn

Last year, Thomas Semchyshyn of Winnipeg, Manitoba, was selected as the recipient of the Stacey Levitt Memorial Award. While a Grade 12 student at St. Paul’s High School, Thomas was an active member of his community through participation in sports, student council representation, volunteer initiatives and running a sports camp for kids. One year later, Thomas tells us how he was able to use the scholarship to work towards his dream.

Thomas Semchyshyn:

I was very honoured to be presented with the Stacey Levitt Award last June as I felt that Stacey and I shared many of the same ideals and values especially our love for sports. I played many sports, but football was my favourite. I was the quarterback of the top ranked high school team; I played on the provincial team, and even internationally, where my team played against Cam Newton’s (QB of the Carolina Panthers) all-star team. I planned on playing well into my university years, but in the second game of my senior year, I shattered my collarbone and required surgery to piece it back together.

I missed most of the season, and only made it back for the championship game. The break from football also gave me perspective. I was feeling very depressed, until my brother said, “You were meant for far greater things than just winning football games.” I took his words seriously and reflected on the meaningful things I had done in my life.

For example, when I was in grade 10, I started a free sports camp that was open to ALL kids including those with special needs. I used my athletic peers to help coach the young participants. The Camp grew quickly, and included hundreds of kids and over 60 high school athletes as coaches. The camp is in its fourth year, and I have really seen how it has benefited both the kids as well as the coaches.

University tuition is expensive, but winning the Stacey Levitt Award through Parachute Canada meant that I did not have to worry as much about earning a lot of money during the summer. I was able to take a minimum wage job as a youth sports leader at the University of Manitoba Mini U program. Working this job allowed me the opportunity to learn more about the ways in which I could structure my own camp. I learned a lot and I was able to improve my camp by implementing many new things this year.

In September I began attending the University of Manitoba, where I am working towards becoming a teacher. Although I am gifted athletically, I am challenged academically. I have dyslexia; however, I have worked very hard and managed to find success in the classroom. I feel that education is one area where I can really make a difference in the world. Currently, I work part-time in a k-8 school as an Educational Assistant, and I am the head coach of the competitive boys basketball team at that school.

I know that a life lived to the fullest is the theme of the Stacey Levitt Award, so I saved a small amount to fulfill my dream of seeing an NFL game at the infamous Lambeau Field. On October 7, 2016, I saw my favourite team, the Green Bay Packers, beat the New York Giants. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire game day experience, and it was unlike anything I had ever experienced before.

I have learned so much about safety through my own experiences. As a coach, I work hard to teach kids about assessing risks and preventing and reporting injuries. I am so grateful to the Levitt family for giving me the support to help me realize my educational dreams, improving my sports camp and finally attending an NFL game. Stacey Levitt left this world before I arrived in it, but there is no doubt that she has inspired me to live my life to the absolute fullest.

Parachute wants all Canadians to help prevent unintentional poisoning

National Poision Prevention Week runs March 19-25, 2017. This year, Parachute brings awareness to poison prevention within the daily living environment of Canadians. Household products, chemicals, prescription medication, poisonous fumes and gases all pose risks to the well being of residents within the home.

Parachute will be hosting a Poison Prevention Week Twitter Party on March 23, 2017, discussing some of the most common forms of poisoning and who may be most at risk. You’re invited to chat and weigh in on the discussion to help #PreventPoison. 

Medication is a leading cause of poisoning in young children but products like mouthwash and nail polish also have the potential to do serious harm. Health Canada says household chemicals are among the top products responsible for injuries and deaths in children aged five and under, which serves as an important reminder to keep chemicals out of a child's reach. While young children are at an increased risk for unintentional poisoning, adolescents and seniors are also vulnerable.

We believe that awareness and education is critical to preventing injuries and saving lives. Whether you're a parent, educator, health professional, or an interested member of the community, you can help prevent unintentional poisoning.

CO: The Silent Killer

While many potential poisons can be identified in your home, there is a silent killer that cant: carbon monoxide is an invisible gas you can’t see, taste or smell. Together, Parachute and the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) have put together a Carbon Monoxide Safety Education Toolkit to help better educate and keep you and your family safe. (created by Kidde Canada) is a tips and information website to help protect Canadians from the dangers of fire and carbon monoxide.

Here are tips that can help prevent unintenional poisoning:

  • Keep all potential poisons such as medication, laundry pods, batteries, cosmetics and household chemicals locked away, out of reach and out of sight of young children.
  • Be aware of potential air-based poisons such as CO, Radon and smoke within the home. Ensuring proper ventilation, keeping all fuel burning appliances and smoke/CO detectors in proper working condition can help prevent adversities.

When it comes to unintentional poisoning, seniors are also at risk. Here are some ways to help prevent poisoning: among seniors:

  • Use a pill organizer, reminder or daily pill container to ensure the right meds are taken at the right time.
  • Keep a list of all medications on hand at all times (which can help avoid potential drug interactions in an emergency situation).
  • Wear glasses and ensure there’s good lighting when taking medications at night to avoid mistakes.
  • Keep medications away from grandchildren or other young children in the home.

In case of an emergency, contact 911 or your nearest poison control centre. 

Did you now the Canadian Association of Poison Control Centres (CAPCC) provides a centralized forum for communication, information and idea exchange among Canadian Poison Centres. Visit CAPCC to learn more and find the poison control centre near you.

Parachute has a number of poison prevention resources available including factsheets, infographics and educational resources around Carbon Monoxide safety, Radon safety, and making your home a poison-free zone. Explore these resources and stay informed to #PreventPoison.

Embracing The Elements

5 Safety Essentials For Winter Sports

Canadian winters traditionally bring a mixed bag of weather elements: snow, ice, sleet, slush and bone chilling temperatures. Parachute wants you to stay active throughout the winter season, living long lives to the fullest, while at the same time, helping prevent predictable injuries.

January 21-29 marks International Snowmobile Safety and Awareness Week. Snowmobiling isn’t only considered a national pastime during winter months, this activity is enjoyed by more than four million people across Canada and the United States. During this safety awareness week, people are encouraged to learn more about how to operate and ride snowmobiles safely. 

Before you hit the trails, slopes or rink this season, check out our five safety essentials for playing winter sports:

1. Check ice conditions

The colour of the ice can often show how strong it is. Clear blue ice is considered strongest, while white opaque or snow ice is half as strong. If the colour of the ice is grey, it’s considered unsafe since it usually means there’s water in it. When walking or skating alone, ice thickness should be 15 cm (or 6 inches). For skating parties or games, ice should be 20 cm (8 inches), and when snowmobiling, the ice should be at least 25 cm (10 inches) deep.

2. Snowmobile 101

While snowmobiling has become a popular winter activity for Canadians, children are most vulnerable to injury. Each year in North America, 200 deaths and 14,000 injuries are caused by snowmobile incidents. And since a snowmobile can weigh up to 600 pounds and hit speeds of more than 100 kilometres per hour, it’s best to consider these safety measures, especially when it comes to kids:

  • Always wear a helmet.
  • Children under the age of 16 should not drive a snowmobile.
  • Children under the age of six should not ride at all.
  • Avoid ‘kid-sized’ snowmobiles altogether; they aren’t considered safe.
  • Contact your provincial or territorial snowmobile association to learn how to best operate the vehicle.
  • Never tow a person behind a snowmobile.
  • Stick to trails that enforce rules and promote safe driving.

3. Frostbite risks

Outdoor activities can be a lot of fun in the winter but it’s best to keep an eye on the temperatures and plummeting mercury. Children should play indoors if the temperature or wind chill drops below -25 C (-13 F). It only takes a few minutes for exposed skin to freeze in these conditions. To help prevent frostbite, dress children in warm layers, covering exposed skin including fingers, toes, ears and nose. It’s also important to quickly remove any wet clothes since it’s one of the biggest frostbite factors.

4. Sledding and tobogganing

Whenever there’s a generous snowfall, many people dust off their sleds and head to the nearest hill. Before you load up the car, check the toboggan to ensure it’s in good condition. It’s also important to ensure hills are free of hazards like trees, bumps and fences. A hill that’s not too steep (less than 30 degrees) is best for children, and make sure you accompany young ones on the sled. Young children should never head down a hill alone. A ski helmet is also recommended since sledding mishaps can cause serious head injuries.

5. Don’t forget your helmet

It’s a startling statistic but head injury is considered the most common cause of death among skiers and snowboarders. By wearing a helmet, it’s estimated that about 35 per cent of all skiing and snowboarding head injuries can be prevented. So add your helmet to the list of must-have items before you hit the slopes.

You can find more detailed information on our winter safety tips here.

12 Holiday Home Safety Tips

Many Canadians carve out time to indulge, shop and decorate but it’s also important to ensure nothing is overlooked when it comes to making your home safe for the holidays. Parachute has partnered with Kidde Canada to deliver 12 Holiday Home Safety Tips to help prepare your family this festive season.

1. Keep an eye on candles

Candles are one of the most common causes of household fires. Be sure to keep them out of a child’s reach and always blow them out before leaving a room. A safer option is to swap traditional candles with battery operated flameless ones.

2. Make the fireplace an exclusive zone for Santa

Fireplaces, whether gas or wood burning, create ambiance but can cause serious burns.  The glass front on a gas fireplace can heat to over 200 C (400 F) in just six minutes and stays hot for several hours! Place a safety gate around the fireplace to keep children at a safe distance or forgo using the fireplace.

3. Check labels on new toys

Purchase age-appropriate toys. Be sure to read warning labels and check the safety alerts on Health Canada’s database to see whether a toy has been recalled. Ensure toys that use batteries are in good working order, especially the compartment where the batteries are – make sure the cover is tight.

4. Prevent choking hazards in young children

About 44 children aged 14 and under die every year in Canada from choking, suffocation and strangulation; many more are hospitalized for serious injuries. What’s more, nearly half of children hospitalized have choked on food. Hard candy (like candy canes), nuts, popcorn, hot dogs and raw carrots are considered choking hazards for children under three. It’s best to keep them out of reach and encourage kids to stay seated while eating. 

5. Double-check smoke alarms

Make sure smoke alarms are in working order and batteries are fresh.  Remember to replace any alarms that are more than 10 years old whether they are hardwired or battery powered. Test alarms monthly. 

6. Ensure you have working CO alarms

Protect your loved ones by installing carbon monoxide alarms outside all sleeping areas, if your home has an attached garage, wood or gas fireplace, or other fuel-burning device. Like smoke alarms, CO alarms don’t last forever.  Check the age of your CO alarms and replace any that were made before 2009.

7. Keep your tree hydrated

If your home is flowing with the fresh scent of pine, you’ll want to water your fresh tree daily and keep the base of the trunk submerged at all times. It’s important to also position your tree away from ignition sources like the fireplace, heaters or candles. 

8. Ensure your holiday lights won’t heat up

Children are curious and if they’re young, they may rely on touch and taste to discover objects. Little ones can suffer electrical burns from touching hot lights or putting them in their mouths. Keep all lights out of reach and opt for ones that don’t run the risk of heating up.

9. Know the escape plan

Having a home fire escape plan is key but many families don’t have one in place. Develop and practice your escape plan twice each year with everyone in your home, and consider doing it with your guests when they visit over the holidays. Always pick an outdoor meeting place to rendezvous after evacuation, where you can call 911.  One person should also be responsible for helping anyone who might need assistance in the event of an emergency.

10. Keep the fire extinguisher within reach

If your holiday bird overheats and catches fire, you’ll want to have the option of quickly grabbing the fire extinguisher -- but only if it’s safe to do so. Keep one in readily accessible areas around the house and look for A, B or C ratings to tell you what extinguishers are best suited for which types of fires.

11. Inspect holiday lights

Before stringing Christmas lights, check all cords and toss any that look frayed or damaged. Never plug more than three strings of lights together.

Don’t connect LED to conventional lights- that could wear out LED’s quickly and can pose a fire or electrical hazard.

12. Make your Christmas tree a child-safe zone

Trees big and small can be appealing for little ones who may be drawn to shiny bulbs and twinkling lights. Consider placing trees out of reach or in a room with a safety gate to deter young children from touching it. Holiday plants may also look festive but both mistletoe and holly are considered poisonous and can cause stomach upset, so it’s important you keep tiny hands (and furry friend’s paws and chops) away from them.

You can find more Kidde holiday safety tips by checking out the ‘Be on the ball this holiday season’ campaign with the Toronto Raptors.

Kidde Canada is a Parachute sponsor. Parachute has worked with Kidde Canada to provide this content to our readers. This is not a product endorsement by Parachute and homeowners should always read the product manual that comes with any safety product.

Parachute Recognizes National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

Statement from Pamela Fuseli, Interim CEO, Parachute

December 6 marks the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.  We remember the shooting deaths of 14 women in 1989 in Montreal by a man deliberately targeting women on a busy campus. They died because they were women.

On this date, Parachute pays special tribute to the students and families impacted by the shocking December 6th events at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal. We also take time to reflect on the phenomenon of violence against women in our country. 

Violence against women remains a substantial source of injury in Canada. The Government of Canada looking at the Status of Women revealed startling social and economic impacts. Parachute believes that these tragedies and the significant burden on individuals and families can only be prevented through social change that stops physical and sexual violence.

Parachute joins with its partners across the country in marking the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, and in committing to take action against gender-based violence in all its forms.

It is important to remember those lost, reflect on the collective improvements we can make to end violence, and resolve to participate in positive change. You can learn more here and join in the conversation on social media using Your #Actions Matter.

Year End Message From Pamela Fuselli

At the end of each year, reflecting on what’s happened the previous 12 months, I’m always struck by how grateful I am for the dedication and collaboration amongst my colleagues. Beyond the importance of the cause of preventable injuries, it is the reason I’ve stayed in this sector for almost 20 years.

From our spectacular team at Parachute to our Board members, funders, sponsors, partners and stakeholders who helped us throughout the year with financial donations, expertise and support, this collaborative spirit is pervasive. I believe it is the reason for the successes we enjoy as we continue on the path to an injury-free Canada…ensuring Canadians live long lives to the fullest. 

I am proud of our accomplishments in 2016, especially with the challenges facing the charitable and non-profit sector. Together, we faced the challenge of tackling the #1 cause of death for Canadians aged 1-44 by focusing education, policy and programs on road safety, seniors’ falls and concussions. Together, we worked to raise awareness, and grow our collective impact and influence to Stop The Clock on preventable injuries.

Parachute released our first-ever mobile application this year. Minister Jane Philpott launched the Concussion Ed app along with students from Glebe Collegiate Institute in Ottawa. The app was an immediate hit with thousands of downloads in just a few weeks. Our website has more information download details. 

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Safe Kids Week focused on the top injury issues that affect children At Home, At Play and On The Road. Across Canada, more than 130 partners, representing every province and territory, executed Parachute Safe Kids Week. Together, we raised awareness through more than 34 million traditional and social media impressions.

We continued an emphasis on road safety during National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW) in October. Communities hosted 252 events from coast to coast and garnered 87 government proclamations of support. During our national media launch, the campaign message #GetHomeSafe was trending on Twitter. 

To raise awareness during NTDSW, Parachute produced Choices a 90 second film to launch a new media format. Produced in partnerships with OPC, Collective Agreement, TimePlay and The Voila Foundation, Choices ran in Cineplex locations across Canada throughout October earning 90,000 pledges to end distracted driving.  

While we’ve accomplished a lot together, our work is not done as the impact of injury continues to be felt across this great country tragically one child dies every nine hours from preventable injuries. Continued focus on effective frameworks such as Vision Zero, changes to policies, and ongoing dissemination of life saving information require support in 2017.

On behalf of everyone at Parachute, we wish you and your family a happy and safe holiday season.

Canada’s National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims

Statement from Pamela Fuselli, Interim CEO, Parachute

Today, November 16, 2016, marks Canada’s National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims. Each year, thousands of Canadians are injured or die as a result of road crashes. Victims and their families and friends are not the only ones impacted by road crashes. Entire communities suffer the loss. The costs – physical, emotional and financial – are simply unacceptable.

Together, we all have a role to play to keep our streets safe. Recently, with the assistance of our community partners, Parachute distributed thousands of resources at cross-country events in support of National Teen Driver Safety Week. On November 29th, Parachute is hosting Canada’s Vision Zero Summit where road and traffic safety leaders will come together to discuss how we can help drastically lower the number of deaths and injuries on our roads.

Today, we remember all the victims and recommit to making our roads safer through public education, infrastructure changes and enforcement of legislation that saves lives. Learn more.

Together, we all have a role to play to keep our streets safe. Recently, with the assistance of our community partners, Parachute distributed thousands of resources at cross-country events in support of National Teen Driver Safety Week. On November 29th, Parachute is hosting Canada’s Vision Zero Summit where road and traffic safety leaders will come together to discuss how we can help drastically lower the number of deaths and injuries on our roads. Parachute is dedicated to preventing injuries, saving lives. Our vision is an injury free Canada, with Canadians live long lives to the fullest. Join us.

Keeping Canadians safe and injury-free

Parachute wishes Barry King a happy retirement!

Please join Parachute in wishing Barry King a happy and healthy retirement. We want to express our thanks to Barry for his outstanding contribution to Parachute and especially his commitment to Safe Communities.

Parachute is a national, charitable organization, formed in July 2012, which unites the former organizations of Safe Communities Canada, Safe Kids Canada, SMARTRISK and ThinkFirst Canada into one strong leader in injury prevention.

Barry was part of a small team that created the first nationally designated Safe Community in Canada, in Brockville, Ontario. As part of Safe Communities, and then Parachute, Barry has presented to groups across the country sharing stories of success and inspiring communities to seek designation. 

Earning a Safe Community designation is not easy, as a municipality must meet certain criteria and show a commitment to working with Parachute to promote safety and injury prevention in its area. However, Barry is a tireless cheerleader and organizer who helps assigned communities mobilize for success.

Most recently, Barry joined a celebration of The City of Windsor as it successfully completed the Parachute Safe Community Canada ten step process and becomes the 67th ‘Designated Canadian Safe Community.

Prior to being part of our team, Barry achieved many honours in policing. He began his career as a military police officer. Barry then went on achieve the rank of Superintendent at Peel Regional Police. From there, Barry served as Chief of Police for Brockville and Sault Ste. Marie.

After 46 years of policing service, Barry’s continued his commitment to community safety — through Safe Communities Canada and Parachute. 

Barry has shown considerable commitment to promoting injury prevention and safety promotion locally. His volunteer service and leadership in community safety is above and beyond which leads to Barry’s numerous Award Recognitions:

  • Officer of the Order of Merit - Governor General of Canada
  • Ontario Medal for Police Bravery
  • Queen Elizabeth 11 Diamond Jubilee Medal
  • Knight Hospitaller, Order of St John of Jerusalem
  • Queens Golden Jubilee Medal
  • Canadian Police Exemplary Service Medal - 45 year Bars
  • Republic of Belarus, Order of the Grand Master Police Medal
  • OACP President’s Award of Merit
  • Queens Silver Jubilee Medal
  • Solicitor General - Ontario, Crime Prevention Award
  • Highest Military Standard Award - Minister of National Defense (Canada)

Working with Barry has been a privilege for everyone at Parachute. Enjoy your well-earned retirement.

Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week

How to protect yourself from the silent killer

It’s an odorless, colourless, tasteless gas and despite its deadly potential, some Canadians still don’t have carbon monoxide alarms in their homes. As part of Carbon Monoxide (CO) Awareness Week from November 1-7, Parachute is encouraging Canadians to install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms.

A new national poll by Ipsos Reid finds 16 per cent of homeowners with a potential source of carbon monoxide in their homes admit to not having alarms. Let’s look at Ontario as an example. In 2014, the Government of Ontario passed a law mandating that carbon monoxide alarms be installed outside sleeping areas in all homes. The law applies to homes of any age that are at risk of the deadly gas, meaning any homes that have fuel-burning devices such as a gas or oil stove or furnace, a wood or gas fireplace, or an attached garage. Yet, despite the new carbon monoxide law, two in ten (18%) Ontarians are unaware of the new law and furthermore, 26% have not done anything new, despite being aware of the law.

What’s more, the colder weather means there’s an added risk for CO exposure as gas, oil or propane furnaces, fireplaces, wood stoves and other fuel-fired devices are pressed into service.

Exposure to Carbon Monoxide (CO) can lead to flu-like symptoms, confusion, drowsiness, loss of consciousness and even death.

The Ispos Reid poll, which surveyed Canadians nationwide, shows 31 per cent of those in Atlantic Canada and 30 per cent of those living in Quebec are the least likely to have carbon monoxide alarms installed in their homes. In Ontario, where the Hawkins Gignac Act (CO law) was unanimously passed in 2013, just six per cent of residents were less likely to have alarms.

“It is encouraging to see so many people protecting themselves from the silent killer,” says John Gignac, co-executive director of the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Education, which commissioned the poll.  “I’d like to say to those who need one but still have not installed a CO alarm: wake up and protect your family.”

While CO alarms should be replaced after seven to ten years, 72 per cent of Canadians polled said they were unsure when alarms should be replaced.

In 2009, safety standards changed to require all carbon monoxide and combination smoke/CO alarms to sound an intermittent end-of-life warning when the unit approaches its replacement date.

“Most Canadian families have better things to do than remember how old their CO alarm is,” says Carol Heller, a home safety specialist with Kidde. “But replacement is critical.  So by using technology to remind homeowners that an alarm’s life is coming to an end, we can help make it easier for them to stay protected.”       

“These are sophisticated devices with high technology functions,” Heller adds.  “Read the owner’s manual to fully understand what the different beep patterns mean. Knowing could someday save your life.”

Parachute wants to help Canadians find the information they desire. For example, many Ontarians want to be more informed about the impacts of carbon monoxide, with nearly one in three (28%) saying the implementation of the new law has made them search for more information about the sources, symptoms and dangers of carbon monoxide.

For more product information, updates and safety tips this Carbon Monoxide Awareness week, head over to

More safety tips can be found at,, and

Parachute is hosting a Poison Prevention Week Twitter Party to help #PreventPoison

Official Rules and Regulations

Twitter Party Contest Period: Twitter Party begins at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time (“ET”) on Thursday, March 23, 2017 and continues until 8:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 23, 2017. (collectively, the “Contest Period”). This contest is hosted by Parachute Leaders In Injury Prevention ("Parachute").

Eligibility: The contest is open to residents of Canada with the exception of employees and agents of Parachute and their respective immediate family members. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. This Contest Period is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Twitter. By entering this Contest Period, you understand that you are providing your information to the host and not to Twitter.

How to enter: In order to participate in the contest and be eligible to win a prize you must:

  • Satisfy the eligibility requirements;
  • Fill out and submit the RSVP form {located in the events section of] and follow the on-screen instructions to enter by RSVP to the Twitter Party by 6:00 p.m. on March 23, 2017.
  • If you do not have a Facebook account, you can enter by sending an email to with your full name and Twitter handle by 6:00 p.m. on March 23, 2017.

During the Contest Period on March 23, 2017, become a follower of the @Parachutecanada handle on Twitter at, where Parachute will host a Twitter Party with questions, then “reply” to Parachutecanada on Twitter (@Parachutecanada) with your answer via Twitter to receive an entry for the opportunity to win during the hour. Limit one (1) entry per person throughout the Contest Period. Entries generated by script, macro or other automated means or practices and entries by any means which subvert the entry process are void.  Creation and use of multiple or alias Twitter accounts in order to exceed the limits on entries permitted by these official rules may result in the disqualification of all entries from such accounts as well as disqualification of the entrant. A Twitter account is required to enter and can be opened for free at

How to win: The odds of winning a prize depend upon the number of eligible participants who have RSVP'd and participated in the Twitter Party during the Contest Period. Prizes must be accepted as awarded and are not redeemable for cash or credit, transferable or substitutable except in Parachute’s sole discretion. Parachute reserves the right to award a substitute prize or portion thereof of equal or greater value in its sole discretion. The refusal by an entrant to accept a prize releases and forever discharges Parachute and its agents of all obligations related to the prize, including delivery. 

Prizes: Three (3) winners will receive one of three available prizes.

Prize Awarding: Potential winners will be selected in a random drawing from all eligible entries received during Contest Period.  Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received for during the Contest Period.  Prize award is subject to verification of eligibility and compliance with these Official Rules. A random generator will be used to select entrants.

WINNER NOTIFICATION: Potential winners will be notified via @ reply by @Parachutecanada by March 24, 2017. The potential winner then must direct message @Parachutecanada his/her full name, date of birth, complete mailing address and email address within a time period specified by Parachute or prize will be forfeited and Parachute will have no further obligation to such winner. Potential winners will be required to correctly answer a time-limited mathematical skill-testing question in order to be declared a winner. If Parachute is unable to contact the potential winner within a reasonable time period, if prize or prize notification is returned as undeliverable, or if a potential winner is not in compliance with these Official Rules, prize will be forfeited and, at Parachute’s discretion, an alternate winner will be selected.

General: By participating in the contest, participants release and agree to hold harmless Parachute, the co-hosts, prize suppliers and, as applicable, their respective parent companies, affiliates or related companies, directors, employees, officers and agents, including without limitation, their advertising/promotion agencies from any and all liability, injury, loss, or damage of any kind, including but not limited to personal injury or death, arising from or in connection with participation in the contest, or the awarding, receipt, possession, use or misuse of any prize and/or with respect to participation in any prize-related activity. 

Message from Normand Côté, Chair, Parachute Board of Directors

It is my great pleasure to announce that Steve Podborski is the new President & CEO of Parachute effective Monday, June 5, 2017

An Officer of the Order of Canada, Steve brings a stellar record of achievement to Parachute. He is a two-time Olympian and first North American male to win an Olympic medal in downhill skiing, capturing a bronze at the 1980 Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, New York. In 1982, Steve became the first and still only non-European male to win the World Cup downhill title and credits much of his unprecedented success to his ‘Crazy Canuck’ teammates. Since that time he has worked as an Olympic TV sport announcer for NBC and CBS and was Director, International Affairs for the successful bid for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Steve is in four sports Halls of Fame. Steve was the Assistant Chef de Mission for the Canadian Olympic Team for the 2010 Games, the most successful Canadian Olympic team in Games history with 14 gold medal performances. He was also Canada’s Chef de Mission for the 2014 Olympic team in Sochi.

Steve leaves his role as Director Wellness at TELUS to lead Parachute. His tenure at TELUS began in 2003, in a consulting capacity regarding the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. This developed into Steve becoming Director, Strategic Initiatives (2005) leading sponsorship activations with world class organizations including Formula 1, Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, Montreal Alouettes, Alpine Canada, Soccer Canada, Snowboard Canada and Hockey Canada. Steve then became Director, Community Affairs (2009) contributing to TELUS being recognized as the World’s Most Philanthropic Corporation in 2010. As part of his increasing responsibilities at TELUS, Steve contributed to the management of TELUS’ generous giving to charities across Canada while driving results for Canadian kids in two major sports and health education programs: HEROS and 60 Minute Kids Club.

Steve brings to Parachute an impressive leadership background, dedication to community involvement, and a passion for Canadian achievement. He is committed to bringing these skills to lead Parachute during its next strategic phase. Under Steve’s leadership, Parachute will be dedicated to spreading the life saving message of injury prevention, while growing support for the charity with individuals, communities, sponsors and all levels of government. 

The Board also extends our sincere thanks to Pamela Fuselli, who acted as Interim CEO during the extensive search process. With Pamela’s guidance, enthusiasm and dedication, staff remained focused on our cause and achieved ongoing success, including earning a mandate from the Government of Canada to lead the development of harmonized concussion management guidelines and protocols; launching the national road-safety focused Parachute Vision Zero Network; and introducing National Injury Prevention Day as part of Parachute’s fifth anniversary celebration.

Parachute’s mission remains a challenging one. We are excited to have a leader of Steve’s calibre take the helm and guide the charity during this next stage for Parachute. The Board is confident in Steve’s ability to lead the charity as a unified voice of change and build the movement for an injury-free Canada.

For more information about Parachute visit our website and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Please direct any inquiries to Lorraine Doherty at or 416-779-3256.

Innovative execution ‘Choices’ immerses moviegoers to help end distracted driving

In honour of National Teen Driver Safety Week, Parachute and its partners released ‘Choices’ a 90-second film to raise awareness around road safety using real time interactive storytelling.

The short film uses TimePlay gaming technology allows moviegoers to help the main character in making choices until the very last one when the audience make a fatal decision. The hero ends up in a car crash due to distracted driving.

At the end, the audience is requested to vow publically to never text and drive again by pressing a pledge button on their devices, and their names appear on the big screen in front of the entire theatre.

‘Choices’ isn’t just a short educational movie - it’s a story the audience creates itself. It’s a real time example of how dangerous are distractions while driving.

The initial idea and script were created by Taxi co-founder Paul Lavoie, on behalf of the Voila Foundation. Parachute teamed up as well with TimePlay, OPC, and the Collective Agreement to create ‘Choices’.

The results have been tremendous: over a million people have seen the ‘Choices’, and so far 690,000 of them have personally pledged to never text and drive again.

“TimePlay’s interactive platform has proven to empower and engage users across all its campaigns.  With ‘Choices’, the audience can create their own story, which increases their involvement in the content and ultimately the message to not text and drive,” said Jon Hussman, TimePlay CEO & President.

“Widespread public awareness is vital to support change so that we can reduce texting and driving,” said Pamela Fuselli, Interim CEO of Parachute. “TimePlay’s use of its platform to deliver an innovative public service announcement allows Parachute to engage millions of Canadians and empower them to act immediately with their life-saving pledge.”

With support of TimePlay, the Voila Foundation, OPC, the Collective Agreement and Cineplex, Parachute team is extremely proud of the impact ‘Choices’ have had on youth and hope that this is a big step towards reducing distracted driving among teens.

Tandem Talk- Kathy Belton on the Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion World Conference

The 12th World Conference on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion (Safety 2016) was held September 18-21 in Tampere, Finland and was hosted by the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare. 

Safety 2016 brought together over one thousand of the world's leading researchers, practitioners, policy-makers and activists, including Kathy Belton, Associate Director of the Injury Prevention Centre at the University of Alberta's School of Public Health.

“My areas of interests in attending the World Conference were primarily falls among seniors, sports-related injury including concussion, and injury prevention policy," explains Kathy.

As the Associate Director of the Injury Prevention Centre and an injury survivor herself, Kathy Belton knows first-hand the impact of preventable injuries.

Awarded the national Leadership Award for her work in injury prevention, Kathy tends to think of the world conference as an opportunity to take in as much information as possible – think of a big sponge.

“I like to take in a wide variety of presentations that covers the gamut from programs, policies and research. It also serves, ironically, as a place where Canadians informally meet to discuss what is happening in their jurisdictions," says Belton. 

Belton is confident that over the course of the world conferences, conversation surrounding injury prevention and safety promotion has made positive strides. 

“The biggest change is the quality of the science that is presented has increased greatly from the first one I attend in Atlanta in May of 1993. The thing I found interesting this year is that element of ‘context’ was highlighted more than in any world conference I have attended."

Belton also says the main theme for the conference, ‘from research to implementation’ is crucial to the work she does at the Injury Prevention Centre. 

“I would say that it epitomizes a large part of what we do. We take research/best-practices and work with communities to implement effective injury prevention initiatives in Alberta. The theme of the world conference sums up the centre’s three key commitments to move injury prevention forward: putting knowledge in action; sharing knowledge to drive change; identifying and sustaining effective initiatives in policy and practice."

Belton also benefitted from the conference by using it as a venue to reconnect with colleagues and get reinvigorated about injury prevention.

“Attending world conferences benefits researchers and practitioners in many ways. It’s an opportunity to share knowledge in terms of innovation and approaches and see the tremendous growth in, and the passion of others in the field of injury prevention."

Belton considers herself a lifelong learner and believes world conferences like Safety 2016 can be a source of nourishment and crucial for face-to-face knowledge sharing.

“For myself, one of the key benefits of attending the world conference is engaging in dialog with colleagues from around the globe and to realize that although we come from different countries, we share many of the same challenges and therefore can learn from each other."

Check Your Vision To Prevent Falls

Life saving message for Safe Communities Day 

Marked annually on the first Wednesday of October, Safe Communities Day is a great opportunity to remind everyone that “What’s predictable is preventable”, and the increased risk of falls among older adults is both predictable and preventable.  Safe Communities Central Alberta and the Central Alberta Falls Prevention Coalition are encouraging older adults to check their vision annually as part of a comprehensive fall reduction plan. 

 “The statistics about senior falls tell a sobering story,” says Kathleen Raines, Executive Director, Safe Communities Central Alberta. “Falls are the leading cause of serious injury in older adults with one in three Alberta seniors falling annually, accounting for 26 per cent of all injuries resulting in death and 55 per cent of all injuries resulting in hospitalization.”* 

Finding Balance is the national campaign designed to raise awareness of falls and share resources about fall prevention.  A healthy active lifestyle that includes at least thirty minutes of physical activity daily is the essential starting point to ensure seniors stay independent and reduce their risk of falling.  Knowing that decreased vision can double the risk of falling reinforces the importance of an annual eye exam and links to the new key message of this year’s Finding Balance campaign.  

Normal age-related vision loss can often be corrected or minimized, and there are simple adjustments to enhance sight that individuals can take to reduce the risk of falling, such as:

  • increasing lighting, especially in stairwells and bathrooms- switch the bulbs for those with a higher wattage;
  • turn the lights on!  While this seems obvious, often people stumble around in the dark, perhaps to avoid waking a partner or because they don’t realize how dark it is;
  • use nightlights. I always tuck one into the suitcase to help me orient myself in new surroundings when I am away from home.  By the same token, make nightlights available in your own home for visitors.
  • allow time for your eyes to adjust to changes in light levels; and reduce glare.

The Central Alberta Falls Prevention Coalition works to share the resources of the Finding Balance campaign and to encourage everyone, especially older adults, to have their vision checked annually.  The Coalition has a number of events planned over the coming months to promote falls prevention including:

- Walk With the Mayors November 9 in Penhold
- Senior VIP Day at Parkland Mall on December 1
- Target Senior Falls, a workshop for practitioners working with seniors and community members, on January 25 at Red Deer County Centre.

*(Cost of Injury in Canada Report, Parachute Canada 2015).

Look out for ‘Choices’

Waiting for a movie to start has never been more exciting and informative! Last night, with support of  TimePlay and Cineplex Inc., Parachute presented Choices, a new interactive short film produced to help end distracted driving.

The launch event was a great success! Attendees included enthusiastic supporters from local high school and college student. It is very encouraging to have so many young people who care about driver safety.

This 90-second film is a launch of a new media format produced by OPC in conjunction with Collective Agreement, TimePlay and The Voila Foundation. Choices is now available prior to the start of the film during October 2016 in all Cineplex locations.  

“The value of the initiative was clearly recognized by everyone, this is highlighted in the fantastic feedback that we received. We hope that there will be many more great projects like this to come,” said Rem Langan, Chief Development Officer at Parachute.

The film will also help raise awareness during National Teen Driver Safety Week in raising awareness of teen driver safety topics and encouraging safe teen driver and passenger behaviour.

Parachute is grateful to everyone involved who worked so hard to bring Choices live to the screen and hopes that together, we can educate teens about driving and road safety and help them to #GetHomeSafe. Remember, look for Choices during the TimePlay pre-show in Cineplex theatres across Canada throughout October.

Follow us on social media using the hashtag #GetHomeSafe.

Manitoba Bike Jam Promotes Mental Health Awareness

Matthew Aymar, Knowledge Translation Coordinator, Parachute

I was asked to go to a bike jam in Thompson, Manitoba and I thought, "Hmm, sounds like fun. Why not?" Then I asked myself, "What exactly is a bike jam and where in the world is Thompson?"

I soon found out that Thompson is a small community in northern Manitoba, about two hours from Winnipeg by plane. All kidding aside, I was excited to go. Local events are always a fun way to engage with the community, get a pulse for what's happening and and develop relationships with others in the field.

My colleagues did most of the grunt work, which included organizing my flight, preparing resources for me to distribute, gathering promotional items in advance, briefing me on the logisitics and purpose of the trip, and liasing with the health promotion team in Thompson on my behalf.

Lynn Watkins, a Health Promotion Coordinator for the Northern Health Region (NHR) in Thompson took the initiative to connect with me personally by phone before the trip. She and her colleagues reassured me that I would be taken care of and properly hosted in true 'Thompson style.' I wasn’t sure what that meant but I would soon find out.

Upon landing in Thompson, I was immediately greeted by Jennifer Lockhart, a Health Promotion Specialist for the NHR. In true Canadian fashion, she immediately apologized for not having her own car but assured me Lynn’s jeep was reliable, even with its old school window pump handles.

Thompson is a short drive from the airport, which looks more like a small portable, and Jennifer offered to take me for a tour of the city. After carefully detailing numerous sights, landmarks and buildings, we stopped for tea and a bite to eat before I was brought to my hotel to check-in and prepare for meetings; this wonderful hospitality would turn out to be emblematic of my stay in Thompson.

The first meeting of that day took place at the NHR Health Promotion office in Thompson which was a five-minute walk from my hotel. I met with four health promotion and professionals/program coordinators all working in the field of child, family and mental health. I talked about Parachute, who we are, what we do and the programs/resources we provide. Some of them were aware of our Safe Kids Week resources so I made sure to discuss Concussion Ed, horizon, and National Teen Driver Safety Week, among other things. They loved our resources and what we have to offer. In our discussion, I learned about the strong networks, partnerships and community programs/events already in place and how Parachute can best support them. 

My next meeting was with Rob Fisher, the principal of R.D. Parker Collegiate- the only high school in Thompson, Manitoba for students in grades 9-12. The discussion focused mainly on developing a planning committee with student council, getting the RCMP on board and brainstorming the logistics for a positive ticketing blitz for a student body of just over 1,000.

The next day I was invited out for lunch with the entire NHR staff: another kind gesture. Next up, it was time to pack and prepare for Thompson, Manitoba’s third annual Community Bike Jam!

The event was hosted by the Hope North Suicide Prevention committee (Hope North) at the Boys and Girls Club of Thompson. The idea was to promote community togetherness and mental health awareness as it is hosted annually in conjunction with World Suicide Prevention Day.  We were there as part of our community investment partnership with Vale, who also participated in the event. This was truly a remarkable event. It was amazing to see so many young people engaged and having fun. Young kids were dancing, playing games, having their faces painted and prepping for the big ride. The Boys and Girls Club staff ensured everyone had a bike, while many of the Hope North/NHR crew helped fit everyone with helmets (donated by Parachute!) Everyone had a safe ride and soon after, we all returned for a buffet of hotdogs, macaroni salad, fruit, veggies, juice and cake. A DJ got the party rolling and most of the kids and their parents stayed to do their best impressions of Soldier Boy, Drake, Beyoncé and the like. We also had all-star performances from the Aurora Dance Academy.

After the event wrapped up, I was dropped off at my hotel before heading home with many warm memories of Thompson. There, I experienced a sense of humanity, empathy and care. People were extremely kind, generous, and hospitable. Thompson has a strong sense of community, strong relationships and a resilient spirit that is characteristic of many small towns.

What they’re looking for is organizations like ours to support and strengthen what they are already doing.This is why making a personal connection is so important and why on a personal note, the trip was so worthwhile.

Message from Louise Logan

Four years ago, on September 17, 2012, I joined a brand new organization called Parachute as inaugural President & CEO.  

For those of you who know Parachute’s story, you will know it was born out of the wisdom and courage of leaders at ThinkFirst, Safe Kids Canada, Safe Communities, and SmartRisk. You may also know that a merger in the charitable sector is not commonplace, nor was the vision of those leaders who created Parachute.

We had a vision of a new organization – dynamic, passionate, and skilled in the art of the possible.

We had a vision of a team – creative, productive, joyful, and working in communities right across Canada.

We had a vision of partnerships – with governments, corporations, researchers, storytellers, survivors, and the families and loved ones of those who did not survive.

We had a vision of a social movement – changing the way we think and act in our homes, in our schools and communities, and on our roads.

Over time, we became colleagues and friends, joined in common cause to prevent injuries and save lives. Our story has been told many times, and we have learnt many lessons together about what it means to have a vision, and make it a reality.

It has been my distinct privilege to lead this organization, to work alongside such a courageous and passionate team, and to be part of the beginning of a movement.

My heartfelt thanks to the Board, to our partners, and to each of you, Parachute staff and supporters right across the country, who came together to do something important in a new way.

Together, we brought a vision to life. And while much remains to be done, I feel confident that we are on the right path.

I will always fly my Parachute high, and with pride.

Thank you. 

Back to School, Back to Play

Students across Canada have been thrust back into the daily grind of early wake up times, packing lunches and hauling homework home. After 10 weeks of a ‘homework hiatus,’ children are now adjusting to back-to-school routines.

A Parachute survey shows only one third of students walk to school; speeding cars and traffic, and lack of sidewalks and bike lanes are among the top concerns for parents.  We want parents, caregivers and children to pack these safety tips before heading to and from class:

Model good behaviour

Teaching children how to safely walk to and from school is key. Adults should begin talking to children about pedestrian safety as soon as they begin walking and talking. Demonstrating safe crossing behaviours will allow children to make independent, safe decisions. You should also gear your messaging to your child’s development, which sharply changes between the ages of seven and 14.

Slow down

Both drivers and pedestrians can stay safe by slowing down on the road. A Parachute survey, which includes teens aged 13-18, finds 42 per cent of teens admit to running across the street; 72% of teens says they’ve crossed on a red light. At speeds greater than 30-40 km/h, both pedestrians and drivers may be more likely to make mistakes when it comes to judging how much time is needed to stop or cross safely. Driver may also underestimate their speed. A pedestrian struck by a car travelling 50 km/h is eight times more likely to be killed than someone hit at 30 km/h.  The higher the speed, the greater the risk of injury or death.

Eliminate distractions

Did you know that texting behind the wheel is equivalent to driving blindfolded for almost five seconds? It’s especially important for both drivers and pedestrians to put distractions away and focus on navigating the road.  Other distractions like applying make up, eating, and even tending to pet passengers can increase the risk for a crash. Make driving or walking your sole responsibility to ensure a safer route to school and from school.

Walk with young children

Children under the age of nine don’t have the developmental skills to cross the street alone and should be accompanied by an adult or an older child. Teaching them to stop, look and listen before crossing is also important. And remember to put away distractions like cell phones.

For more pedestrian safety tips and tools, check out our Walk This Way program, sponsored by FedEx Express Canada here:

Go for Gold!

While hundreds of Canadian athletes compete in Olympic Games this summer, we take a look at some of Parachute’s podium-topping injury prevention resources! 


The Introduction to Child Injury Prevention is a free online course for people who work with families of children ages 0-6, including public health, childhood educators and daycare staff. Approved by the Canadian Paediatric Society, injury prevention modules about burns and scalds, child passenger restraints, child poisoning, drowning, falls, playground safety and safe sleep are included in the curriculum. 

Injuries remain the leading cause of death for children in Canada – everyone has a role to play in keeping kids safe. 

Olympic Gold Medalist and hockey player Cheryl Pounder was recently interviewed by Parachute and agrees: “I think teaching kids safe zones, safe spots is very important…It’s being informed about what that environment should look like and what the symptoms of injury are.”

To learn more, check out our Child Injury Prevention e-course.


Parachute’s Horizon is an online hub that connects Canadians and injury prevention professionals with leading evidence-based solutions and tools to prevent injuries. You can find content from concussions to road safety, and resources to implement solutions in your home, classroom, team or community. 

We recently interviewed former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy who speaks about the importance of education and being knowledgeable about injury prevention tactics:

Follow #FindSharePrevent on Parachute’s social media channels to stay up-to-date on new Horizon content. 


Parachute’s most recent addition to the resource race is #ConcussionEd. This new app is designed to give Canadian youth, parents and educators free access to resources for concussion prevention, recognition, management and tracking.

Olympic champion Clara Hughes talks about how a tool like this could have been helpful to her when she was in competition: “I was in a very high risk sport of road cycling and I had so many teammates who would go back to races and you could see something in their eyes wasn’t right so I just wish I had the education to be able to tell a teammate you shouldn’t be racing today and try and encourage them to step a way from the starting line.”

Parachute’s Alex Kelly provides a handy how-to on using our newest tool:

Olympic champion Clara Hughes also talks about Parachute’s Concussion Ed app in this recent interview:

Concussion Ed is available in the Apple App Store as well as Google Play for Android devices. Concussion Ed is also available via a web-based version for Blackberry and Windows users.

Be sure to follow us for all the injury prevention action on our social media channels:


Keep Your Cottage Safe This Summer!

Kidde Canada provides our readers with the top 8 tips for creating a safe home or cottage this summer.

Lives can be altered in an instant following fire-related incidents. We want Canadians to be prepared this summer at home or at their cottage. Here are 8 fire and carbon monoxide safety tips to ensure your family can have a great summer!

1. Equip your home and cottage

On average, fire kills 8 people each week in Canada, with residential fires accounting for 73% of these fatalities. Don’t be a statistic; make sure you have up-to-date working smoke alarms on every level of your home or cottage, as well as sleeping areas. If you sleep with your doors closed, install alarms inside bedrooms. Treat your cottage as you would your home.

Fire extinguishers are recommended for every 600 feet, as well as escape ladders for upper level or basement units. Ensure these accessories work efficiently, your entire family knows where they are stored and how to use them in the case of an emergency. Keep a fire extinguisher handy for outdoor fire pits and be aware of fire bans in your area.

2. Purchase alarms optimized by location

When shopping for your smoke and CO alarms, look to purchase each device based on their location optimization. For example, Kidde packaging will state which area of the house a particular alarm is best suited for, to ensure optimal performance.

3. Alarms & batteries have a lifespan

Smoke and CO alarms do not last forever and must be replaced. As a rule, replace smoke alarms every 10 years and CO alarms every 7-10 depending on brand. All Kidde alarms last 10 years. Always remember to change batteries, too, at least once yearly. Batteries such as Kidde’s “Worry-Free” line with sealed 10-year lithium battery last as long as the alarm itself and never need to be replaced. Once it has reached the end of its lifespan, the alarm will beep to signify it needs to be replaced.

4. NEVER disconnect a smoke alarm due to a false alarm

Remember that not all alarms are built the same. There are two primary types of smoke alarms: ionization alarms and photoelectric alarms. Ionization alarms are notorious for false alarms due to things like fumes from cooking or steam from the shower etc., which increases the likelihood of the intentional disabling of alarms. In fact, ionization alarms are 8 times more likely to be intentionally disabled, which leaves the household completely unprotected. 

Photoelectric alarms, on the other hand, react far more quickly to smoldering fires (such as those caused by a cigarette on the couch or a faulty extension cord) and are less likely to cause false alarms. For optimal protection, experts favour installing both types in your home.  

In the case where an alarm does go off despite no real fire emergency, use its “hush” button to quiet the alarm for about seven minutes while you deal with the source of the alarm trip. The alarms does stay armed, so if the source should become a real fire, the  alarm once again sounds.

5. Learn about Carbon Monoxide - the silent killer

Carbon monoxide (CO) mixes evenly with air; you can’t see it, you can’t smell it and you can’t taste it.  It  can make you sick or even cause death. Symptoms of exposure, such as headaches and nausea, are often mistaken for the flu and either ignored or misdiagnosed. That is why CO is referred to as “the silent killer.” In fact, CO is the #1 cause of unintentional poisoning in Canada.

The only safe way to detect the presence of carbon monoxide in your home is with a CO alarm. A homeowner favourite are models which have a digital display that shows any  carbon monoxide level in your home. Any reading other than “zero” means there is a problem to investigate!  If your carbon monoxide alarm goes off,  get out of your home and call your local fire department.

Download “Your Guide to Protecting Your Family from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning” to talk to your family. 

You can also learn more about carbon monoxide poisoning and prevention on

6. Have a fire escape plan

Did you know? A fire can double in size every 30 seconds! You can put out a small fire with a fire extinguisher, but if the fire escalates, you need to get out right away. Your safety is more important than trying to fight fire by yourself.

No matter what, always create and practise an escape plan to ensure your family understands two ways out of every room (if possible) and where to meet outside, in the case of an emergency. In cottage country is it is especially important that you call emergency services for help right away, and to know your exact address, as cellular location services may not be available in remote areas.

7. Set yourself up for a safe barbeque or fire

  • Position your barbecue or grill away from the cottage, deck, high-traffic and play areas.
  • Use long-handled tools and keep hands and clothing clear of flames and grease spatters. Clean the grill well each time you use it, and replace worn barbecue parts immediately.
  • Store BBQ starter fluid, propane tanks, gasoline for small equipment and other flammables well away from the grill area and the cottage, and keep safely out of reach of children.
  • Monitor propane or natural gas hoses carefully for leaks.
  • Light campfires in a clear area away from the cottage, other buildings or trees and in a well-defined fire pit. Keep all fires controlled, and children well back and away from smoke. Adhere to local fire bans!

8. Prevention is your best friend – keep on top of fire-safety maintenance

  • When you are away for long periods of time be sure to inspect and test alarms upon return – including batteries.
  • Frequently check for overloaded or damaged extension cords and replace where needed; be vigilant about old or antique electronics and check for water damage.
  • Clean out grease or dust build-up found on or around household appliances.
  • Always remember to turn off any hot appliances or tools once you finish with them and blow out candles when you leave a room.
  • Ensure potentially flammable items aren’t left within range of an appliance (for example, curtains near a stove or candle) or area at risk of a fire.
  • When closing up the cottage, make sure electronics and appliances are unplugged and turned off.

For more home and cottage related safety tips visit

Use these tips to have peace of mind for your piece of heaven this summer!

Disclaimer: Kidde Canada is a Parachute sponsor. Parachute has worked with Kidde Canada to provide this content to our readers. This is not a product endorsement by Parachute and homeowners should always read the product manual that comes with any safety product.

Tandem Talk- Janice White on spearheading a Safe Kids Week medication drive

Every year, Parachute Safe Kids Week is celebrated across the country to raise awareness about preventable childhood injuries. 2016 marks the 20th Anniversary celebration of Parachute Safe Kids Week (May 30-June 5.) Events and information sessions rolled out in communities across the nation to bring attention to predictable and preventable injuries At Home, At Play, and On The Road.

To coincide with Safe Kids Week, a large-scale medication return program was unveiled in every community in Labrador. Unused and expired medications were collected, similar to a medi-drop operation. To find out more about the project, Parachute chatted with Janice White, a Health Promotion and Education Coordinator at Labrador Grenfell Health, who spearheaded the eastern Canada medication return program.  

Janice has been identified as a “community champion” in Labrador due to the tremendous work that she contributes to her community. While she has been involved in Safe Kids Week events for many years, this is the first year a program like this has ever been implemented in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“When I started my position as Health Promotion Coordinator seven years ago, Safe Kids Week was one awareness week that was suggested to me as a good one to focus on. I’ve been promoting it and doing events for it ever since.”

In previous years, Janice has focused on areas like car seat safety and helmet safety. This year, Janice wanted to try something both unique and beneficial to her community. 

“There are no stats specific to our region, but the misuse of medications is something that I had heard about as a problem in Canada and more recently, in our province. I had done some of the other projects related to ‘on the road’ and ‘at play’, so we decided to take this one on as something different to try.”

The medication return program targeted small, remote communities, most of which have fewer than 100 residents.

“The project targeted all of the region – all of Labrador and the northern peninsula of Newfoundland. Many of the communities are very remote and isolated, some not even having roads connecting them to the rest of the region (access by plane or boat only.) In those communities, there is only a clinic, no pharmacies or larger health centres to return your expired or unused medication to. So, for our project we wanted to make sure the smaller communities didn’t get left out.”

In addition to the 22 primary communities, smaller regions were also able to participate, including Nain, Natuashish, Makkovik, Labrador City, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Cartwright, Port Hope Simpson, Forteau, St. Anthony, and Flower’s Cove. This was not a simple undertaking, especially considering the remoteness and lack of accessibility to many of the neighbouring communities. What proved to be especially challenging is that some of the medication had to be flown in since some areas are inaccessible by road. 

“Labrador Grenfell Health’s clinics and health centres send their own expired medications to one of the two major health centres for proper disposal. Because this is already done, it was not any more difficult to get the medication. Also, we had a great response from the Regional Director and Lead Nurses who oversee the Health Centres and Community Clinics. They were in full support of the project and were very helpful in getting the message to front line staff about the collection and disposal processes.”

While there were many logistical challenges, Janice says the program fell into place really well. She, along with the LGH’s pharmacy and communication departments worked on a tight timeline; they had just one month to organize the drive before the program was officially up and running.

“During that month, we worked with the lead of community clinics to organize advertising, drop-off locations, and collection protocols.”

Since this type of program is unprecedented in these rural areas, Janice wasn’t sure how many people would benefit from it. About nine boxes were filled to the brim, which is considered a success for these remote areas.

There is always room for improvement, and Janice says advertising for the medication drive was the program’s biggest challenge.

“Labrador Grenfell Health currently does not have any social media avenues and relies on advertising through newspaper and posters. Using social media in the future could increase the reach of these kinds of programs.”

The 2016 Safe Kids Week medication drive is just the beginning for Janice White and her team; she plans to strengthen the program next year.

“Next time, we’ll partner with one of our community groups to advertise through their social media channels.  Also staff will clearly indicate which boxes are from this program in order to better measure the amount of medication collected.”

The program primarily focused on poison prevention, which is an area Janice believes requires ongoing promotion.

“Getting any expired or unused medication out of people’s homes is extremely valuable in preventing children from harm. We can educate our children, but other steps need to be taken to keep them safe. Smaller children think it may be candy and older children may misuse the medications, so I believe having it taken out of their reach from their homes and communities will help keep them safe from poisoning.”

Stacey Levitt Memorial Award Reflection, One Year Later

It’s hard to believe a year has passed since I had the incredible honour of receiving the Stacey Levitt Memorial Award, and the amazing experience of attending the Parachute Gala in Toronto.  Participating in this event, meeting the Levitt family and learning more about the importance of children safety than I ever had before was more than a one-time educational experience for me.  At the Gala I had the opportunity to hear some wonderfully heartfelt stories from families affected by preventable injuries. Listening to these stories brought to light the reality that these wonderful people had come together created a community in the hopes of changing the future for the better, using the power of education. 

Since visiting Toronto and attending the Parachute Gala last spring, a lot has happened in my life. I have lived in and moved out of university residence after completing my first year of studies at Carleton University in Ottawa.  As a Parliamentary Page I have witnessed the happenings of the House of Commons since sittings resumed after the 2015 federal election. I've created new friendships, and met students from all across the country. I've learned to navigate the totally foreign transit system of Ottawa and the tunnels of Carleton, and although I tried my hardest to avoid it, I’ve bundled myself up in the freezing temperatures in our nation's capital.

Receiving this award did not only teach me the importance of actively preventing injuries and how education can work to change and create a national community of outreach.  This award has also supported me financially and has allowed me to enjoy the excitement of moving my life across the country from Vancouver to Ottawa, all while pursuing Carleton’s Journalism program. In reflecting on all of the awesome adventures that I've had over the past year, I am deeply grateful for the support the Levitt family has provided me through the award that helped finance my schooling.  The Stacey Levitt Memorial Award helped me afford this incredible experience, and since Stacey did not have the chance to attend university herself, this award that is presented in her honour has also motivated me throughout the year to work hard and make the most of my university experience.

I was profoundly impacted by the stories I heard at the Parachute Gala, and continue to focus on preventing injury and conveying this knowledge, so that those around me stay safe and think through their actions before taking risks that could profoundly impact themselves and others around them. 

Since last spring, I have learned more than I could ever have imagined about essays, exams and Canadian winters. The lesson that I’ve learned this year that has impacted me most, however, is that the people you meet and the people who support your journey along the way are the people who really matter the most.

-Kennedy Neumann 

Using our heads for Brain Awareness Week

We’ve been doing a lot of thinking about head injury, which is the leading cause of serious injury and death among children on bicycles.

Brain Awareness Week is a global initiative, bringing together families, schools, scientists and communities.

Parachute continues to make strides in lowering the number of preventable injuries across our country, which kills more Canadian children than any single disease, and more youth than all other causes combined.

We know brain health is paramount, and that’s why Parachute has launched Brain Waves; a free, nation-wide brain education program which is already underway.

The informative and interactive half-day neuroscience program is geared for students in grades four through six. The hands-on curriculum taught by trained volunteers, brings together activities like creating gelatine brains and learning about how to properly wear a helmet.
Brain Waves is also available online through downloadable teaching materials and our free Brain Waves kits are offered in both English and French.

Brain Injuries: Together we can make a difference

Parachute spoke with the parents of Rowan Stringer, an Ottawa rugby player who died after suffering second impact syndrome; the deadly result of repeated concussions. While Gord and Kathleen Stringer have suffered immense loss through the 2013 tragic, untimely death of their 17 year-old daughter, they’ve turned the family’s biggest hardship into a positive message for others. The Stringer family is urging players, parents, teammates and educators to watch for signs of head injury and take swift action in order to properly treat symptoms.

While Gord and Kathleen applaud Parachute’s Brain Waves, they’re urging young people not to shy away from sports and recreation. Parachute shares the family’s message of education, playing safe and enjoying sports.

Brain Awareness week runs from March 14-20.

Train in safety, support Parachute

Canadians can now support Parachute while they train in safety.

On February 29, the Public Health Services and Safety Association (PSHSA) announced a donation of $20,000 to Parachute and Threads for Life. PSHSA also pledged ongoing donations to these charities to be made for every participant of their new Ministry of Labour approved Joint Health and Safety Committee Certification training programs between March 1 and June 30.

The initiative allows the PSHSA to help ensure that workplaces have strong, functioning Joint Health and Safety Committees, while the donations will go to Parachute supporting injury prevention programs for Canada’s youth.

“Preventable injuries kill more Canadian children than any single disease, and more youth than all other causes combined,” Parachute’s CEO Louise Logan explains. “The donations from PSHSA will be directed to programs focused on keeping children safe at home and at play.”

PSHSA’s MOL-approved JHSC Certification courses provide training on how employers and employees can work together to improve health and safety in the workplace, including recognizing hazards, setting up internal safety programs and responding to issues and complaints in the workplace. If you are interested in signing up for a JHSC training course, visit for more details.

Between the announced dates, a donation will be made on behalf of each participant that registers for the courses. Enrolling in Certification Part 1 or Part 2 will trigger a $20 donation, while those taking advantage of the budled offer will be contributing $40.

“With the new training standards in place, there is an increased focus on building strong health and safety foundations in Ontario workplaces, which makes this a great time to give back to two charities that share strongly in the commitment toward prevention,” said Glenn Cullen, VP Corporate Programs and Product Development at PSHSA. “Parachute and Threads of Life make a true difference in the lives of families affected by workplace injury and illness, and we are honoured to support them in their cause.”

Let’s talk about mental illness and injury

By Shawn Jawanda, MD. MPH

Unintentional injuries occur on a daily basis with a high frequency. While some injuries can leave their victims relatively unscathed, others can have serious consequences.

As a medical student, whenever I had a patient that had suffered from any sort of injury, the management always revolved around taking care of the physical aspects of their trauma. Once the patient was healed physically, their medical care often ended there. But is this really enough? What about the psychological trauma they may have endured as a result of their accident? With mental illness already being a topic that people tend to shy away from in society, are we doing a disservice by not addressing these issues that may arise in the aftermath of injuries?

The answer simply is yes. When we think of a condition such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the most classic example of individuals displaying this illness that comes to mind is that of war veterans who have endured difficult times in battle. What we do not often hear about is how PTSD can occur in people who have been involved in a motor vehicle collision. The fact of the matter is that PTSD develops often in these cases. This is regardless of the severity of the accident too, as individuals involved in the least devastating collisions can suffer from PTSD as well. What’s even more troubling is that they often will not seek treatment for it.

Let’s switch gears and look at concussions. Healthcare professionals are often focused on ensuring their patient is neurologically functioning after a hit to the head, which makes complete sense. What about looking for signs of depression though, where the risk of this developing increases, especially after multiple concussions? Or something more severe which also occurs at an increased rate – suicide.

The point that I’m trying to make here is that we need to look at injuries from a more holistic approach when it comes to the perspective of the victim. While the focus should remain on ensuring that those who suffer from injury are physically stable and well, we need to include how their mental health may have been affected by the trauma. Not only should we be screening for these mental illnesses post-injury, but we should be cognisant of the stigma related to mental health, which may prevent individuals from speaking up about this subject.

Mental health and illnesses are an area that is often overlooked in our society but the fact of the matter is, it affects one in every five Canadians every year. Now is the time for change. By creating lines of communication to bypass the barrier of stigma that can come along with this subject, we can further our understanding of how it is connected with preventable injuries. It can save lives, prevent disability and decrease the number of Canadians that are affected by mental illnesses.

Catch our new concussion PSA at your local theatre!

Concussion, the new Will Smith movie that opened in theatres on Dec. 25, shines a light on the invisible injury.

The biographical sports medical drama tells the real story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian forensic pathologist who was the first to publish his findings about chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative disease that affected many professional football players. The disease is found in people with a history of repetitive brain trauma including athletes that encounter concussions and sub-concussive hits.

Parachute is grateful to Cineplex Inc. for airing our new Concussion PSA prior to the start of the film from January 8 – 21 in theatres across Canada.

Parachute wanted to take this chance to reach an audience across the country and help them learn more about concussions and the symptoms attached to such an injury.

Catch a sneak peak of the PSA below but be sure to see it in all its glory by heading to your local theatres and watching Sony Picture’s Concussion.

For more information and resources about concussions, visit Be sure to let us know if you saw the PSA by reaching out to us on Twitter (@parachutecanada) or Facebook (/parachutecanada).

Parachute and friends enjoy a night out #ForThePlayers

It takes a Safe Community to stop a fall!

November was Fall Prevention Month and it was a great success.

Many Safe Communities in Canada have identified falls as a priority injury issue since they are the leading cause of injury-related death and hospitalization among older adults.  They engage in fall prevention initiatives and increasing awareness in their communities about the risk factors related to falls.

Safe Communities Sault Ste. Marie

Slips Trips & Falls Coalition under the umbrella of Sault Ste. Marie Safe Communities Partnership and in collaboration with community agencies and organizations participated in several fall prevention activities in October leading up to and including November Fall Prevention Month.The Slips Trips & Falls Coalition in partnership with the North East Local Health Integration Network (NELHIN) and five Public Health Units launched a regional Stay On Your Feel Fall Prevention Strategy (SOYF) on November 17th which included regional media coverage.

In a presentation to local C.A.R.P. members, the Coalition used the Fall Prevention Toolkit and handouts from the OIPRC website. 

In partnership with community agencies, falls prevention resources were distributed and displays set up at influenza immunization clinics, several seniors health fairs and two conferences during the month of October leading to November Fall Prevention Month.

Audiences were receptive to the messages and feedback was positive. Interest was generated at events from older adults and requests received for presentations to other seniors groups.

Slips Trips & Falls Coalition’s participation in the November fall prevention activities provided an avenue to enhance and support the initiatives of the coalition. The goals and objectives of Slips Trips & Falls Coalition reflect the fall prevention messages from Parachute, OIPRC and the Ontario Fall Prevention Community of Practice. The November Fall Prevention Awareness month provided our Coalition an opportunity to partner in a common cause on a regional, provincial and national level

Safe Communities Coalition of Central Alberta

The SC from Central Alberta organized a Walk with the Mayors event for seniors as well as weekly walks that were followed by brief presentations on the topic including 'Nurse Next Door,' 'Alberta Health Service ditetitans,' 'Primary Care Network "Strong and Steady" team as well as the Golden Circle Senior Centre balance exercises.

Throughout the month they were able to use many resources available on the site including the Finding Balance media, proclamation templates as well as links to the media materials.

They had great reception among their communities. Members of the community joined them on their walks and the media was paying attention. The number increased throughou the month and has even led to Parkland Mall committing to a monthly walk with coffee coupons for participants.

They though it was important to participate in the month because it fit their mission and mandate, as well as helping the seniors in their community. 

Preventing poison one call at a time

Poison is a problem that affects many Candians year-round.

To shine a light on the issue we wanted to talk with Heather Hudson, an Advanced Nursing Practice Educator with the Ontario Poison Centre and hear a little bit more about the work they do.

Tell us a little bit about Ontario Poison Centre! Is this sort of resource available in other parts of Canada?

The Ontario Poison Centre (OPC) is an emergency call centre that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We offer expert advice to callers from the general public regarding poisonings and drug overdoses, symptoms to watch for, what to do in terms of first aid and whether or not they need to seek help at an emergency department. Our team includes nurses, pharmacists and doctors who have expertise in caring for the poisoned patient. Sometimes, all that is needed is a little bit of reassurance and some general health information. Our specialists can provide that.

In addition to the advice we provide to the general public, the OPC also plays a key role in advising health care professionals about the best evidence-based care for their poisoned patients.

There are currently five poison centres across Canada, providing service to most of the Canadian provinces and territories. Visit to learn more about the poison centre providing care in your area.

How many calls do you usually receive a year? What are the most common causes for these calls? 

The Ontario Poison Centre receives almost 60,000 new calls regarding poisonings and drug overdoses every year, or approximately 160 calls every day. Many people are surprised by this number. They’re shocked that so many poisonings are happening each day. The most common type of substance that we are contacted about is medication – both prescription and over-the-counter. Over-the-counter medicines tend to be a big concern, because families often underestimate their danger. They fall into the trap of thinking “I didn’t need a prescription to buy this, so it can’t be THAT harmful.” 

Other common substances include: household cleaning products, including all-purpose cleaners, laundry pods, glass cleaners etc; personal care products including cleansers, shampoos and mouthwash; and automotive chemicals such as windshield washer fluid and antifreeze. 

When it comes to kids, what are some tips we can share to #PreventPoison

The most important poison prevention tip for families with young children is to make sure your household chemicals and medications are locked up tight and out of sight. Using safety latches, lockable cupboards and lockable containers is the most effective way of protecting your children from getting into something that might cause them harm. We have found over the years that storing dangerous chemicals up high is just not enough to keep a curious child safe. Many poisonings occur because a child has climbed up to reach the product. Never underestimate their abilities!

If a parent thinks their child has ingested something that could be poisonous, what steps should they take?

If the child is awake, alert and breathing on their own the parent should give sips of water to ensure their child is able to drink and swallow with no difficulty. Once they have done this, they should contact their local poison centre immediately. The registered nurses and pharmacists that answer the phones will be able to assess the situation and the child to make the most appropriate decision on what to do next. It is important to remember that many of the calls the OPC receives are about poisonings that can be managed at home with no further medical intervention. It is best to speak to an expert right away and receive the information that will put your mind at rest. 

Is there anything you’d like to add that people should know when it comes to preventing poison, the poison centre or the topic in general.

It is important to recognize that when dealing with poisonings and drug overdoses, time is of the essence. It is vitally important to take action as soon as something has happened rather than waiting for symptoms to emerge. If an exposure has occurred, call your local poison centre immediately for advice. We have registered nurses, pharmacists and physicians who are available 24/7 to provide help when you need it. 

Thanks Heather!

Heather Hudson is an Advanced Nursing Practice Educator at the Ontario Poison Centre. You can find more information about common poisons and prevention tips on the Ontario Poison Centre website and on Twitter @ON_Poison.

For more resources on poison prevention visit our site. Resources like these are possible thanks to the support of Procter & Gamble.

Thank you to the Canadian Neurosurgical Society

Concussions pose a significant injury risk to Canadians.

Because of that, Parachute works year-round to raise awareness on the risks attached to them as well as inform the general public on the treatment and management of the injury.

But our work on this topic, among many others, wouldn’t be possible without the support of our partners. One of these is the Canadian Neurosurgical Society or CNSS.

The CNSS represents approximately 300 neurosurgeons and neurosurgery residents in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the care of patients with disease of the nervous system through education, advocacy, and improved methods of diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation.

The CNSS has supported Parachute’s work since it started, and previously provided support to ThinkFirst Canada, one of Parachute’s legacy organizations.

“Their support indicates the importance of injury prevention in our country, and underlines the importance that the country’s neurosurgeons attach to Parachute’s role in making our country safer for all,” Parachute Board Member Dr. Charles Tator said of the role the CNSS plays.

Parachute is proud to be supported by Canada’s neurosurgeons and neurosurgery residents. For more information on the CNSS, visit their website.

For more information on Parachute, or how to support our work, go to our donate page.

Support for our heads and hearts

Concussions pose a significant injury risk to Canadians.
Because of that, Parachute works year-round to raise awareness on the risks attached to them as well as inform the general public on the treatment and management of the injury.

But our work on this topic, among many others, wouldn’t be possible without the support of our partners. One of these is the Canadian Neurosurgical Society or CNSS.
The CNSS represents approximately 300 neurosurgeons and neurosurgery residents in Canada. It manages the business, initiatives and finances of the organization.
The CNSS has supported the work done by Parachute since it started with as part of the ThinkFirst organization (one of the founding groups that make up Parachute).

“The [support] indicates the importance of injury prevention in our country, and underlines the importance that the country’s neurosurgeons attach to Parachute’s role in making our country safer for all,” Parachute Board Member Dr. Charles Tator said of the role the CNSS plays in helping our work.
For more information on the CNSS, visit their website.
Invest in the safety of your best friend today and help us continue our work across the country.

Vision Zero: the Future of Road Safety

On Friday December 4, Parachute was happy to host a special lecture on the future of road safety.

The event titled Parachute Presents: Vision Zero brought Dr. Matts-Åke Belin to Toronto to explain the ideas and learnings behind Vision Zero, the revolutionary movement that was born in Sweden and made the country a leader in road and pedestrian safety.

Watch the full presentation below:

After the lecture, Dr. Belin participated in a quick Q&A on Periscope. Check it out–it’s well worth the time.

To read through the slide show presented at the event click on the thumbnail below.

For more information on events like this one make sure to follow Parachute on social media including our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn pages.

How can you help make Vision Zero a reality? Donate now to support Parachute’s efforts to impact road safety and stop preventable injuries and deaths.

For more information, visit Parachute’s Vision Zero.

Supporting Parachute one picture at a time

As we head into the holiday season, we thought it would be a good time to thank some of our friends and long-time supporters.

One of them is Jim Kenzie. As Canada’s foremost automotive journalist, you can find Kenzie’s work in The Toronto Star, TSN and plenty of other magazines, newspapers and websites around the world.

But what many people may not know is that Kenzie is a consistent supporter of Parachute (and one of our founding organizations SMARTRISK before that) because of his life-long interest in traffic safety.

“Car crashes affect virtually every family in Canada. To everyone else, they are ‘news’ for a day or two,” he explains. "To the people directly involved - the agony never ends.”

To support an organization addressing this problem, Jim Kenzie started a yearly calendar featuring amazing shots of vehicles.

“A friend of mine always thought I took good shots of the cars as they appeared in The Star’s Wheels section, where I am Chief Auto Reviewer,” he says. “Eleven years ago, she suggested that I create the calendar, and I have been doing it ever since.”

Every year, Kenzie donates to Parachute about 50 per cent of his calendars sales.

“Around 2,500 people die from traffic incidents yearly in Canada,” he says. “Almost every single one of those deaths is preventable, so there is still a lot of work to do. Parachute is in the forefront of that work, so it fits my goals to a tee.”

Kenzie’s vast experience has helped develop a great eye for the perfect car picture.

“I get to travel all over the world and drive cool cars. While not trained as a photographer, through the magic of digital photography I have managed to become reasonably adept at making sure there are no telephone poles growing out of the roofs of the cars, finding interesting back drops, and pushing the button,” he explains. “It’s a lot of fun trying to get the ‘right’ shot.”

If you’re interested in buying one of Jim’s calendars and helping Parachute, visit

To learn more about motor vehicle collisions visit

This December, invest in your safety and that of those you love by participating in our BFF campaign. Find out how, by clicking here.

Envisioning the future of road safety

Imagine a world with no more loss of life on the roads in and around our cities.

That’s the ambitious vision of the aptly-named Sweden-born movement called Vision Zero. Dr. Matts-Åke Belin has been instrumental in making Sweden a leader in the area of road safety. When Vision Zero first launched in the country in 1997, traffic fatalities happened at a rate of seven deaths per 100,000 people. That number decreased to less than three in 17 years, despite a heavy increase in traffic.

The multi-national road traffic safety project has been gaining traction across the world with cities in the Netherlands, United Kingdom and United States jumping on board.

Parachute is happy to host Vision Zero: A lecture on the future of road safety, a dialogue on leading practices from a pioneer in the field. The purpose is to inspire collective action in Toronto around the future of road safety. Dr. Belin’s learnings are instrumental in envisioning how road safety and urbanism in cities like Toronto.

Our presenter is none other than Dr. Matts-Åke Belin, who will describe a brief overview of the development and implementation of Vision Zero in urban environments, as well as lessons learned. Following Dr. Belin’s presentation, attendees are welcome to participate in a question and answer period.

To attend the event make sure to book your ticket to the free event as soon as possible, as space is limited.

WHEN: December 4, 2015

WHERE: 545 King Street West (closest major intersection is King and Spadina)

TICKETS: Reserve your free ticket by visiting our EventBrite page. Tickets are free, but donations are encouraged.

Parachute is a national charity helping Canadians stop the clock on preventable injuries. The injury impact is staggering. Preventable injuries are the #1 killer of children. Injury costs the Canadian economy $27B each year, and worst of all, one child dies every nine hours. Through education, knowledge and empowerment, Parachute is working to save lives and create an injury-free Canada. For more information, including motor vehicle collisions and pedestrian safety, visit us at, follow us on Twitter, or join us on Facebook.  

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Staying active in a winter wonderland

There’s no denying it: winter is here

All across the country, the snow is making its appearance. but that doesn’t mean it’s time to hibernate.

Here are some great tips to remain safe and active this upcoming winter season.

Ice Skating

●Think about what the conditions are like where you will be skating and wear suitable clothing to maintain an optimal muscle temperature. Your skates should be snug and supportive, with sharp blades.

●Before you get too into it, make sure you perform proper warm-up and flexibility exercises so that your body is ready to have fun.

●Another important aspect to consider is the arena! The rinks should be cleaned and resurfaced frequently and there should be a limit to the number of skaters on the rink at any given time. Make sure the arenas are properly staffed and have a first aid station.

●Don't forget to wear proper equipment, such as knee and elbow pads, to reduce soft tissue injuries. Gloves likely reduce hand injuries. Novice Skaters should follow instructions on proper ice-skating techniques and the use of protective gear, including a helmet.

Skiing & snowboarding

●If you’re heading out to the slopes, make sure you warm-up and engage in pre-conditioning to improve your physical capacity and remain in control. Don’t forget to stretch!

●Be aware of snow and weather conditions. Keep an eye out for any hazards and changes in visibility.

●Dress up for the ‘fun’ you want! The last thing anyone wants when hitting the slopes it to sit out part of the day due to injury. Avoid frostbite and UV ray exposure by wearing the right gear. That includes a properly fitted helmet, sunglasses and non-polarized goggles.

●Make sure you choose runs that are suited to your ability and experience. Stay on designated paths and trails, and follow all rules and signs. Read the Alpine Responsability Code.

●The risk of injury is higher during the first and last run of the day so be extra cautious. Stop before it gets too dark or you become too tired.

●It almost goes without saying but we’ll say it just to stay safe: stay sober on the slopes! Drinking doesn’t mix with winter fun.

Watch the video to be an expert at staying #SnowSmart


●All snowmobilers should be older than 16 years of age in order to have the strength and stamina to operate a snowmobile safely. Graduated licensing should be introduced for all new snowmobilers.

●Make sure to wear a helmet that is up to the standard approved for motorcycles., Wear insulated and waterproof snowmobile suits, gloves, boots, and goggles.

●Carry no more than one passengers and make sure they are older than six years old. They need to have the strength and stamina to travel safely. Don’t tow any passengers on sleds, inner tubes or other devices.

●Avoid excessive speeds and avoid crossing ice surfaces. Don’t ride if it’s dark out there and make sure you’re not on public roads and highways.


●It’s Canada’s national pastime so make sure you’re doing it right. All hockey players should have the right protective gear. That includes a CSA-approved hockey helmet , gloves, shoulder pads, elbow pads, shin pads, mouth guards and for boys, an athletic support.

●Be a good skater. You should feel comfortable going forwards in backwards. Work on your tight turns and pivots as well!

●Don’t forget to stickhandle with your head up. That way you can see what’s happening in front of you.

●Be aware and stay alert. Know where you are when you’re on the ice whether it’s near the boards or near the net.

For more tips on how to play #SmartHockey, watch the video below.

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We all have a role to play

Each year in Canada, it is estimated that one in three persons over the age of 65 experiences a fall.

Although falls are not typically perceived as a “serious” injury, they are the leading cause of injury-related death and hospitalization among older adults. As an increasing proportion of the Canadian population is aging, falls are becoming a significant public health concern. These incidents are predictable and preventable. It is for this reason that Parachute, a national injury prevention charity has designated one of its’ priorities as raising awareness and understanding regarding the prevention of seniors’ falls.

Understanding what influences a person’s risk of falling is of utmost importance in reducing falls and fall-related injuries among older Canadians. While biological, behavioural, socio-economic, and environmental determinants impact the likelihood of falls in older adults, it is important to note that each older adult may experience a unique combination of these risk factors, which typically occur concurrently rather than in isolation. It is for this reason that best practices for fall prevention commonly prescribe a multifactorial fall risk assessment and a subsequent management program tailored to an individual’s risk factors and settings.

Like many other public health issues, multisectoral collaboration across governmental and non-governmental organizations, health care and service providers, as well as researchers, is required in order to achieve real progress in the prevention of falls and their subsequent injuries.

This year, fifteen provincial and national organizations across Canada, including Parachute, have joined the movement to declare November as Fall Prevention Month. By pooling our collective efforts to prevent falls and injuries from falls in older adults, we can raise the profile of fall prevention and help everyone understand their role in keeping our seniors healthy and active. For more information, click here.

In addition, Parachute has redesigned its’ fall prevention resources to ensure all information is accessible, interactive, and user-friendly. Their new webpage houses evidence-based fact sheets, reports, and videos developed both for older adults and their caregivers to take control of their fall risk, as well as resources to assist health care professionals in developing, implementing and evaluating fall prevention interventions. To learn more, visit Join the #PreventFalls2015 conversation on Twitter and make sure to follow Parachute.

Parachute is a leading national charity helping Canadians stop the clock on predictable and preventable injuries. With a vision of an injury-free Canada, Parachute’s injury prevention solutions, knowledge mobilization, public policy and societal efforts are designed to help keep Canadians safe. Learn more about Parachute by visiting their website or connecting with them on LinkedIn.

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Investing in the future of friendship

The human cost of injury is catastrophic with 16,000 Canadians dying ever year. Tragically, this means 43 best friends are lost each and every day.

We know that best friends are very special people you want in your life forever. They are the people you make plans with, the people you talk to, and the people with whom you share the most important things.

Now, Parachute makes it easy to invest in your friends’ future and pledge your dedication to their well-being. Simply purchase a Parachute e-card. This $5 token of appreciation is great way to let your friends know how much your care. Your investment has the power to save lives and prevent injury, ensuring that best friends, remain best friends forever.

Learn more here

Introducing Best Friends Forever

Parachute is proud to introduce Best Friends Forever, a new way to talk about preventable injuries. This marketing campaign asks each of us to consider how injury can have a direct impact on our best friends. This approach is designed to encourage dialogue between friends; allowing life-affirming injury prevention messages to come from a trusted source.

Every one of us is someone’s best friend. Best friends have each other’s backs. In fact, sometimes our best friend is the only one we’ll really listen to. Parachute wants to harness the power of best friends to prevent injury, and ensure that all our friends and loved ones live long and healthy lives.

Parachute asked #BFFs to #Practice Safe Text during National Teen Driver Safety Week. Eight out of ten young adults said they would speak up if they saw a friend texting and driving. Best Friends Forever encouraged teens to use the power of positive peer pressure to ask their friends to put the phone away when they are driving a car.

Want to let your best friend know how much you care? Simply purchase a $5 e-card to invest in your friend’s future and pledge your dedication to their well-being.  Visit our donation page for more information. 

We’re excited by this new approach and look forward to integrating this into more activities. Best Friends Forever can help friends change the behaviour of friends who are in harm’s way.

Support Parachute and invest in your best friends’ future.

Taking action into her own hands

With National Teen Driver Safety Week kicking off we thought we’d chat with one of our newest ambassadors, Amanda Dubois.

Amanda got involved recently because she was affected by what was occurring around her.

“Our community saw too many people lose their lives on our roads last year, and I wanted to help to bring awareness to the problem in order to create positive solutions.  Everyone knows it’s a big problem, but not many people are talking about it,” Dubois explained.  “My goal is to get everyone talking about the dangers of distracted and impaired driving and help it become less socially acceptable.  Huge strides have been made towards drinking and driving, and the same needs to happen for distracted driving.”

Dubois has been busy talking with the Niagara District School Board and getting them to forward important information about NTDSW to all the principals and vice-principals of the region. Spreading the word is a priority for Dubois.

“It’s important to have that week where the entire community comes together to promote safer driving through many forms.  I would love to see assemblies take place where public speakers share their experiences in hopes of inspiring change, groups of students in the community displaying signs in protest of distracted driving, and booths in schools where students can sign up and take the pledge to #PracticeSafeText,” she said.

A recent poll found that while many teen drivers know that driving and texting is unsafe, they continue to do so anyway. Dubois hopes that if they are unwilling to prioritize their own safety, their attention turn to their friends and what they can do to keep those relationships in their lives.

“Do it for others, your friends, your family, your neighbours.  We should all care about the safety of others on the roads,” she said.  “Distracted driving is 100% preventable, everyone needs to think before they drive.”

Dubois is ready to take part in this important week!

“I am going to pledge to commit to #PracticeSafeText  on my Facebook page on October 19th, 2015 and bring awareness to the first day of NTDSW and encourage all my friends to pledge the same.”

Join us on social media, including Instagram and Twitter by committing to always #PracticeSafeText and make sure your #BFF does so too.

It’s time to Walk to School!

It’s International Walk to School week and Parachute is excited to add their voice on the importance of walking to school. The week is part of the IWALK celebrations and events that take place throughout October.

Are Canadian kids walking to school?

A recent survey by Parachute found that 70 per cent of children travel to school by car, school bus or even public transport. That means less than one in three students are walking to school.

Parents, polled in the survey, mentioned speeding cars and traffic,  and a lack of sidewalks and bike lanes as their top concerns.

How can we help?

If your community is concerned about pedestrian safety a great way to helping is by becoming a Parachute Pace Car Community. This locally delivered, nation-wide program focuses on raising awareness around speed reduction in the community, especially in school zones.
Community members sign up as Pace Car Drivers and agree to always drive at the posted speed limit, essentially becoming a “mobile speed bump,” slowing speeding traffic behind them.

So slowing down is important. What else can be done?

In addition to reducing speed, drivers can practice these good safety habits:

Eliminate distractions – when driving, put cell phones and other distractions out of sight.
Be alert – especially in residential neighbourhoods and school zones. Look out for bikers, walkers or runners who may step into the street unexpectedly.
Yield to pedestrians – give pedestrians the right of way and look both ways when turning to spot bikers, walker or runners who may not be immediately visible.
Be cautious – enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.

Find out more about our complete survey by visiting We hope you have a great Walk to School Week!

Celebrate Safe Communities Day!

Since 1996, communities across Canada have formally been designated Safe Communities. In 2012, Safe Communities was amalgamated as a legacy organization under Parachute. What does this mean? These communities publicly commit to creating safer communities for their local residents. Injury prevention and safety promotion become top priorities through the designation process

Safe Communities Day

On October 1, we acknowledge the dedication and hard work of the Safe Communities, and the collaboration of local municipal, health, safety, fire and emergency officials, educators, businesses and more that create a culture of injury prevention on a local level. We applaud these communities for their commitment, particularly for their work increasing awareness of road safety.

We are encouraging Parachute Safe Communities and their supporters to participate on #SCDay by sharing local activities on social media. Follow along!

Here’s what some of our communities are doing to celebrate Safe Communities Day!

Wellington County

Get ready to have a SAFE day, Wellington! The Safe Community is getting ready to host hundreds of students and take them through their 19-station safety pit stops, covering an all-encompassing safety educational experience. From distracted walking to helmet fitting, you can find all the information you need about injury prevention.

Grande Prairie & Area

Put on your party because this Safe Community is hosting their Priority Setting Exercise for their re-designation on October 7th! Just another great thing our friends are doing for their community!


Safe Communities Sarnia-Lambton is getting ready to celebrate with a wonderful evening on Wednesday, October 7 from 6:30 to 8:30 at Sarnia Arena Kiwanis Room. The theme for the night is “Being Safe in Sarnia-Lambton” and will recognize individuals and organizations for all their efforts in supporting injury prevention.

But there’s so much more going on across the country. Follow the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #SCDay and join us in celebrating those dedicating their time to keep all of us safe.

Campbell-Pascall and what she learned from her injuries

Few names resonate as strongly among hockey fans as Cassie Campbell-Pascall’s does.

The former ice hockey player, and current sports broadcaster, was the captain of the Women’s National ice hockey team that brought home a gold medal in the 2002 and 2006 winter olympics.

The Richmond Hill-native has been inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame and even had a community centre in Brampton named in her honour.

But her life as an athlete wasn’t without some challenges.

“I suffered my most serious concussion in 2004, although I think all of them were pretty serious,” Campbell-Pascall recalls. “It was one though where I missed seven months of playing and it definitely had some long-lasting effects.”

The injury is common in many sports, including hockey, but the solution according to Campbell-Pascall isn’t to stay away. Instead, Campbell-Pascall hopes that more education can lead to a safe environment where Canadians can continue playing hockey.

“I think part of concussion awareness should focus on the need for playing sport and also the need for playing the sport safely,” she says. “Concussions are something that are extremely important to learn more about, but they shouldn’t deter kids from playing sport.”

Tools such us Parachute’s Smart Hockey program and our Smart Hockey concussion kit aim to provide a framework for coaches, family and athletes to understand the invisible injury and be able to change the way they play the sport in order to prevent them. Parachute also hopes to educate people on the symptoms of concussion and how they can vary from person to person.

“I think the scary thing is that concussion symptoms often don’t come on right away, and they can vary from athlete to athlete. Sometimes you don’t feel the effects of a concussion until a week or so later and that is tough to explain to your team staff or teammates when they’ve seen you pushing your body throughout a time when you didn’t realize you were injured,” Campbell-Pascall says. “Sometimes when you suffer a concussion you feel a sense of loneliness and fear of ‘what is next for me?’ Speaking with other athletes who have had one has been tremendously supportive for me.”

An experienced player such as Campbell-Pascall learned that injury prevention was an important part of playing the sport.

“Later in my athletic career, training was just as much about injury prevention as it was about fitness. The two often went hand in hand. When I missed that seven-month period because of a concussion, I knew I would never be the same again,” Campbell-Pascall explains. “In fact, my training during that time was more about preventing another concussion and building up strength in specific areas like the neck, upper back and core to allow me to play for one more Olympics. Otherwise that last Olympics may not have been possible.”

Five golden tips from a two-time gold medallist.

  1. Make sure you have the equipment that fits properly.
  2. Learn how to protect yourself. Make sure you’re aware of your opponents’ actions and use your body to help yourself from being in vulnerable situations.
  3. Play sports in a safe way. Don’t try and intentionally hurt people. Play the sport with respect and responsibility.
  4. Play sport to have fun first and foremost. Winning will be part of that and so will losing. The ‘win-at-all-cost’ mentality is wrong, especially at the minor levels.
  5. If you’re good enough to make it an elite level then you will make it there, but you won’t have a chance if you end up not loving your sport at a young age.

The road to recovery

Matthew Galati was 23 years old when his life changed.

A promising medical student and an avid athlete with some serious soccer skills, Galati was loved and supported by those around him.

“I have a tight-knit family and social circle, I have a close group of friends that I’ve known since elementary school in some cases,” Galati says, describing his upbringing.

It was with those friends and family that Galati found himself that fateful January 2013 weekend in Toronto. Galati knew that he would have to make an eventual drive back to Windsor for a mandatory small group session scheduled for second year medical students on Monday morning . Bad weather on Sunday led Galati to decide to push his trip forward by a day and leave the next morning instead.

Unfortunately for Galati, the weather didn’t cooperate. Monday morning brought with it even worse weather as snow or freezing rain left less-than-ideal driving conditions on the road. A closure on the 401 forced Galati and his good friend and fellow passenger to take the designated detour route where Galati lost control of the vehicle and collided with a tree.

“My passenger was able to call for help. I had suffered multiple traumatic injuries. The emergency officials had to use the jaws of life to get me out. I had to be intubated at the scene before being taken to the hospital,” Galati recalls.

Galati’s condition was so serious that he had to be placed in an induced coma for three days. His family and friends continued to converse with him and play his favorite country music for stimulation until he awoke. However, no one could tell his family exactly what his prognosis was.

“When I woke up, I couldn’t talk. I had expressive aphasia. Whenever I wanted to say something I had to rehearse it in my mind before articulating,” he explains. Galati also had a number of physical injuries to overcome including bilateral pneumothorax, multiple rib fractures, orbital and skull fractures, seventh cranial nerve palsy and most critically, head trauma.

After a stay in the ICU at Victoria Hospital in London, Galati was transferred to Sunnybrook Hospital. His family, by his side, did anything they could to help him along the path to recovery

“My mom was by my bedside making me practice basic math and words through primary school flashcards. [She had me] colour inside the lines of the pictures to improve motor skills,” Galati remembers. “I had to relearn everything including how to tell time.”

It was at Sunnybrook that Galati received his first piece of inspiration.

“One of my sister’s friends, an occupational therapy student, gave me a book to read: My stroke of insight,” Galati says. “The book is all about the author’s process of recovery following a stroke.” With this newfound insight Galati came to believe that recovery was possible.

After Sunnybrook, Galati went to the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (TRI) where he says his true recovery began to take shape.

In addition to prescribed therapies such as occupational therapy, speech language pathology and physiotherapy, he was enrolled in a research study, which intensified his rehabilitation regimen, in hopes of giving him the best possible chance of a return to medical school.  As part of this research study, Galati agreed to participate in four neuropsychological evaluations.

“After the first test, it was clear that it would take a lot of hard work, motivation and determination to return to an academic program as demanding as medical school.”

Upon his return home from TRI, Galati worked together with his rehabilitation team to develop a focused daily routine of nutrition, physical training and cognitive exercises.

“I started doing a lot of my own research; reading various research studies about neuro-recovery as well as Spark, a book I found inspiring. It gave me an understanding about how to maximize my recovery at the microscopic level.”

Galati discovered the beneficial properties of intense aerobic exercise on neuroplasticity, and it’s positive impacts on emotional and cognitive functions. 

“I learned that exercise can actually lead to the creation of new brain cells, a process called neurogenesis.” Galati elaborates, “I began to run 5km daily in addition to dedicating myself to a well-balanced assortment of physical exercises at the gym and at home. I’d go home and practice cognitive skills such as studying notes, reading books, doing Lumosity training and puzzles. I tested my problem solving skills by playing specific video games. I took up guitar to improve fine motor control as well as golf, a non-contact sport, for gross motor control. I learned that it’s not enough just to create the brain cells, you then have to fill them with meaningful information by challenging yourself to cognitive tasks. This is the way new learning takes place and connections are strengthened. I tried to stimulate every area of my brain by doing a wide variety of activities to cover all of my bases.”


As Galati worked on his recovery, he also began to forge his path back to medical school

“After going for a run, I would review everything I had missed at medical school. At the beginning it would take me hours to review and I had limited memory retention, but I found that my memory and cognitive processing began to significantly improve the more I did these things.” Galati explains.

Five to six months after that eventful day that had brought him to that point, Galati took the second neuropsychological test at TRI. The results were impressive. Galati scored exceptionally high for both verbal and visuospatial intellectual capacity and Memory retention. Of note, these results were compared with healthy males, without brain-injury, of comparable age and education level.

Galati formally returned to medical school to complete his second year studies in January 2014.

“When I returned to medical school, I chose to audit the first semester of second year, which i had already passed. I had to reintegrate myself socially,” he recalls. “I wrote an exam as practice just to simulate the experience, and I did really well.”

The crash gave Galati some extra insight into his own life.

“The crash changed my life in more ways than one, it increased my awareness of the strong mind-body connection and the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. Despite my great love for playing competitive soccer and hockey, I’m more cautious now. After everything that happened, I had to make a decision. Do I focus on my career or do I risk injury playing high-intensity sport?”

Galati’s experience has also inspired him to find a way to share his story to help others.

“I have an interest in rehab medicine. I’d love to continue doing volunteer work and to bring more awareness to brain injury. I’d love to be able to talk about my experience and everything I’ve learned about cognition and recovery.”

Galati is currently heading a research study at Schulich School of Medicine on the effects of exercise on ADHD symptomatology in children due its known positive influence on cognition.

The steps he took to get where he is today weren’t easy, but anyone that knows Galati isn't surprised he took them.

“The weird thing is that people would describe me as determined, but I never saw it in myself until after that day,” Galati says. “When I was in the hospital, friends told my family ‘If anyone can recover, it will be Matt.’ The way I saw it was, I had worked my whole life to get to where I was and I had everything to lose. It would be foolish not give myself the best possible chance to maximize my recovery.”
Matthew Galati is currently finishing his fourth and final year of medical school and will be applying to residency programs this year


Tandem Talk - What the evidence says about injury prevention in hockey

It’s Canada’s national pastime and as such should be a safe place for all young Canadians willing to lace up their skates and jump into the rink.

To that extent, the Canadian Ice Hockey Spinal Injuries Registry has been tracking the incidence of spinal cord injuries in our country's favourite sport. The project is spearheaded by Dr. Charles Tator, Toronto neurosurgeon, Parachute board member and one of the country’s leading experts on concussions, who is assisted and supported by research coordinator Christina Provvidenza. Together they are able to gather the information and take a closer look at what the new injuries reveal about the status of hockey. The latest update to the registry adds 44 new injuries between the years of 2006 and 2011, a clear sign that there is space for improvement.

The registry was established in 1981 and has been keeping track of major injuries of this kind that occurred in hockey in the 34 years that have followed. It was established by ThinkFirst, one of the four organizations that merged to form Parachute, which has since taken ownership and maintained the important registry. The registry is made possible thanks to the support of the Dr. Tom Pashby Sports Safety Fund and Hockey Canada.

“This is one of the longest running registries of any type of injury by any group. There’s no other registry for this specific type of information that’s very important,” Tator explains. “If you want to prevent injuries from happening, you have to know how they happen. You need to know age group, gender, level of play, et cetera.”

Through the hard work of Dr. Tator, a new update reveals that despite the progress made there is still more work to be done.

“The reason for continuing the study is that we have no guarantee that the injury prevention programs that we and others have put in place to deal with these problems are effective. The only way to know that these programs are effective is to evaluate outcome,” Tator says. “The good news is that injury prevention programs are working but the bad news is that we need to do an even better job. These 44 cases signify that we can't just sit back on our hands and say that the problem is solved. Broken necks are continuing to occur in hockey. That’s a bit discouraging. On the other hand, if you look at the positive features we are still nowhere near where the peak years were.”

Tracking these injuries doesn’t just give us information about what’s going on in the sport, it also allows officials to take a closer look at the steps they can take toward addressing the problem. When the registry first discovered that the most common mechanism leading to a severe injury was a push or check from behind, they took that information to the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association, now Hockey Canada.

“We advocated strongly for specific penalties for hitting from behind. We brought forward that information, that one maneuver was accounting for about ⅓ of the broken necks in hockey. Before that, it wasn’t considered to be an issue. We were successful and Hockey Canada did ultimately introduce a penalty that addressed this issue,” Tator recalls before admitting that simply changing the rules isn’t enough. “Having the penalty on the books doesn’t mean that’s all you can do. You have to enforce the rule. Enforcement is often the difficulty. The coaches have to teach it and the refs have to call it.”

It’s in these steps that Tator believes leagues have an opportunity to change the situation.

“I think that at every level of organized hockey there’s an opportunity to educate, to legislate and to change culture,” Tator says.  “All those items have to be working harmoniously.”

Additionally, Dr. Tator highlighted the importance of escalating penalties. Leagues are also paying attention: the Greater Toronto Hockey League, for example, states that checking from behind now carries a six game suspension for the first infraction, 11 games for the second and an indefinite suspension for a third infraction.

“It’s very common when I see patients with these type of injuries, the families mention ‘that kid did it before’ and it wasn’t addressed,” Tator says. “These aren’t trivial injuries. These are lifelong injuries that cause lifelong disability.”

But it's not just organized leagues that have to be more proactive about injury prevention. Families plays a key role when it comes to these injuries.

"Parents are major factors in this. In fact, parents can have a very positive or negative influence," Tator explains. "We want them to be educated."

Pre-season meetings are a great time to address some of these concerns as kids, coaches and parents are all together.

"At these meetings, injury prevention needs to be on the agenda and has to be one of the items that families are exposed to," Tator says. "It's incredibly important that parents, kids, coaches and everyone involved learn about programs like Smart Hockey."

Spreading the information is key for Dr. Tator and Parachute.

"The most important thing is always the education of everyone involved in hockey: players, coaches, referees, league officials and parents. That's where Parachute's work is really important. They bring this information to the attention of all these audiences, including governments and ministries that are sport-governing bodies."

In fact, don't underestimate the power that knowing more about the severity of these injuries could have on young kids themselves.

"Kids are smart. If you tell them, you explain what the situation is, most of them will get it," Tator concludes. "If you don't tell them, you let them become unsuspecting victims of the system in place."

Changes coming to Ontario roads

If you're an Ontario driver you're going to want to focus on the new changes hitting the province's roads.

Ontario's new road safety legislation comes into effect September 1st. The new set of rules includes steeper fines for distracted drivers as well as additional safety measures for cyclists, tow trucks and school buses.

The changes were announced earlier this year and include a $490 fine as well as three demerit points for anyone who is convicted of distracted driving. Dooring cyclist is another thing you'll be concerned about with a new fine of $365 attached to that conviction.

"Ontario’s roads are among the safest in North America, and we want to keep it that way,” said Steven Del Duca, the province’s minister of transportation, said in a written statement. “We will continue to work hard to curb distracted driving, protect cyclists, and improve the safety of tow truck operators and children riding school buses.”

For a summary of the changes coming to the province, check out the table below.

For more information, including what additional changes are coming down the line visit the website of Ontario's Ministry of Transportation.

Understanding concussions with Parachute

Throughout September, Parachute is shining a light on an important injury that isn’t always easy to spot: concussion.

A concussion is a common form of head and brain injury, and can be caused by a direct or indirect hit to the head or body (for example, a car crash, fall or sport injury). This causes a change in brain function, which results in a variety of symptoms. With a concussion there is no visible injury to the structure of the brain, meaning that tests like MRI or CT scans usually appear normal.

Because high profile athletes are just as susceptible to this kind of injury, concussions often end up receiving plenty of media coverage. This leads to many parents, athletes and coaches learning about the injury. However they don’t always receive the answers to their many questions. To fill this gap, Parachute has created a new page that deals specifically with the topic and provides helpful resources for parents, coaches, teachers and athletes. Click here for more information.

Concussions are often frustrating for those that suffer the injury, because each person’s experience with a concussion can vary. Not everyone shows the same symptoms or displays them for the same amount of time. Some people are fortunate to recover quickly from a concussion while others require of a longer time.

If you think you have been in a situation that could lead to a concussion, don’t stay quiet. Talk to a medical professional immediately after a high impact. These injuries often go untreated and unnoticed for too long.

Let a medical professional also be part of your recovery strategy and ultimately your decisions to return to play. Remember that post-concussive symptoms may intensify after an increase in activity, so make sure a return to activity is gradual and supervised by your team.

Prevention is the best way to go when it comes to concussion.
Visit for more information.

Check back with Parachute throughout the month to find links to useful resources, blogs featuring athletes that have been affected by concussions and so much more.

Together we can Stop the Clock on preventable injury.

Scouts Canada prepares youth to prevent injuries

Be Prepared.

It’s more than just their famous motto, but also the way Scouts Canada approaches injury prevention.

Scouts Canada is the country’s largest youth-serving organization. More than 60,000 co-ed young people across the nation are enrolled in their regular programs, with many more participating in part-time activities and camp opportunities offered by the organization. The popularity of their activities, forces the organization to rely heavily on their capable team of volunteers. In fact, about 23,000 volunteers manage and facilitate their programs.

With such a vast and strong team, injury prevention is an important message for them to share.

“We have almost 100,000 people involved in different activities, and Scouts do a lot of things outdoors; they try things for the first time and obviously we want both our youth and adults to come back safe and sound from these programs,” explains Andrew Price, CEO of Scouts Canada. “But more importantly, Scouts Canada is about helping to develop well-rounded young people that are prepared for success in the world. Preventable injuries are a leading cause of death for young Canadians. We have a real role to play through preparation and knowledge.”

Preparing youth with the information they need to avoid preventable injuries does more than just extend their lives.

“Ultimately it comes down to us wanting to allow the youth to be safety champions,” Price says. “Not just when they’re in their Scouting programs but also in all the other parts of their life, making sure that youth make safe decisions for themselves but also looking at how they can share that message with their friends and loved ones.”

But when it comes to injury prevention, a common misconception makes some people believe that the safest way is to avoid activities altogether. This couldn’t be further from the truth for Price and Scouts Canada.

“We want them to get outdoors and learn the value of nature, to be healthy and active as they do it,” Price says. “A key element of our program is our plan-do-review model and it lends itself to helping youth explore and do these activities, while thinking in advance what the potential risks could be; addressing these potential risks through the learning process.”

The plan-do-review model is part of Scouts Canada proactive approach to injury prevention.

“We want to be able to review things that happen, take that information and make sure that it gets back to the organization so that it informs future acts.”

This is also accomplished in a couple of different ways. One includes a formal incident review that shares the findings with management teams across Canada as well as the volunteers that work with the youth.
“We also have health and safety tips that we publish in our regular newsletters for our members and on our website,” Price adds.

In the sharing of information, there’s room for Scouts Canada to work with organizations like Parachute.

“We’ve used some of the resources available online [at Parachute’s website] because they’re evidence-based resources. It certainly helps us in the non-profit sector to not have to reinvent the wheel,” Price says. “We take advantage of the fact that Parachute has done the research and distilled it into little useful tools that can be used by volunteers.”

Specifically, topics like concussions are quickly becoming an area where more people turn to Parachute for answers.

“Concussion is certainly an area of concern for all organizations that work with youth and adults, especially when you’re dealing with active programming like ours, so to have those tools available, that’s ideal,” Price says. “There’s just a real advantage to be able to collaborate with an organization like Parachute because we’re able to grab those resources and share them broadly with our network. We know that our volunteers have other responsibilities, like work as coaches or work with other youth organizations so we’re able to help our 23,000 to build some transferable skill in the safety area.”

It’s this sort of training that sets Scouts Canada apart. They aren’t just training their volunteer and participants for the now, but also for the future.

“At the end of the day, Scouting is a youth leadership movement. We want young people to take charge of their experience. It’s all about providing them with a process they can use,” Price says. “We can equip 60,000 young people in Canada with skill and knowledge that they can take on to their jobs and other activities and share that.”

Riding for gold with Robbi Weldon

When you think of Olympic level athletes, the ones that come to mind are often those that have practices their sport for all of their life.

But Thunder Bay's Robbi Weldon had a different start.

Although she rode her bike all her life, she didn't know about tandem cycling until a colleague at the rehab hospital where she worked showed her an Abilities magazine featuring a former para-cyclist in the velodrome.

"To see the tandem cycling and to imagine how fast they were going was really exciting," Weldon says. "From that moment it was in my head."

At the time, Weldon was ready to represent Canada in para-nordic skiing with the Vancouver Olympics right around the corner.

"I had commitments toward Vancouver 2010 but I knew right after that I would be calling cycling Canada," she recalls ."Two weeks after the Olympics, I called Cycling Canada and at 35 years old told them 'I'm very interested to see what it takes to qualify for the Canadian team.' From that moment on it was just a huge learning curve."

Weldon is in a unique class of athletes that excel both at summer and winter events. She credits her hometown with that edge.

"Being from Thunder Bay, it’s an outdoor sport community. Cycling and cross-country skiing are huge there," Weldon says. "I just had access to great coaches and great venues. Plus, I just love being active all year-round."

Weldon won a silver medal in the 2015 Parapan Am Games, an accomplishment she was happy to achieve in her country.

"With all the travelling we do, it's very exciting and calming knowing that you're in your home country and your home is supporting you," she explains. "To be able to show the other American countries what we have in terms of culture and for them to see what the workers and volunteers have put together is great."

Weldon is a huge advocate for sports and the positive aspects the activity has brought to her life.

"Being visually impaired at 15, sports allows someone like myself to have all these great opportunities," she says. "Sports has opened so many doors. As a mother of two children, to be able to share that with them is incredibly important. You can have a dream in sports, or music or dance. Just pursue it."



But Weldon's life is not without difficulties.

"The day to day is challenging. Just crossing the street is dangerous. Going and doing groceries is difficult. Everything takes a little bit longer. My kids are into sports and every day I have to arrange rides to get them to their soccer games or their running practice," she says. "It just makes me more efficient in managing time and you learn new skills. You learn how to live life to the fullest."

As for advice, Weldon has plenty.

"Set your goals. You're not going to run a marathon next week so start out small and keep growing on it. I started running 30 minutes and added 15 minutes every week until I ran three hours," she says. "Kids sometimes see obstacles and have down days but determination and commitment are important. It's very rewarding in the end."

Tandem Talk - The diverging trends in work and non-work injuries

Every year, injury takes a staggering toll on children, seniors, families and communities across the country. New data from The Cost of Injury in Canada Report finds that the financial costs attached to injury are rising and unsustainable. Every year, about $27 billion is lost to the economy.

Because of the economic burden, injury is an important topic for organizations like Parachute but also for the Institute of Work & Health (IWH). In fact, some of their latest research involved taking a closer look at how workplace injuries and non workplace injuries have fluctuated over time in Ontario. To find out more about their study, we chatted with Dr. Cameron Mustard, President and Senior Scientist at IWH. Mustard tells us that the reason they decided to take a closer look was two-fold.

"We were not aware of a comparison over time in that relative burden of injury so we felt that this work would be original," Mustard explains. "The second was that we had a little bit of a hypothesis."

The work done at the IWH had made them aware that the incidence of work-related injuries over the last 10 years had been declining. Before their research began, Mustard and his team expected to see a asimilar trend in injuries arising from non-work activities among working-age adults.

"The hypothesis, which was a tentative one, was that whatever was going on in practices and policies in the workplace was also going on in the general environment that people were in," he says. "It turns out that it's not. That raises an important question: why wouldn't they be?"

While the study was not designed to answer the question of why exactly we see these discrepancies among the trends, Mustard feels that at least part of the reason could be that in Ontario there have been important improvements in the protection of the health of employees at work. It would seem, we haven't made the same improvements in our homes and every day lives.

"The [study] raises a couple of issues to consider. One is all employers in Ontario and other Canadian provinces have legal requirements to prevent injury among people at work. There’s a regulatory standard, quite detailed, whether it pertains to someone whos working at heights or someone working with hazardous materials, there are requirements around what the employer has to do to protect people from harm," Mustard elaborates. "And the consequences [of these policies] may be spending a significant amount of money per worker per year to prevent injury."

On the other hand, the amount people spend at home to prevent injury (whether its protective gear or other equipment) does not seem to be 'growing' a tthe same level.

"But that's just a proposition," Mustard clarifies. "The information to quantify the difference on what an employer spends to prevent injury is not something we have. Nor do we know how much a household might spend on personal protective equipment."


Effective policies and investment from employers to educate their employees
have seemingly decreased workplace injuries in the last decade.


So with this information, what come next?

"Two pieces are relevant from a public policy perspective. The first piece is the way, the efforts of employers guided by regulatory standards, in our view, seems to be effective. The efforts over the last 10 years, according  to the two sourcee we used in our study, are working. So the suggestion for that public policy is don't stop doing what you're doing," Cameron says,  "The second piece is more of a challenge. In non work activities, the burden of injury has not changed. The implication of the findings is to encourage public authorities in more detail about what might be effective in protecting working age adults in non working adults from injury."



Dr. Cameron Mustard is the President and Senior Scientist at the Institute for Work & Health. He is also a professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.

Mustard's current research interests include work environments, labour market experiences and health, the distributional equity of publicly funded health and health care programs in Canada, and the epidemiology of socioeconomic health inequalities across the human life course.

The Institute for Work & Health is an independant, not-for-profit organization. Their mission is to promote protect and improve the safety and health of working people by conducting actionable research that is valued by employers, workers and policy-makers.

Leading the way for Canada

After a succesful Pan Am Games, Toronto is ready to roar again as the Parapan Am Games kicked off on Friday August 7.

The ceremony will promise a parade of nations walking into the venue and last among them, the host country Canada. Leading the way for our amazing athletes is Marco Dispaltro, boccia star for Team Canada and the recently chosen flag bearer for our country.




It takes just a brief conversation and to hear the excitement and optimism in his voice to know that the choice is the right one. Even if Dispaltro himself found it a little unbelievable.

"I thought 'Is this a crank call? Is somebody playing a prank on me?,'" Dispaltro recalls the moment he first found out. "I was a little taken aback and wasn't exactly sure what they were saying. It was surreal. I was still expecting them to wake up and say 'we thought it was going to be you but. . .'"

But it's not a prank and it's not a coincidence. Dispaltro is a skilled athlete. First starting out in wheelchair rugby before making the transition to boccia.

"I had heard of the sport before but I only started to play to shut the coach up. He kept asking me 'Hey Marco, try this boccia stuff'" Dispaltro says. "Finally in 2010, I said okay. I'll try it out. The coach organised something for me, because in para sports you always need to go through a classification process to see if you're elegible to play the sport. They had me throw a couple of balls and it was love at first throw. I couldn't believe I waited so long to try this."




One of the reasons Dispaltro is a natural at boccia is due to his large wingspan, a natural aptitude that gives him an advantage but the athlete says that the bigger secret lies beyond the physical aspects.

"I think in boccia and in high level sports in general the biggest difference to become an athelete is the mental game. For me that's one of the most important things you need," he explains.

As an athlete, Dispaltro has had the chance to travel the world and his experiences have helped him keep everything in perspective.

"In 2003, we went to New Zealand for the World Wheelchair Games and we met the South Africans for the first time. These were some guys that before they knew about rugby or were able to meet a welder to build them a chair, a lot of them didn't even have a chair." Dispaltro recalls. "So imagine, you need a chair but you don't have a chair."


Courtesy: Jennifer Larson


Among the South African athletes was a man that relied on a friend to pick him up every day and carry him out of bed and into his truck. He would be placed in a chair until the end of the day when the friend would return and carry him back into bed. "That's not a life," Dispaltro says.

"In 2008, we went to the paralympic games in Beijing. As soon as the games are over. All the wheelchair rugby chairs for the Chinese team are packed in containers and that was basically it. They gave them for a couple of years the taste of what freedom was and after the games they basically sent them back to their villages never to be heard from again. That's really sobering," Dispaltro remembers. "Even last month, we were in Seoul where they held an impromptu players meeting and there were players from Iraq. The problems that we have in Canada: geographic, lack of funding here or there, don’t compare to [those] the people from Iraq have [going] through a couple of warzones, dodge a few bullets to get to practice."

Dispaltro doesn't take anything for granted. He's appreciative and he works very hard at what he loves. It's advice that he often shares with young children.

"For me it’s always the same. Go out there and try stuff. Eventually you’ll find something that suits you, that you love, that you’re super passionate about," he says. "It doesn’t have to be sports. Some people are just not into it. Just be active, do something. And if you love it, pursue your dream and you might make it to this stage."


Courtesy: Jennifer Larson


Dispaltro faces some tough competition ahead but as a flag bearer he now has some extra duties he hopes to perform just as well.

"There's some responsibility to go to the other competitions and be a very loud and very proud Canada."

We're sure he won't be alone.

Young minds bring change to Ontario

Change in workplace safety is possible. At least that's the conclusion one could reach from listening to the seven young minds that gathered in Toronto to discuss how the issue is affecting the province of Ontario.

Parachute worked with George Brown's Institute Without Boundaries to organize a charette, assembling seven young workers and challenge them to come up with a campaign to raise awareness on workplace safety by using existing social media networks and connecting with other young workers on their own terms.

"Workplace injuries and deaths cause a significant impact to Canadians, their familes and the workforce," said Parachute's Alex Kelly, one of the organizers of the event. "Ill and injured workers can face long-term health effects."

The event kicked off with an introduction by Luigi Ferrara, Director of the Institute without Boundaries and the Dean of the School of Design at George Brown College, explaining the power of a gathering of minds; how different ideas can inspire change and how collaborationg improves the process.



Following that, Jess DiSabatino from MySafeWork gave a powerful testimonial about her personal experience with workplace safety and how her life was changed the day she lost her brother to a workplace injury.

To add further context to the issue, Curtis Breslin from the Institute of Work & Health provided the young Ontarians with a framework of information, detailing the current status of workplace safety in the province.

It was only then, guided by Ferrara, that a brainstorming began coming up with more than 100 ideas to change the issue. Contributions included a wide variety of ideas including mascots, short videos, infographics, etc.



These ideas were then narrowed down to three strong campaigns, each strengthened and championed by a two to three of the young workers.

On the second day, the winning campaign was picked and the rest of the afternoon was spent improving and organizing the idea.

So what exactly was the winning campaign? You'll just have to wait and see. One thing is clear: young people have the power and desire to improve the issues we face as a province and as a country.



Stay cool and stay safe

On a hot summer day a quick step outside is enough to know the temperatures can climb quickly. And while many may bask in the sun's warm rays, some serious dangers are attached to high temperatures.

Heat Waves

So what's the difference between a streak of warm days and a heat wave?

"Everybody uses the phrase "heat wave" colloquially, but in Canada, it's actually a specific term. Typically, temperatures need to be at or above 32C for three consecutive days to qualify -- although try telling someone who's sweltering that it's not "technically" a heat wave!" said Daniel Martins, a writer for The Weather Network.

So are heat warnings always in effect during a heat wave? Not so fast Martins said.



"Unlike heat waves, which are based on how many days temperatures are above a certain level, heat warnings are declared usually ahead of time when temperatures are expected to reach dangerous levels. In Ontario, Environment Canada issues heat warnings when daytime highs are expected to reach 30C AND the humidex makes it feel like 40 ... OR when temperatures are expected to reach 40C or greater," he explained. "So depending on the circumstances, you could have a three-day heat wave and only see heat warnings issued for one or two of those days. Heat warnings are really meant to warn the public of the health hazards of the heat, not help decide whether it's a "proper" heat wave."

How does the heat affect us?

According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety's website, rising temperatures and humidity can lead to people displaying a variety of symptoms.

  • Increased irritability is often a first sign.
  • Loss of concentration and ability to do mental tasks
  • Loss of ability to do skilled tasks or heavy work

If exposure to heat continues any of the following illnesses are possible.

  • Heat edema which is swelling and generally occurs among people not acclimatized to working hot conditions. Often it's most noticeable near the ankles. A day or two in a cool environment should be enough to recover.
  • Heat rash. These tiny red spots on the skin produce a prickling sensation. Sweat glands being plugged lead to inflammation which causes the rash.
  • Heat cramps are sharp pain that can occur alone or in combination with any of ther other illnesses. A salt imbalance is responsible.
  • Heat exhaustion. A loss of body water and salt through excessive sweating can lead to this.  Weakness, dizziness, visual disturbancess, nausea, headache and even vomiting are all signs and symptons.
  • Heat syncope, this heat-induced dizziness and fainting can be caused by insufficient blood to the brain while the person is standing in a hot environment.
  • Heat stroke is the most serious of heat-related illness. Signs are body temps upwards of 41 C as well as a complete or partial loss of consciousness. Heat strokes require immediate first aid and medical attention. Delayed treatment may result in death.



What to do?

  • If you or someone else is suffering from heat exhaustion make sure you move to a cooler, shaded location. Remove as much clothing as possible (including socks and shoes) and cool down by applying wet cloths or ice to your head, face and neck. Drink plenty of fluids: water, clear juice or a sports drink; and get medical aid! Make sure someone is staying with the affected person until help arrives.
  • If someone has had a heat stroke, call 911 immediately and stay with them. Cool them down with cold, wet clothes and offer sips of water but do not force them to drink.
  • But the best way to deal with heat-related illnesses is by PREVENTING them. "If it's super hot out, and you are struggling to handle it, don't be stupid about it. Listen to your body. Drink water, get into the shade, don't exert yourself. Heat exhaustion can creep up on you," Martins added.

Youth tackle youth workplace safety

A first job is often as memorable as a first house, a first pet or a first love, and just like any other "first" often there are more questions than answers.

Parachute hopes to shine a light on the conversation in Ontario. On July 29 and 30, we are teaming up with George Brown College and youth ambassadors from across the province to raise awareness of workplace safety among youth in Ontario.



The gathering of minds will bring together students, stakeholders and professionals to develop an innovative solution to a complex issue.

"Workplace injuries and deaths cause a significant impact to Canadians, their familes and the workforce," said Parachute's Alex Kelly, one of the organizers of the event. "Ill and injured workers can face long-term health effects."

The charrette will assemble young workers and challenge them to come up with a solution to this issue by using existing social media networks and connecting with other young workers on their own terms.

"I think what excites me the most about this opportunity is how impactful social media can be when sending out an important message to a large audience," said Lucas Casaletto, one of the participants. "Getting together with a variety of different people and brainstorming ideas can go a long way in helping reach the goal."

Lucas is a master of social media in his own right, as the Social Media and Marketing Director for Sheridan College's Faculty of Animation Arts and Design. He runs their twitter account, writes content for their site and promotes their events on social media platforms.

"Social media is the right choice to reach an audience because there are so many digital platforms where 'young people' gather their informaiton and learn more about any given cause," he said. "If a message is being sent to a variety of platforms then it can reach a much larger audience, especially since young people interact and use them on a daily basis."

It's a chance to influence the future direction of Youth Workplace Safety and a select group of young Ontario works are about to make the most out of this opportunity.

For more information on workplace safety, visit our program and injury topic page.

Pan Am gets ready to rumble with new rule

The Pan Am games have had many Canadians chatting but a new rule for a popular event even has some of the athletes talking.

Boxing, one of the events scheduled for the second week of the Pan Am Games will be jumping into the ring–but with one major change. Male boxers will no longer be required to wear the headgear.

"I personally love having no headgear," said Canadian athlete Sasan Haghighat-Joo. "You can see the shots coming a lot easier."

One thing many experts will be taking a close look at: sport injuries.

"Boxing without headgear may seem more dangerous but boxing's governing body has been looking at this closely," explains CBC's Trevor Dunn

For the full video, click on the image below.

Drowning prevention in Canada

As summer continues, every week more and more people head out to the water. Some are fishing, others are swimming but all have one thing in common: water safety should be top of mind!

We talked to Dr. Audrey Giles, an applied cultural anthropologist that focuses on the intersections between ethnicity, gender, and injury prevention and health promotion.

Why is it important to take a closer look at drowning statistics, breaking it down by province or gender or age? Does that provide additional information?

It’s incredibly important to break drowning statistics down by province/territory, gender, and age. It ensures that we target programming and messages to the right populations. Men in rural and remote communities (especially in the Territories) between the ages of 15-54 are most at risk of drowning – yet we tend to focus our attention on children. We need to ensure that men understand that they are a vulnerable to drowning!


Edge of a boat in a lake


Is there a common string that ties together most or many of the incidents?

Yes: Failure to wear a lifejacket, alcohol intoxication, boating, and lack of child supervision.

What is the current legal situation when it comes to PFDs?

You must have a flotation device of an appropriate size for each person on a boat. While there are currently no legal requirement for wearing a flotation device, it is STRONGLY suggested that every person wears a lifejacket while on board. It won’t work, if you don’t wear it!

What do people need to know before purchasing a PFD?

A lifejacket (or personal flotation device) should have a label that says it is approved by one or a combination of the following: Transport Canada; Canadian Coast Guard; Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Currently there are no lifejackets approved for children under 9 kg; nevertheless, you can still purchase an infant lifejacket and it should offer some protection. A lifejacket should have a good, snug fit and not ride up over your ears when you pull up on the shoulders. For children, a strap that goes between the legs is very important.

What would you say are the most important water safety tips.

Many people don’t realize that it’s illegal to drink and boat - you can lose your car driver’s licence for the offence! If you wouldn’t drink and drive , why in the world would you boat and drive?

Children should always be within an arm’s reach in the water.

The best lifejacket is the one that you wear – there are many lifejackets with cool designs on them and even some that will automatically inflate if you fall into the water. There’s no excuse! Pick one and wear it!

The biggest safety tip that I’d like to share is that PARENTS need to wear lifejackets, too!  If there’s an accident, you need to be able to help your child – something that is much more likely to happen if you yourself are wearing a lifejacket. Ensuring your child is safe means ensuring you are safe.

For more information on drowning make sure to visit our injury topic and resources pages.

In the meantime, stay smart and have fun splashing around.

Canada, time for an active summer!

Did you watch the Toronto Pan Am games and think "Maybe I could do that?" Or maybe you're looking forward to the start of the Parapan Am games? EIther way, we can help you and your loved ones become the next Canadian gold medalist with these safety tips.

There's a wide array of sports and competitions but here are some safety tips to keep in mind whenever practicing some of the more popular ones.





  • Cyclists of all ages should wear helmets.
  • Pay extra attention to proper fitting of the helmet. Check out our 2V1 guide to make sure your helmet is the right size.
  • If you’re practicing on roads, make sure you know and practice road safety. Brush up on signaling, speed, gauging road conditions, rules of the road, etc.
  • When possible, use designated areas for riding. Make sure to abide by any local bylaws!
  • Make yourself visible when riding. Bright clothing and reflective materials work best.
  • If the weather is less than ideal, use eye protection to make sure you can see where you’re going.





  • Learn to dive safely. Watch our DiveSmart video below for proper diving techniques.


  • Only dive in water that is deep enough to support the size, weight and skill level of the diver.
  • Use the deep end of the pool. The shallow end is not safe for this sort of activity.
  • If you’re using a board, make sure you’re diving from the end and not the sides.
  • Keep hands together and arms extended above the head throughout the dive to protect the head and neck against impact in the event that you’re approaching the bottom of the pool.



  • Be aware that injuries are common for novice skaters, roller hockey players and those that want to practice tricks.
  • Because of that, it’s always important to wear protective gear including a helmet, wristguards, elbow pads and knee pads. Make sure the equipment is the right size.
  • Use cul-de-sacs or streets-blocked off to traffic to practice. If you’re new make sure you give it a try in a closed-off area before heading out to the streets.



  • Meet your match! Literally. Always try to find soccer players that are of a similar level in terms of physical development.
  • Plastic coated balls are the way to go. Once they start to lose their water-resistant qualities, it’s time to replace it. For youth soccer, a smaller ball is ideal.
  • Shin guards are compulsory at games and practice sessions. They cover a large area of the lower leg and are able to absorb a lot of the shock whenever there’s a collision.
  • Moulded cleats or robbed soles help you with traction.
  • Warm-up, stretch, and cool-down before and after games and practices.
  • For more information, look through our Smart Soccer information as well as FIFA’s 11+ soccer program.





  • Double check your riding equipment. Make sure your helmet is ASTM/SEI approved. Helmets should also have a safety harness bolted to it.
  • Wear a body protector, like a vest, and boots with a heel to stop the foot from slipping through the stirrup. Gloves also let you have a secure grip of the reins, and offer protection from chafing.
  • As for the horse, know how it behaves and be aware of its movements.
  • Be physically and mentally fit. Resting well before going for a ride is key.
  • In case of a fall, make sure you know the ‘tuck and roll’ technique. It could help reduce injuries.
  • Beginner riders should take riding lessons. It’s the best way to learn and promote safety practices.

But most importantly, go out and have fun. Just like the Pan Am Games, sports are about enjoying yourself and staying healthy. It's a celebration of body and mind. And sometimes, just a plain old celebration.


Changes to Board of Directors

Parachute is pleased to announce the following changes to its Board:

Normand Côté, who is the past Vice-Chair and founding Board member, was elected as the new Chair of the Board. Normand is a seasoned executive with extensive banking and consulting experience. He is currently Vice President and Practice Leader of Organizational Psychology, Ontario for Optimum Talent.

Normand possesses extensive experience in commercial and personal lending, staffing, training and compensation. He played a leading role for over 20 years at the Canadian Bankers Association by representing the banking industry and all federally regulated employers at numerous parliamentary and senatorial committee hearings and at the United Nations’ International Labour Organization in Geneva acting as the Canadian employer spokesperson, delegation head and employer chair for all 180 member-states.

Normand is also a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in November 2012. Among many others, his current and past activities, include:

  • Chairman of the Canadian Employers Council
  • Member of the Advisory Board to the Canadian Minister of Labour
  • Ministerial appointee as governor of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety
  • Board of Directors - Safe Communities Canada
  • Chairman of Board of Directors - Workplace Safety & Prevention Services.

Normand replaces Cathy Séguin, Vice President, SickKids International at The Hospital for Sick Children, who served as Chair since 2012. Parachute sincerely thanks Cathy for her generous support and guidance during the past two years.

Patricia Southern was elected to the position of Vice-Chair after serving on the Board since Parachute was founded. Currently, Pat is the Chief Financial Officer at Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP. She is a chartered accountant who has held executive financial and administrative positions, including Chief Financial Officer, in several professional services firms, and in public and private companies.

Joining our Board of Directors are Karen Kinnear and Dr. Ash Singhal.

Karen Kinnear is the Vice President, Clinical at The Hospital for Sick Children. She has 25 years of experience as a senior healthcare leader, including 15 years of director-level leadership and management in Paediatric Academy Health Care. In her current role, Karen is responsible for a $100M clinical enterprise and has executive level responsibilities for Ambulatory Services, Clinical Informatics and Technology Assisted Programs and Business Development, in additional to her current portfolio in critical care services. An innovative, tenacious and values driven leader with financial acumen, and business and strategic planning skills, Karen has led and managed the operations of some of the world's best pediatric clinical programs. Karen obtained her MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University.  

Dr. Ash Singhal is a Pediatric Neurosurgeon at British Columbia Children’s Hospital, and for 7 years has been the Medical Director of the BC Pediatric Trauma Program. He is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Singhal obtained his BSc from Queen’s University, and subsequently completed his medical training (MD) at the University of Alberta, Neurosurgical Residency at the University of Toronto, and subsequently a Fellowship in Pediatric Neurosurgery at British Columbia Children’s Hospital.  Dr. Singhal has policy and education experience as an Examination Chair for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, and policy, administration, and research experience in Pediatric Trauma.

Congratulations to everyone and thank you for your dedication to Parachute and our mission to prevent injuries and save lives.

Click here more detailed biographies and Board information.

Catching up with ThinkFirst contest winner

Each year, the TD ThinkFirst for Kids program aims to help students from Grades K-8 understand the idea that injuries are preventable. By using lessons and exciting additional resources, the curriculum engages kids and encourages them to think first to prevent injury before participating in their favourite activities whether they're at home, at school or playing outside. Alongside the program, an annual contest is run allowing students to submit photos, paintings, videos, poems and more in order to illustrate their understanding of the importance of safety.

With the help of a fantastic judging panel made up of representatives from the medical field, Parachute’s president, representatives from TD Bank Group, an artist, a parent, and a media/television celebrity, the top 3 classroom submissions and top 5 individual/team submissions were selected. One of our top five submissions came to us from Fort Frances, Ontario. Grace, one of the students from J.W. Walker School's Grade 7 submitted an amazing video highlighting the 2-V-1 rule for helmet safety, winning helmets for her entire unicycle club. To see her winning submission, click on the video below.

Grace picked the idea based off of one of her passions.

"I started a unicycle club at our school, so it was very easy to create a video and encourage others to use a helmet properly," she said. "I go to the skate park with my skateboard, unicycle and bicycle. Many kids don't wear helmets, but I always do because I know the consequences."

Sharing knowledge about safety with students is one of the main reasons teacher Angela Petsnick decided to include the curriculum in her plans for 2014.

"These programs are important to teachers because they give teachers the opportunity to pass on important information about helmet safety and provide activites for students to do," Petsnick said. "Students have responded well to the curriculum. We even had a guest speaker come in and talk about his head injury. I would encourage [other teachers] to use the curriculum and to participate in the contest. It's great motivation for children."

Another submission to the TD I ThinkFirst contest

As for Grace, she's more than happy with her prize.

"I use my helmet whenever I unicycle, cycle and skateboard," she said. "Thanks!"

To view more contest submissions, visit our Facebook album.

The TD ThinkFirst for Kids curriculum was developed with the generous support of TD Bank Group and is available on our website. Through educational activities, the program empowers kids to make safe decisions and teaches them how to navigate risks in their daily lives that could lead to injury.

Parachute releases the Cost of Injury in Canada Report

On June 3rd, Parachute released the Cost of Injury in Canada report in partnership with the Conference Board of Canada. At an event hosted by the Economic Club of Canada, Parachute's President Louise Logan was joined by a panel of experts to discuss the important findings and what they mean for our country.


The speakers included Louis Theriault, Vice-President of Public Policy at The Conference Board of Canada,  Dr. Louis Francescutti, the Immediate Past President of the Canadian Medical Association and a professor from the University of Alberta, Parachute Board member Ned Levitt and Dr. Ian Pike, the director of BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit.

The event began with a video from from the Hon. Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health congratulating Parachute on the release of the new report, as well as highlighting how impactful preventable injuries are on Canadians.

Following the video, each expert spoke to the importance of this newly-released information and stressed that continuing down our current path when it comes to injury prevention was unsustainable. After the speakers' presentation, they all gathered for a panel discussion as well as a Q&A from the public.


The event was sponsored by Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life, Parachute's National Development Sponsor while the Public Health Agency of Canada offered funding support for The Cost of Injury in Canada report.

The Cost of Injury has received widespread attention in the media with many highlighting facts such as preventable injuries being responsible for 43 deaths a day, as well as being the top cause of death among Canadians aged 1 to 44.



For more information on the Cost of Injury in Canada report, including a download link to the pdf, make sure to visit our Cost of Injury page.

Splash safely this summer

Stay safe while splashing around with these important tips

The excitement of summer brings ample opportunity to get out in the sun and enjoy activates on the water. Water safety week is an annual campaign runnind from June 6-13 to educate Canadians on how to stay safe around water and prevent drowning incidents. While Water Safety Week may be over, the valuable lessons are important year-round. Whether you are at home, the cottage, pools or lakes, water safety should always be your #1 priority. Here are some tips to make you a water safety star, and remember supervision is key:


  • When bathing children at home never rely on other children to supervise.
  • Make sure all electronics are unplugged and or removed from the bathing area.
  • Never leave to answer the phone or get caught by distraction.


  • Inexperienced, weak or non-swimmers should always wear a lifejacket or PFD when near water.
  • Lifejackets and PFDs are NOT substitutes for supervision
  • Pools at home with a depth of over 0.6m (2ft/24in) should be properly fenced. Minimum fence height should be 1.2 m to inhibit children from attempting to climb.
  • Pool fences should be four-sided having a self-closing and self-latching gate that controls all entry to the pool area.
  • Always enter home pools feet first, avoid diving.
  • For more helpful tips, check out our S.P.L.A.S.H.E.S. tip sheet by clicking on the image below.



At the Cottage or Lake

Before entering the water- check the water depth and watch for hazards.
Lake and cottages provide natural platforms that are sought out for diving. Diving headfirst should only be done by those properly trained after confirming that the water is deep enough.
Never underestimate the power of currents; even the strongest of swimmers can get caught in a current.

Boat Safety

  • Alcohol and boating don’t mix. Boating while impaired is dangerous and illegal.
  • All drivers should have a pleasure craft operating card.
  • Boats should always have safety equipment on board. At the bare minimum you need:
    • Proper flotation device or lifejacket of appropriate size for each passenger.
    • Buoyant heaving line at least 15 metres in length
    • Watertight flashlight and or Canadian approved flares
    • Sound-signaling device
    • Manual propelling device i.e. paddle, or an anchor with 15 metres of rope, chain or cable.
    • Bailer or manual water pump
    • Class 5 BC fire extinguisher

Keep water safety in mind and you're summer will be one that you'll never want to forget!

Summer Safety Tips

The long weekend is here and it's time to have fun

Summer is the season of outdoor fun and excitement; kids are out of school and ready to play! With many activities on the go, from sports to long weekend adventures, it is important to stay safe. Here are some tips to ensure you’ve covered all your bases for summer safety.

Home Safety

  • A majority of home safety accidents happen in the kitchen. Turn burners off when not being used and keep surface areas clean. Barbecues should be treated similarly. Don’t leave them unattended.
  • Remember to keep propane, alcohol, inflammables, away from open flames (including the BBQ)
  • Avoid cross-contamination by mixing raw and cooked food.
  • Keep hazardous chemicals and medications out of reach and locked away (ideally in higher cabinets) to prevent children from accessing them.

Water Safety

  • Always keep water safety in mind whether it's open water or a backyard pool.
  • Adults should be within arm’s reach of children under five or older children with less developed swimming skills and ensure children wear lifejackets.
  • If your property (house or cottage) is close to water, make sure to fence off a play area away from it.
  • Make sure to have life jackets whenever necessary.
  • Teach your children about the strength of currents and water safety rules.

Visit our water safety resource for more tips and rules.

Summer Sports

  • Being active is encouraged, but it’s important to stay hydrated and be aware of what’s around you. If you are taking a family bike ride, using rollerblades or skateboards always make sure to have the right helmet.
  • Making sure helmets fit correctly using the 2-v-1 rule.
  • Choose the appropriate helmet for wheeled activities, ensuring they are certified.
  • Ensure your tires are inflated properly and not damaged. Also double check that your breaks are working correctly and the seat is height-adjusted.
  • If you’re playing sports competitively or just at your leisure, keep the following rule in mind. Warm up correctly and be equipped to protect you and your children from injury.
  • Recognizing any early signs of injury is a must, especially when dealing with the possibility of a concussion. Visit our Concussion Toolkit for information on symptoms and treatment.



Summer is a marvelous time to enjoy with your family. Keeping these helpful tips in mind will make sure it always becomes a season to remember!

Fearless & Smart

Meet Kennedy Neumann - our 2015 Stacey Levitt Memorial Award winner

It has been more than twenty years since the Levitt family were given truly terrible news: Stacey, who was only 18 at the time, had been jogging when she was struck and killed by a car.

But Stacey’s legacy lives on through the Stacey Levitt Memorial Award which was created by her family through Parachute. The Award aims to celebrate Stacey’s life by finding a student that embodies her qualities and Parachute’s goal of a long life lived to the fullest.



This year the recipient was Burnaby, B.C.’s own Kennedy Neumann, a young student from Moscrop Secondary School. Kennedy received $2,500 which she plans to use to help pay for her post-secondary education.

”I’m heading to university to pursue studying journalism in the fall,” Kennedy explained in her application. “I have written for my school and community newspaper, and been able to present powerful stories through interviews on the Burnaby Connect local television show that I help create and produce.”

Kennedy told the staff at Parachute that she was nervous about going away for school but she learned long ago that she couldn’t let fear govern her life.

”When I was little my friends would go into the deep end and I wouldn’t. I would miss out on things like inside jokes that I was there for but not really. In those small little ways I realized that fear can be a detriment to your life,” Kennedy said, before explaining that fearlessness needs to be balanced with caution and smart decision-making. “I think Parachute teaches a good lesson in saying that we should live our lives to the fullest while also having that balance. The message connects really well."

Kennedy is an example of balance herself with family and friends gushing about her many talents.

”Kennedy is a truly well-rounded individual and a dedicated student,” Principal Victoria Lee wrote about this year’s winner. “She is a gifted writer who shares her work in the school newspaper, a member of the Music Council and a featured member of our Concert Choir.”

Kennedy hopes to channel her many talents to become a successful journalist, a career she hopes she can use to spread awareness about important causes such as preventable injuries. One venue she thinks journalists and organizations can use more to reach a bigger audience is social media.



”I think social media is the most important thing,” she said. “You find out about things instantly and read more about it and become aware of it.

What is clear is that her future promises big and bright things.

“In all her endeavours, Kennedy proves herself to be a responsible, intelligent and caring individual. I am very proud to have this truly exceptional young woman represent Moscrop Secondary School, “ Lee said.

With so much support behind her, Kennedy can’t help but to dream big.

”My dream is to be a foreign correspondent so hopefully being paid to travel and tell stories would be the most miraculous thing, it would be a dream come true,” Kennedy explained. “I see myself telling stores on TV. Talking to people and hearing their stories.

Applications are now being accepted for the 2016 Stacey Levitt Memorial Award.  Visit this page for more information. Catch up with our 2014 winner Melissa Tiggert and her experience this past year by reading our blog.

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What a night!

A few moments from our 2015 Parachute Gala, May 20 - Toronto

Oh, what a night! It was a star-studded evening as honourary chair Wayne Gretzky, host Jason Priestley, special guest and entertainer Martin Short and many more gathered to honour Dr. Charles Tator at the first ever Parachute Gala.

Donors, sponsors and guests came together to join Parachute in our goal to Stop the Clock against preventable injuries.

The night was entertaining and informative with many taking to the stage to highlight the importance of Parachute's mission. Powerful and emotional testimonials were offered by individuals whose lives had been changed by injury, accompanied by a beautiful music arrangement courtesy of Canadian R&B artist JRDN.

The evening kicked off with a sponsor reception and a "green carpet" where many of our special guests posed for a picture or two, including gala co-chairs Diane Bald and Michael Budman.

For more pictures of the night, make sure to check out our album on Facebook.

The gala was the talk of the town that evening, with #ParachuteGala becoming a trending topic in Toronto. Here's what some people were saying on social media.

For more tweets and Instagram pictures, visit our Storify recap of the night.

It wasn't just the attendees talking about the gala. The night has been all over the media including the Toronto Star, Canada AM, CTV, eTalk, ET Canada and many more. Click on the image below to see some of the coverage.



It truly was an amazing evening thanks to all our fantastic sponsors and generous donors. Thanks to everyone, we are one step closer to Stopping the Clock.


Brain Waves volunteer shares his experience

Khizer Amin is one of our dedicated volunteers in Ottawa, bringing learning and "brainy" fun into local classrooms!

Khizer is a second year medical student at the University of Ottawa, and a coordinator of Ottawa Brain Waves. He is passionate about injury prevention and health promotion, and is also an avid soccer and tennis player.

Brain Wave has been a major success in Ottawa. Medical students from the University of Ottawa served as the presenters for the presentations. As one of the Brain Waves coordinators, I was very pleased to see the amount of interest and participation from my fellow Brain Waves presenters. I realized that my peers really did want to carry the message of injury prevention and safety.

From personal experience, I do not recall learning about bicycle safety or the importance of wearing a helmet when I was in my elementary school years. This was not something that was focused on – my friends and I used to ride our bikes without helmets all the time. I would say the landscape has shifted since then, with new research highlighting the long-term dangers from sustaining concussions, and with some well-publicized events, such as the one year long sidelining of Sidney Crosby following two concussions.

I had a wonderful opportunity to go to a local school, Stephen Leacock P.S., and present to one of their Grade 6 classes. The students were very excited and raring to go, which was great motivation for my partner Garrick and I to present! Garrick and I are both second year medical students at the University of Ottawa. Our mentor, CHEO neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Vassilyadi, was present to see the event and take pictures. Excitingly, the CBC was there as well to cover the presentation – Brain Waves got its time on the 6 o’clock news in Ottawa, both on TV and radio!We brought along with us a Jell-O brain that was purple in colour.  I can say without a doubt that the brain model generated the most interest amongst the students!

We started off by talking about what the brain is, where it is located, and what it is made of. Students learned about the neurons and how they serve as messengers between the brain and the body. We did an interactive activity that showed that longer neurons, such as those to the leg, take a longer time to relay their message than shorter ones, such as those to the face. I was very impressed at how much the students already knew about the body and specifically the nervous system - it made our job as presenters a whole lot easier.

We then talked about the five senses. There were interesting little activities for each of the senses. The point of them was for the students to realize that they were all associated with the brain. We talked about which part of the brain controlled each sense - for example, the temporal lobe for hearing, and the occipital lobe for vision. The essential point that we wanted to drive home was that a hit to the head could negatively affect our senses. To protect them, it is therefore important to wear a helmet!

Perhaps the most important part of the presentation came at the end, when we got to talking about appropriate helmet fitting procedures. Most students had brought their helmets to class, and so we were able to practise on a 1-to-1 basis. Garrick and I talked about the 2-V-1 rule [link to bookmark]: a snug, well-fitting helmet should leave space for two fingers to fit above the eyebrows, the straps should form a ‘V’ around the ears, and one finger should be able to fit above the chin strap.

We also had the opportunity to talk about concussions and brain injuries. Students learned about the serious impact these could have on their daily living. We discussed why returning to sports and activity should be done slowly. Most importantly, we told students that they should tell their parents or a medical professional if they believed that they had sustained a concussion.

Students were empowered with very simple strategies to prevent very serious injuries. They were encouraged to become advocates of injury prevention themselves, by passing on their knowledge to their parents, siblings, friends, and neighbours. It is our hope that small interventions like this can promote a culture of prevention and health promotion in our community.

Want to participate in Brain Waves like Khizer? Learn more about Brain Waves or email for more information on how you can get involved!

Growing Minds, Growing Awareness

Brain Day: educating young brains on neuroscience since 2004

In 2004, University of Toronto Professor Pat Stewart and some of his students taught a program to Toronto elementary school students about brain and spinal cord injury. 

In 2005, Dr. Charles Tator and his team at ThinkFirst (a legacy organization that formed part of Parachute alongside Safe Kids Canada, Safe Communities and Smart Risk) - including undergraduate students at the University of Toronto neuroscience program - took over development and promotion of the Brain Day program

Since then, the program has grown exponentially - with 500 students in 20 classrooms in Toronto in 2005; 6000 students in 103 schools in nine cities across the country in 2008; and our most recent available tally of 34,000 students in 1000 classrooms in 2014, including 23 First Nations communities.

What is Brain Day?

Every spring, volunteer instructors which include undergraduate medical and nursing students at Universities across Canada train and learn the Brain Day curriculum to be able to present to students in Grades 4 to 6 about the amazing brain. 

The program is a half-day presentation that includes interactive lessons and activities. It also teaches about the different part of the brain, gets students familiar with neuroscience vocabulary, and stresses key injury prevention messages around wearing helmets and thinking about risks in everyday settings. 

Caitlyn Johnson, Kamloops Brain Injury Association Brain Day Coordinator works with local nursing students from Thompson Rivers University re-iterates how successful the program has become because of the interactive components "Any time there is an opportunity for a student to volunteer for an activity, hands are shooting up in the air. The children are truly excited to participate in the Brain Day program.”

Brain Day sites also customize the curriculum to best suit their local needs. Pat Cliche, OIPRC, District of Nipissing, works with BScN nursing students from Nipissing University who have translated the presentation into French and by also having guest speakers in attendance, such as Tyler Nicholson from the Canada Snowboard Team. 

Think all about what goes into a helmet.

One of the most popular activities during any Brain Day presentation is the Jello-brain! These specially made brains (you can find the full recipe and instructions here are the highlight of the day. Kids get to wiggle, jiggle and see how fragile the brain really is. 

Children also love to get a hands-on demonstration of how to wear a helmet correctly.

Gray Moonen, President of the University of Toronto, St. George Brain Day site adds "The grade-school children we teach enjoy the whole program from top to bottom. Learning, as I've mentioned above, that brain cells do not spontaneously repair is news to most of them, and I truly believe that it changes behaviour. They also enjoy all of the activities such as the vision experiments and particularly the blind spot and after-image activity. The icing on the cake is definitely the jello brain mould which always steals the show." 

Who is Brain Day?

Parachute is lucky to have volunteer coordinators and instructors who have helped disseminate this program for the last 11 years. In 2014, over 700 were engaging students about the importance of brain education and injury prevention. 

We asked some of our 2015 volunteers to share the key reasons why they enjoy volunteering for the Brain Day program.

Gray Moonen, President of the University of Toronto, St. George Campus Brain Day site

"Volunteers enjoy the unique ability to teach grade school children in a class room environment, as well as the experience of 'opening the minds' of young and impressionable children. It is a unique experience to explain to someone for the first time that their brain cells do not repair the way a skin cell does, or that you have a blind spot in your vision.” 

Michael Grundland, Brain Day Coordinator, McMaster University, Hamilton

Michael is most impressed with the number of elementary students that the program impacts “We were able to get the message across to so many kids located among a diverse array of schools in Hamilton."

Julie Gerwing, Coordinator for Saskatoon Brain Day site

“It’s a well-resourced program to offer to local elementary school students. It allows me to build relationships with the University - specifically student volunteers from the neuroscience research area.”

Are you interested in starting a Brain Day site in your community? Contact" style="line-height: 1.6;"> for more information on how you can get involved!

Changing gears during #SafeKidsWeek

Growing up as a safe cyclist

My mom is an avid cyclist, a love that her parents passed to her, and her to me – and she always insisted on being safe. Cycling is an excellent family activity, and a great form of low impact exercise for all ages. Parachute’s 2015 #SafeKidsWeek running from May 4-10 is all about promoting safe cycling and safe roads in order #SaveKidsLives. Especially encouraging families to ride together!

There are a few things all cyclists should be aware of before they leave the house to lower their risk of injury:

If it has wheels you wear a helmet:

My mom had a hard and fast rule to help protect her children’s brains. If we want to ride or use anything with wheels we wore a properly fitted helmet. Scooter, bikes, roller blades, bike trailers - they all needed helmets. Helmets that were fitted correctly with the 2V1 rule, and replaced after any crash that results in it hitting anything. She wore hers all the time too – she was a great “roll” model! I will admit that up until I was 19 my mom and I had matching helmets. smile

Don't ride on the road:

Children develop their physical and mental skills around age 10. Parents need to asses whether their child can safely ride their bikes on roads shared with cars. Checking in as they get experience will help determine this key milestone for any kid! As a family that commuted by bike, my mom and I first had a trail-a-bike followed by a tandem. This allowed us to ride in low traffic arears with less risk. After practicing my skills on dedicated bike paths, I was ready to transition to riding in low traffic areas.

It’s important to be a safe road user, as a cyclist, pedestrian, or driver. As a cyclist this means learning how to signal turns appropriately, and as a driver it means making sure you’re obeying the rules of the road and decreasing your speed.

Invest in bike lights:

The importance of lights cannot be stressed enough. The City of Ottawa – my hometown - requires their use in the half hour before sunset and sunrise, as well as any other time that visibility is restricted to less than 150 metres. In Ottawa, front and rear lights are needed, with white light in the front and red in the rear. Sounds like a great rule to follow wherever you’re biking in Canada. I like to either leave my lights on my bike or always carry them with me, this way if I’m out later than expected or caught in rain or fog I remain visible. 

A trick my mom uses in the winter is having both a solid beam front light to increase her visibility and a flashing front light to insure she is visible to other vehicles. I like to also have a rear light attached to the back of my helmet so that if the rear light attached to my seat post gets obscured by my bag or shirt I am still visible from behind to other vehicles on the road.

Proper foot wear:

Closed toe shoes. With the laces tied. I have experienced the terrible situation of having my shoes lace get caught in my chain ring, the sudden inability to peddle resulted in my meeting the ground in a very unpleasant manner. Uncovered toes are at risk of getting hit by the chain, wheel, spokes and in a crash are exposed to the pavement.

Learn simple bike maintenance:

I am in no way an expert mechanic but there are a few simple maintenance tasks cyclists should have the tools and know how to preform themselves:

  • It’s important to insure that wheels and breaks are working properly before every ride. It’s pretty important to be able to stop once you have started moving!
  • It’s a good idea to own a pump with a gage, properly inflated tires are less likely to get punctured and they improve resistance making it easier to ride!
  • Have a spare inner tube and a set of sturdy tire leavers, being able to change your own tire is an important skill if you plan on riding trails or back roads.
  • Own a chain lubricant and use it as needed. A rusty chain will not work as well and is at risk of breaking, a proper lubricant also helps to repel dirt. A rag and lubricant is all you need to apply it.
  • An Allen key the same size as the bolt on your seat so you can raise and lower it for a proper fit. You will be surprised but how much more comfortable your bike becomes! It is also important to adjust seats for growing children so they can use their bikes safely and comfortably.

Bike trailer safety

Before I gained the ability to balance and ride a bike I was toted around in a burley bike trailer. As a passenger in a bike trailer you still require a helmet, and the all-important ability to hold up your own head. My mom insisted that the screen always be down to protect my eyes from debris her rear wheel may kick up. Children should wear sunglasses to protect their eyes form debris of the rear tire of the bike they are attached to.

Respect the Rules of the Road

It’s important to be aware of the laws in your jurisdiction and to respect them. Just like with cars the roads are safer for everyone when all the rules are respected.

Stay Safe This Summer

Parachute has seven MORE tips for cycling safety that parents can share with their kids. Use these tips to start the summer off right when on your bike!

During Safe Kids Week May 4-10 follow #SafeKidsWeek on Twitter, Facebook and join the conversation. Let us know how your family is riding together (and safely!)

Lothlorien Farley was a Communications Intern at Parachute for the winter semester of 2015. A student at the Glendon Collage of York University and dedicated to a lifestyle that involves cycling. She hopes to increase awareness of safe cycling to allow more children and families to enjoy it as well.

An Update from our 2014 Stacey Levitt Memorial Award Winner

Last year, Melissa Tigert, was selected as the recipient of the Stacey Levitt Memorial Award. Melissa at the time was a student at Northern Secondary School, Stacey Levitt’s alma matter, and an active member of Parachute’s No Regrets peer leadership team. You can read more about why Melissa was selected in our 2014 interview

One year later and Melissa provided us with an update on how she was able to use the scholarship to help with her next big adventure: university.

An update from Melissa:

Receiving the Stacey Levitt Memorial Award is my most meaningful achievement. Accepting the award from Mr. and Mrs. Levitt, Stacey’s parents, gave me a deeper feeling of gratitude to both of them, and Parachute for this wonderful opportunity. Since receiving the award last May, I have used the scholarship to help pay for my university tuition. I am currently studying biomedical sciences, and am hoping to pursue a career in scientific research.

This award was an excellent way for me to truly think about what motivated me to become an advocate for teen injury prevention years ago. I began working within my school’s No Regrets team, which focused on our immediate community. In my senior years of high school I was also involved with Parachutes Project Gearshift initiative as a National Youth Ambassador. My motivation is simply the need to spread an essential message to other teens like myself. This scholarship allowed me to focus on why it is so important to think twice before making a split-second decision that could alter your, or your friend’s life forever.

Once receiving the award in commemoration of Stacey, I learned quite a bit about the person she was and the circumstances regarding her incident. This award encourages me to continue being involved with injury prevention, and I hope to do so well into the future. To me, her story is one that should instill activism in order to reduce tragedies like the one that stole her life. Stacey’s passion and willingness to help others is demonstrated within the integrity of this scholarship and I am truly honoured to be a recipient.

The Legacy Continues

Visit our Stacey Levitt Memorial Award page on April 30, 2015 to learn who will be our next winner.

National Day of Mourning – April 28

Image courtesy of the CCOHSApril 28 is the National Day of Mourning, a day to remember lives lost in the workplace and renew our commitment to prevent future tragedies. It was officially recognized by the federal government in 1991 and has since spread to approximately 80 countries around the world.

On this year’s National Day of Mourning, Parachute joins Canadians in remembering workers killed or injured on the job.

In 2014, 919 workplace deaths were recorded in Canada. This represents more than 2.5 deaths every single day. On April 28, we encourage everyone to reflect and honour those who have lost their lives.

Every life lost is a tragedyAll of these young workers suffered an injury or died while on the job. Each of these stories is a powerful reminder of the need for everyone to prevent future injuries and fatalities in the workplace.

Parachute’s Passport to Safety has trained more than 2.3 million students across Canada, and provided young workers with a basic level of workplace health and safety knowledge before they start their first job.

Parachute’s vision is an injury-free Canada with everyone living long lives to the fullest. We lend our voice to others on this national Day of Mourning.

Parachute President & CEO, Louise Logan, Statement of Support

Additional Links:

Workplace Safety
Government of Canada Labour Program
Newfoundland & Labrador Labour Relations Agency

Nova Scotia Labour & Advanced Education
Prince Edward Island Department of Environment, Labour and Justice
New Brunswick Labour and Employment Board
Commission de normes du travial Quebec
Ontario Ministry of Labour
Manitoba Labour and Immigration
Saskatchewan Labour Relations and Workplace Safety
Alberta Job, Skills, Labour and Training
British Columbia Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training
Yukon Department of Community Services
Northwest Territories Education, Culture and Employment
Northern Territories Federation of Labour
Nunavut Department of Justice

*Thank you to the CCOHS for the image and information used to create this post. 

12 Tips For Keeping Safety on the Right Track

Rail Safety Week is a national public rail safety program that runs from April 27 - May 3, 2015, brought to you by Parachute's partner, Operation Lifesaver.  Rail Safety Week is about informing the public about the hazards surrounding railway properties and trains.

Parachute and CN are pleased to offer the Safe Crossing Program, a comprehensive and easy to use national rail safety education program.  Developed with key partners, the suggested activities connect rail safety to language, science, social sciences, health and physical education for children ages 5-12.

Visit our Safe Crossing Program page and breakdown of the safe crossing curriculum. 

Parachute's Safe Communities are strong supporters of the Safe Crossings Program and of Rail Safety Week. Safe Communities Sarnia-Lambton, Kingston: Partners for a Safe Community, Safe Communities Humboldt & Area, Safe Communities Hill Country and Chatham-Kent Children’s Safety Village will be active in promoting awareness around railway property and train tacks during #RSW2015.  See Tracks?  Think Train!

Top tips for safety around the tracks:

As a pedestrian:

  1. If the lights are flashing and the gates are down, stop and do not cross. Stand back from the track at least five metres or 16 feet, objects can often fall from trains. Never go around or under the gates at a crossing.
  2. Once the warning signals begin, there can be as little as 20 seconds before the train is at the crossing, not enough time to try to get across. Trains cannot stop quickly nor can they swerve to avoid hitting a person or an object.
  3. If you must cross the tracks at a crossing where there are no lights or gates, stop and look in both directions. Listen for approaching trains, if no train is coming cross the tracks carefully and quickly. Always step over the metal rail, because you could slip and fall by stepping on it.
  4. If one train has gone by, look for a second train coming in the same or opposite direction. Often a train can hide the approach of another train, so it is critical to check both directions before crossing.
  5. Remove your headphones when walking near traffic and railway tracks.

As a cyclist:

  1. Gates or no gates, when a train is passing, stay at least 5 metres  or 16 feet from the tracks; that’s slightly more than an average car’s length.
  2. Always walk your bike across the tracks. If you ride across the tracks, your tire can get caught and you could fall. Always be aware of other traffic going over the crossing at the same time.
  3. On metal, as with wet leaves or oil—coast and steer straight. Putting force on the pedal or steering away from a straight line can cause the wheels to skid. 
  4. Do not ride alongside the tracks. Trains are wider than the tracks and could hit you. In fact, the land right beside tracks is private property, and it is illegal to be on it.

As a driver:

  1. Never drive around the gates if they are down or if they are closing. Trains look like they are moving slowly because of their size. Never try to beat a train. If the gates begin to lower as you are crossing the tracks, keep going forward and clear the tracks as quickly as possible.
  2. If there are no gates or lights, stop and look for an approaching train. Listen to see if you can hear a train. Pay particular attention at these types of crossings at night or in bad weather.
  3. There have been cases where children have been injured as passengers in cars. Young drivers have also been struck or killed. Drivers need to obey the rules around trains and railway tracks.

Find more tips in this rail safety resource.

Keep up with Rail Safety Week using the hashtag #RSW2015 & #SeeTracksThink!


An authorized railway crossing is the only place where it’s legal for cyclists, pedestrians or vehicle drivers to cross railway tracks. Gravel service roads and green space beside railway tracks are usually railway property. It’s illegal - and dangerous - to trespass on railway property! Just as you teach your children how to navigate through traffic, children must be taught the rules for staying safe around trains and at railway crossings. Be sure to visit our rail safety page and Operation Lifesaver for great resources on educating yourself and your children about Rail Safety!

Injury Prevention Webinar Series

Parachute is excited to announce a series of webinars over the next few months to highlight some key topics in injury prevention and support/build capacity with our community partners.  These webinars have been made possible with support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Past Webinars:

June 23 - Poison Prevention & Logic Models and Program Evaluation

Poison Prevention

Presenter: Heather Hudson, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)

Logic Models and Program Evaluation

Presenter: Sunitha Ravi Kumar, Parachute

Presentation Slides

Click on the image below to download the PDF of the presentation

Additional Resources:

Parachute’s primer on Program evaluation – download here
Parachute’s primer on Introduction to Logic Models – download here

May 26 - Drowning Prevention & Social Media for Health Promotion

Drowning Prevention

Presenter: Audrey R. Giles, Ph.D., University of Ottawa

Social Media for Health Promotion

Presenter: Wendy Jacinto, Digital and Social Media Specialist, Parachute

Presentation Slides

Click on the image below to download the PDF of the presentation.

April 28 – Suffocation Prevention & Knowledge Translation

Injury Prevention 

Presenter: Sonia Douglas (Health Canada – Product Safety Division)
Topic: Suffocation / Threats to Breathing 

Capacity Building 

Presenter: Stephanie Cowle, Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre 
Topic: Introduction to Knowledge Translation

Presentation Slides

Click on the image below to download the PDF of the presentation.

Celebrating Safe Communities

On Wednesday, April 8, Northumberland County joined Parachute's Safe Communities. A designation ceremony and celebration with community members and leaders took place at the Baltimore Recreation Centre, which also featured actitivities and displays.

Northumberland became the 66th community in Canada and the 27th community in Ontario to be designated a Canadian Safe Community. Earning a Safe Community designation is not easy, as a county must meet certain criteria and show a commitment to working with Parachute to promote safety and injury prevention in its area. 

Celebrating Northumberland County's accomplishment were a number of community leaders including Brighton Mayor Mark Walas, Councillor Forrest Rowden, Co-Chair, Safe Communities Northumberland County Lead Table, Warden Mark Coombs, Northumberland-Quinte West MP Rick Norlock, Northumberland-Quinte West MPP Lou Rinaldi, Phil Pike, Inspector, Ontario Provincial Police, Kai Liu, Chief of Police, Coburg Police Service, Bryant Wood, Chief of Police, Port Hope Police Service, Dr. Lynn Noseworthy, Medical officer of Health, Haliburton, Kwartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit, Larry Zacher, Executive Director, Brampton Safe City, as well as Parachute staff Barry King, Ontario Provincial Lead and Louise Logan, President and CEO gathered to show their support. See the highlights below.

What is a Safe Community?

Communities who have obtained the Safe Community designation have shown considerable commitment to promoting injury prevention and safety promotion locally.  They have brought together local officials from their municipalities at a leadership table, including representatives from local government, public health, police, fire and emergency services, educational institutions, local business, and health and safety organizations.  Designated Safe Communities have completed a formal Priority Setting Exercise and community scan, to inform their programming decisions, and they have a proven plan for sustainability.

Find out how your community can become a "safe" one! Learn more here


Safety service vehicles at Baltimore Recreation Centre.

Brighton Mayor Mark Walas speakding at the Northumberland Safe Communities designation. 

"A Key To Safety" 

Councillor Forrest Rowden and Dr. Lynn Noseworthy signing the Safe Communities certification

Watch the full designation ceremony:

Educating Students with Jell-O

A step by step guide to making a Jell-O brain and learning all about it!

Grade 4-6 students across Canada have the benefit of Brain Day activities this March. Brain day is a fun and informative half-day presentation about the brain and spinal cord, and why it is so important to protect them. Trained volunteer coordinators with a passion for injury prevention education bring this program to life.  This week I had the opportunity to develop one of the resources used; a Jell-O brain. The Jell-O brain helps give students a hands on awareness of brain and spinal cord injuries. 

Completed brain

This brain is made out of Jell-O and evaporated milk. Unlike the brain in your head which is made up of a special kind of cells called neurons. Neurons have special branches that come out of their center, called the soma. These branches, called axons and dendrites, send and receive information from other neurons. Neurons can send messages from the body to the brain and from the brain to the body. This is a unique skill, no other cell in the body has the ability to send and receive specialized messages.

Steps to make a Jell-O brain

Ingredients of the Jell-O brain

  • 2 170-gram boxes of Jell-O
  • 9 oz (about 266ml) can of evaporated fat free skinned milk
  • 1 ¾ cups boiling water
  • ¾ cup cold water        
  • Vegetable oil for the mold        

Gather all ingredients before you begin

Mix all ingredients as per instructions.

1. Before each use, wash the brain mold with warm soapy water and dry completely

2. Spray or smear a small amount of vegetable oil inside the plastic mold. Wipe away any excess.

3. Put Jell-O mixing a bowl and add the boiling water. Stir until dissolved.

I found it easier to mix the Jell-O and boiling water in a pitcher  

4. Stir in ¾cup of cold water

5. Stir in skimmed milk for 2 minutes

I switched over to a large bowl to add the evaporated milk

The colour of the Jell-O will depend on the flavour you use and whether you add food colouring to obtain a “brain colour”. I used a mix of orange and strawberry Jell-O for this pinky colour.

6. Place mold upside down, inside a bowl

7. Pour mixture into mold and refrigerate overnight.

Neurons can send signals up to 120 metres per second! That’s a lot faster than the 12 hours it took this Jell-O brain to set.

The urge to touch the Jell-O brain at this stage is huge

It took my brain less than two seconds to register that this “brain” is now cold. As temperature signal travel at a speed of two metres per second.

Your brain is suspended in liquid, cerebral spinal fluid, then cushioned by layers of tissue. When you hit your head its gets shaken and can hit the inside of your skull, causing bruising.  This bruising is called a concussion. Most concussions are mild, but some damage a lot of neurons.

Just like this Jell-O mold neurons cannot repair themselves.

Brains are the control center for your body. All sights, smells, noises, and feeling are process in the brain. Brain injuries can affect any of these senses and more. Most brain Injuries are preventable; wear a properly fitted helmet, a seat belt, and look both ways before crossing the street.

If you are interested in a presentation, please contact us for more information. We will do our best to schedule a presentation for your school or community center. To get in touch with a local coordinator please email

Ready. Set. #SpringBreak

Keep your family safe during the break

Whether you’re planning a stay-home or get-away vacation, we’ve put together some reminders on how to keep your family injury-free during all those fun activities.

Fun in the Sun


You’re headed to a warm destination and - considering our long winter season - it may have been some time since you and your family were near open water (or even in the sun!) Prevent drowning with these tips:

  • Stay Close, Keep in Sight and Listen. Active supervision is key. Kids overestimate their skills and underestimate their environment, like water depth or strength of current. If you’ve never been to your resort and are unfamiliar with the body of water, ask staff how strong the currents are before you venture in!
  • Life Jackets are Life Savers. Young children under 5 years of age and weak swimmers should wear lifejackets when they are in, on or around the water. Call or email your resort ahead and ensure that they have child size lifejackets on hand – if not, consider bringing your own. Follow instructions located on the lifejacket to make sure they are properly secured.
  • Fence it, Prevent it! Researchers estimate that 7 out of 10 child drownings can be prevented with four-sided pool fencing. Even if your hotel pool has a fence, supervision is still required. Watch for kids who may try to climb over fencing and keep them in arm’s reach.
  • Know How to Swim. While it doesn’t replace active adult supervision, swimming lessons allow children to gain confidence around water and learn swimming strokes and water skills. If you’re planning a warm weather vacation, ensure you make time to get kids to lessons beforehand.
  • Be Prepared. Get trained in water skills, swimming skills, CPR and first aid. It could help save a life.
  • Have a Swim Buddy. Adults, even confident swimmers, may feel like they can get into a calm body of water safely – this isn’t always the case. Have swim buddies to keep you company – water currents can be deceiving. 
  • Alcohol and Open Water Don’t Mix. On the boat or as a swimmer. Alcohol was present or suspected in 41% of powerboat drownings. Stay in control so you can enjoy your whole vacation!
  • Obey Signs and Warnings. Hotels will have warnings posted by the pool and beach – be aware of rocks, dangerous species and appropriate diving areas, and familiarize yourself with the local beach warning flags.

Some additional tips to ensure your family has a great vacation in the sand and sun:

  • Stay Hydrated. Ensure you and your family are drinking a lot of water. For adults, drink alcoholic beverages in moderation - they dehydrate and can lead to sickness.
  • Avoid Overheating. Wear light, loose clothing and stay in the shade. Find out in advance if the resort you’re staying at has beach umbrellas available to use.
  • Wear Sunscreen. Make sure to bring sunscreen SPF 15 or higher in your checked luggage as it certainly more expensive at the resort. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes in advance of sun exposure and reapply every two hours. Use water resistant formulas at the beach or pool or during activities that cause perspiration.
  • First Aid at your Fingertips. Be prepared to deal with emergencies by taking a first aid course, or downloading The Red Cross First Aid App - it offers lifesaving advice in your hands.

Fun in the Snow

If you’re looking to extend your winter, you’ve probably planned some fun hill-side activities for your family.

Skiing & Snowboarding

Maybe it’s your first time on the slopes this season, or one of your last runs – some reminders on staying safe on the hill:

  • Warm Up & Stretch before heading out. This helps with your physical capacity and maintaining control on the slopes.
  • Wear the Right Equipment. Properly fitted helmets, wrist guards and maintained equipment will help to keep you safe on the hill.
  • Monitor Snow and Weather Conditions. Stay alert for hazards and changes in visibility. Parks Canada provides a daily avalanche forecast for all mountain parks.
  • Dress Right. Avoid frostbite and UV ray exposure. Wear sunglasses /goggles and sunscreen.
  • Be Cautious. Especially on your first and last runs of the day – when the risk of injury is highest. Watch for jumps and know your limit for skiing and boarding at high speeds. Stop before it gets too dark or you get too tired.
  • Know Your Skills. Choose runs that suit your ability and experience.
  • Follow the Code. The Alpine Responsibility Code helps everyone to coexist on the hill: stay in control, do not obstruct a trail & stay off closed areas and observe warnings.
  • Stay Hydrated. And stay sober on the slopes.


Spring Break may be the last time kids (and parents) can whiz down a snowy hill. While you may think you know your local spot – it’s always good to take a few minutes to make sure you’ll have a safe ride:

  • Check for Hazards. Ensure the hill is free of hazards (rocks, glass, garbage), not near roads or railways, uniformly covered in snow with no icy or grassy patches. 
  • Get Equipped. Use proper tobogganing equipment.  Wear helmets (hockey or ski helmets are best) and dress for the cold.
  • Have Some “Hill Sense”. Always have adult supervision, don’t go down head-first, avoid tobogganing at night and obey signs and warnings.  

Planning on an outing that includes hiking, snowshoeing, skating or cross-country skiing? Read our Family Day blog for some more important tips on enjoying the last bit of winter weather.

Fun at Home

Stay-cations don’t mean you have to be stuck inside! Depending on where you are, hopefully you’ll be experiencing a winter thaw soon – or you may even already see some green patches. For families that are itching to get their bikes back on the road, some items to consider before hitting the pavement:

  • Equipment Check. Make sure bikes are in proper working condition: functioning brakes, tires inflated, reflectors and bells properly secured.
  • Wear It. Wear helmets that meet safety standards for cycling and ensure they worn properly by doing the 2V1 salute. Parents can set a good example by wearing helmets too! Discard the helmet after one high intensity impact
  • Make Good Fashion Choices. Footwear choices are important so that toes don’t get caught in spokes and laces don’t get caught in chains. Wear closed toe shoes and ensure laces are tied. Wear reflective patches and bright clothing.
  • Stay Un-distracted. Don’t wear headphones, stay aware of your surroundings and leave your phone alone.
  • Be Aware of Traffic. Children should avoid areas of high road traffic – especially higher speed zones. Children under 10 should practice before they ride on the road, ability and experience-level of each child should be considered before they take on the road.
  • Get Educated. Know your local road safety rules: signaling, speed, gauging road conditions and rules of the road.

If it is still too cold to play outside, here are reminders on how to stay safe at home to ensure your little ones have a great Spring Break!


Stay injury-free by playing smart

Find out why our ThinkFirst Smart Hockey video and resources are important

This month we've interviewed three individuals who have used the Parachute’s ThinkFirst Smart Hockey video and resources in their personal lives through coaching and inspiring youth through hockey.

What is ThinkFirst Smart Hockey?

The video, supported by Scotiabank, teaches individuals how to prevent, identify and return to play after a concussion, as well as provides Canadians with information to support injury prevention on the ice.

It also features interviews with hockey superstars, John Tavares, Tessa Bonhomme, Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Myers, and Caroline Ouellette.

Resources include concussion assessment tools for youth and adults as well as a guide for coaches and trainers, handouts for coaches/trainers, athletes and parents, and personal concussion records for each player.

To learn more about Parachute’s Smart Hockey Concussion Kit, click here.

The Player

Scott Watson grew up playing hockey in North Toronto, eventually moving up to AAA level and playing for the Junior Canadians, Red Wings and Young Nationals. In his final year of high school, he injured his shoulder (on the rugby field!) – and unfortunately cut his playing career short.

Scott reflects on his time as a youth player and says “Hockey has taught me a lot and I couldn’t imagine my youth without it. Beyond the obvious teamwork, sportsmanship and camaraderie that comes with any team I learned professionalism, work ethic and dedication that has had a positive impact on my life outside the rink.”

Scott continues to be involved with hockey by coaching various children and youth levels, as well as coaching at the varsity level in Quebec. Currently, along with being an important member of the Parachute team in Government Relations, he is the defense coach of an Atom Select team and enjoys playing recreational hockey with friends. As a coach he focuses on keeping it simple and stresses the fundamentals of the game – so the players have the foundation to grow.

He believes that his commitment to coaching youth comes from the influential coaches in his life growing up – as well as parents that stressed volunteerism. He adds “I get a lot out of coaching – usually more than the players. Each team is a little different and challenges me to adapt to changing circumstance. This helps me personally and professionally.”

As a youth coach he’s worried about player safety – of course, he works for Parachute! – but the number one priority is that the players are having fun. “There was a point in my playing career where going to the rink seemed like a burden – I hope that none of my players feel that way. We push a relatively stress and politics free coaching style that I think has benefited the players.”

As part of his training to coach youth, Scott was required to view the ThinkFirst Smart Hockey video, he was especially impressed by the collaboration of organizations like NHL, NHLPA, and IIHF that came together. He says “These are the leaders in hockey in the world. Working with them, even for footage, shows that they are committed to addressing concussions and preventable injuries - and that’s great for the game.“

ThinkFirst Smart Hockey tips Scott has used on the ice include:

  • Game fundamentals and including injury prevention messaging like keeping your head up and being attentive on the ice.
  • Approaching the boards on an angle, anticipating hits and how to safely navigate the impact between players.
  • Clarifying the role that helmets play on the ice, specifically the misunderstanding that helmets prevent concussions. The video provides a tool to clarify that message.

Scott recommends the video and resources to other coaches, trainers, players and parents – as everyone plays a role in maintaining a safe environment and promoting injury prevention. He adds “the video is a gateways to allow individuals to think about injury prevention, where they may have not before. The video provides a catalyst to formalize and expand on some of the principles that players and coaches already intuitively know.”

The Coach

John Bryden has been involved in hockey for more than 40 years from playing, to coaching and training. He has played in various levels of competitive hockey starting at the age of 6 until his early twenties. Currently, his whole family is playing hockey, including his wife, two sons and a special needs daughter.

John stopped playing competitively after university, he was then offered an opportunity to help coach a team in his home town. He enjoys coaching as he is able to offer young players guidance and advice that will ultimately help them improve and become better players. John adds “Along with my schooling and work experience in human movement and injury prevention, I try to combine all of this to teach young people to be better hockey players, better athletes and look after themselves through exercise and nutrition.

Injury prevention is important to John because playing is what matters most to athletes. “No one wants to be on the sidelines due to an injury. The injury also impacts other aspects of their lives - school, other sports and family activities. Often some of these injuries can have a significant and long lasting impact. You don’t feel part of the team and as you get older you can often develop aches and pains from these injuries suffered years earlier.”

John has used the ThinkFirst Smart Hockey video and resources in preparing himself and his players for on-ice play. Having professional athletes helps get the message out, but also having clear and straightforward messages makes it easy to implement. Some of the tips he has used include:

  • Hockey is a contact sport: even with no checking there is still body contact and collisions on the ice.
  • Danger zone: angling towards the boards to retrieve a puck is a simple and effective strategy.
  • Getting ready off the ice: strengthening core muscle groups and improving balance.

Overall, John emphasizes the message to his players about the importance of being prepared, staying alert and aware at all times to avoid injury.

Last year a player on one of his son’s teams suffered a hit – but didn’t tell anyone. He encourages his players to let them know when they’ve been hit. As a trainer on his son’s team John used Parachute’s Smart Hockey toolkit to help with his return to play – giving him the ability to provide information to players and parents during the process.

John says that while most coaches focus on things like passing, shooting and skating skills – they don’t alert their players to prevention techniques or other dangers, due to the fact that they may not even be aware of them. He recommends reviewing the ThinkFirst Smart Hockey video and resources and ensures that all the parents of players are also aware. “It seems more children are being injured playing sports than they were years ago. Not sure if it is the equipment, if players are bigger and faster or if we are just simply hearing more about injuries. Injuries can have devastating, long lasting impacts so it is our responsibility as coaches, trainers and parents to do everything we can to prevent them.”

The Medical Student

Former Major Junior hockey player Matt Eagles has suffered three concussions and knows firsthand the impact this type of brain injury can have on you and your family and friends. Matt co-founded Concussion U, an interest group established by medical students at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Matt uses the ThinkFirst Smart Hockey video when leading interactive presentations to young hockey players.

“It is so important for everyone to be on the same page when it comes to concussion injuries. The ThinkFirst Smart Hockey video is accessible and engaging, and provides the right information in the right way and is suited to all levels of players, parents, and coaches”, says Matt. “Information is power, and in order for the culture to truly change around these injuries, everyone needs to be informed!”

His biggest concern for players is that they try to hide their injuries in order to keep playing. “There is a great deal of pressure on young athletes, especially when they start thinking about playing at the junior, university, and pro levels. This might cause some of them to try and play through a concussion, and it’s not worth it.”

In his presentations to groups of youth, they respond well to a doctor – Dr. Charles Tator – speaking at their level. They also love hearing from the NHL players about their injuries and recovery. “One story they love to hear about is when Patrice Bergeron talks about the long road back from injury. This is really hammered home when they recall that he played with a collapsed lung in the Stanley Cup finals. Concussion is not an injury you can play through and he is a great example of that.”

Play Smart

Scott, John and Matt may have different reasons for using the ThinkFirst Smart Hockey video and resources, but they all know these are important tools to ensure players are kept safe as well as to prevent and manage concussions. Let us know how you’re using the video and resources on our Facebook page or on Twitter.

Four Family Friendly Activities for Famliy Day!

Enjoy Canada’s winter wonderland & keep your family safe! 

Show your family love by using these tips and ideas when getting outside this long weekend. Share your #ihearthelmet selfies or let us know how you will #ShowThemLove this weekend on our Twitter or Facebook pages.

Montmorency Falls Park, Québec

Only a few minutes away from Québec City, get your family to try their hand at snowshoeing or winter hiking on a 3 km trail.  You’ll find,  in front of the frozen falls, the famous sugar loaf (a snowy hill created by the fall’s mist) – and might even spot some adventurous ice-climbers! Snowshoe rentals available on-site.

Photo credit:

Getting ready:

  • Stay inside if it’s too cold outside: if the temperature is below -25 C, you may be better to get outside another day. Skin can freeze within minutes at this temperature, especially for little ones!
  • Dress to keep warm & dry: wear hats and socks made of tightly woven fibers, like wool, which trap warm air against your body. Wear loose layers and make sure vulnerable areas, such as fingers, toes, ears and nose, are protected.  Boots should be dry and not too tight! Read more tips on what to wear.
  • Stay hydrated: drink warm fluids or water.
  • Stay on route: use clearly marked trails and bring a map. 

Muskoseepi Park Skating Pond, Grand Prairie, Alberta

Located in Muskoseepi Park, the skating pond is open to the public at no-cost for leisurely family style skating. The rink does not permit hockey or hockey equipment on the pond – a bonus for nervous novice skaters. BYOS (bring your own skates!)!

On February 16, the park will be celebrating Family Day with special Winterlude activities, learn more.

Photo credit:

Getting ready:

  • Blue is better: If you’re skating on a non-monitored pond, check that ice is clear and blue – this indicates strength. Ice should be 15 to 20 cm thick for skating. Learn more about ice colour and thickness.
  • Good ice for a great skate: check that ice surfaces are in good shape without bumps or slushy ice. Check for hazards like pebbles, rocks or branches.
  • Check with rink monitors or locals for any additional tips around safety!
  • Read more tips to have a safe skate outdoors.

Arrowhead Park Skating Rink & Loop, Huntsville, Ontario

This busy – but beautiful – park offers a 1.3 km skating trail in the middle of fairy winterscape. The secret is out – the trail has been busy this season – but still worth a trip! Especially if you like the idea of skating by torchlight! Admission is $14 per vehicle and skate rentals are available.

Photo credit:

Getting ready:

  • Snug and sharp: skates should provide firm ankle support and fit snugly. Check that blades aren’t rusted or dull.
  • Protect your head: all skaters should wear CSA-approved helmets, which should be replaced every 5 years. Make sure you’re wearing the right one
  • Go with the flow: read the top tips for skating on busy surface. 

Cross Country Skiing at Pippy Park, Saint John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador

Pippy Park offers 3 km worth of free groomed trails, great for beginner skiers! The park also offers skiing under the stars with lit trails. Cross country ski equipment and snowshoes are available for rental.

Photo credit:

Getting ready:

  • Stay safe from the sun: even with overcast weather, the snow can reflect light and cause burns. Wear sunglasses or googles with UV protection.
  • Equipment check: make sure that equipment is in good condition and fits properly.
  • Warm up and cool down: most injuries occur at the beginning or end of a day of skiing, be sure to do proper exercises and stretches.
  • Be a trailblazer: stay on marked trails and bring a map.
  • Going downhill instead? Read more tips here.

However you plan to spend your Family Day holiday, we wish you a safe and happy one!

Parachute volunteers make “Good Neighbours”

Karen McIntyre & Jamie Holtom are recognized by State Farm Canada for their tremendous efforts.

In the fall Parachute was approached by our partner State Farm Canada to nominate some deserving volunteers based in the Greater Toronto Area to receive their “State Farm Good Neighbour Award” – which highlights individuals within the community that have exemplified the “good neighbour” pillar and have gone above and beyond to make their community a better place to live. 

We were very excited to learn that two of our nominations were selected in December. The winners would be presented with the award at an upcoming Maple Leafs hockey game which they would attend with a loved one, as well as receive an autographed jersey.

"Good Neighbour” Karen McIntyre

Pictured above: Karen McIntyre with Parachute's Alex Kelly at Northern Secondary School Texting & Driving Blitz event.

As a teacher at Northern Secondary School in Toronto for 33 years, Karen was very involved with after-school activities including coaching swimming, volleyball, Nordic skiing, and track and field. She was a committed volunteer coach to the swim team over the course of her career, winning many city championships and bringing home several Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association medals.

Karen also served as a volunteer Staff Advisor to Parachute’s No Regrets injury prevention program for eight years. The organization began as a pilot project and grew to achieve association status within the school, seen as an integral part of Northern student life. The team of students organized school and community events promoting teen injury prevention awareness (assemblies, classroom workshops, activity fairs, competitions, locker painting, and community safety events). The school’s work on a teen safe driving campaign resulted in Northern Secondary School students representing Canada at the National Service Learning Conferences in San Jose and Atlanta, sharing peer leadership strategies with U.S. Schools. The No Regrets team was also involved in the development of the "Is it Worth It?" multimedia campaign targeting teen driver safety with many youth volunteers creating winning public safety announcements; being featured on national news and travelling to Ottawa to meet with government officials.

Even after retirement, Karen’s legacy at Northern resonates, with a group of students that works with Parachute to continue to promote injury prevention messaging to new generations of teens.

It is this ongoing commitment to living life to the fullest and making safety a priority within the Northern community, that made Karen a fantastic candidate for the “State Farm Good Neighbour” award.

On December 16, Karen was invited to attend the Maple Leafs game at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto to receive her award. She had a great time and made an appearance on the jumbotron!

“Good Neighbour” Jamie Holtom

Jamie is Brampton’s busiest volunteer. He does many things to make the Brampton community a great place to live.

In 2012, he brought together a number of community agencies and citizens to create the Journey, a neighbourhood centre serving Ardglen, one of Brampton’s low-income neighbourhoods. This centre now provides after-school programs for youth, parenting programs, cooking for teens, as well as advocacy for poverty, housing and education on behalf of area residents.

In 2010, Jamie Holtom founded a Community Action Group to organize teams of volunteers to assist Brampton families in need. Examples of what they do include Refresh (a program where volunteers paint apartments of families who cannot afford to do their own home renovations), clothing exchanges, food drives and other good neighbour activities.

Jamie and his wife Katrina suffered a terrible tragedy in 2003 when their infant son Lucas died in a natural disaster. Jamie and Katrina created an annual event called ‘Lucas Holtom Day’ as a tribute to Lucas, and as a means for families to celebrate each other and life. The carnival has grown into one of Brampton’s premier community events, with thousands of people attending each year.

In 2011, Jamie formed a team of neighbours on his street, Peggy Court. They organized neighbourhood projects, including safety meetings with the police, community clean-ups and block parties where neighbours could get to know each other better. As a result, in 2013 and 2014 Peggy Court was designated as one of Brampton’s Great Neighbourhoods under the city’s Good Neighbours/Great Neighbourhoods Program.

Jamie also leads a team of volunteers to organize neighbourhood events throughout the city, is a volunteer coordinator for JET Mentors (an after-school drop-in basketball program for Grades 6-8), serves as a volunteer Chaplain for Brampton Fire & Emergency Services, serves as a volunteer Director on the Board of Directors for Wellspring Chinguacousy, a cancer support centre.

In November, Jamie was awarded Brampton Safe City’s (part of Parachute’s Safe Communities network) most prestigious honour – the Community Safety Hero of the Year at the 32nd annual awards.

There are so many reasons that Jamie made a great candidate for the “State Farm Good Neighbour” award – but overwhelmingly he is truly a good neighbour and an inspiration to many, many people in our community.

On January 19, Jamie will be awarded for all of his amazing efforts and achievements at the Maple Leafs game in Toronto. Watch out for the presentation if you are at the Air Canada Centre!

Get involved! 

Karen and Jamie are inspiring – and now you want to get involved too! There are many ways to volunteer with Parachute – you can help spread the word about us on Facebook, Twitter and other social channels by being a social media ambassador!

Contact your local Safe Community to see how you can get involved. 

If you want to learn more about the great work Parachute does please email with your query.

TD I ThinkFirst! Contest

Preventing Injuries: It's Elementary

Each year, the I ThinkFirst! contest introduces kids in grades K-8 to the idea that injuries - especially concussions - are preventable. We challenge kids to create artwork showing why and how they try to prevent injury when they're active at play, school or home. The contest aims to highlight the importance of brain and spinal cord injury prevention. 

A Great Success

This year, we received 149 submissions from 177 students from schools across Canada. Our judging panel had to make some difficult decisions, but they were ultimately able to select 3 winning classrooms, 5 top individual/team submissions, and 3 honourable mentions. 

The grade 2/3 class at Robert Moore School in Fort Frances, Ontario won top honours, and will receive helmets for their entire class. Congratulations also to the grade 8 class at Sir William Gage Middle School in Brampton, ON and the grade 4 class at Matthew Elementary in Bonavista, Newfoundland for winning second and third place, respectively.

To see all of this year's submissions, be sure to check out our Facebook album.

The TD I ThinkFirst for Kids curriculum is available to educators year-round on Parachute's website

The Next Generation of Injury Prevention

Our thanks to TD, whose generous support brings important injury and concussion prevention to classrooms around the country, ensuring that the next generation grow up understanding the importance of preventing injuries and protecting their heads.

Keeping Pedestrians Safe with FedEx Canada

A busy fall for pedestrian safety

Our pedestrian safety programs have had an unprecedented response this fall, allowing us to directly address issues facing both children and teens.

Moment of Silence

On November 17, Parachute launched its Moment of Silence video, encouraging kids and teens to exercise caution when crossing the street. As part of the launch, a group of students at Northern Secondary School participated in an early morning event at a crosswalk near the school, reminding classmates not to cross the street while distracted as they walked to school. 

When they returned to the classroom, the students received a presentation on pedestrian safety. Pamela Fuselli, VP of Knowledge Transfer and Stakeholder Relations at Parachute shared information on Parachute's teen pedestrian safety poll. Parachute board member Ned Levitt spoke in memory of his daughter Stacey, who was killed when crossing the street at the age of 18. Lastly, Brie Carere, VP of Marketing, Corporate Communications and Customer Experience at FedEx shared a few words about FedEx's commitment to pedestrian safety, and announced their $5000 donation in support of the 2015 Stacey Levitt Memorial Award. 


Teen pedestrian safety survey

Alongside the Moment of Silence, Parachute and FedEx also released the results of a teen pedestrian safety poll comprised of responses from 510 Canadians aged 13 to 18. The poll revealed that a staggering 51% of Canadian teens report that they have either been hit or almost hit by a car, bike or motorcycle. The media took note of these numbers - stories on the poll and Moment of Silence event were broadcast on CBC radio, CBC TV, Global, CTV, City and CP24.

Ongoing initiatives

Pedestrian initiatives have een emphasized this fall, with another successful season of the Pace Car program. This year, we’ve had participating communities in Assiniboia, SK; Carman, MB; Vernon, BC; Blenheim, ON and Sherbrooke, QC.

We have also just wrapped up this year's Canada's Favourite Crossing Guard contest. Full details on this year’s winners are available here!

Keeping pedestrians safe

Our thanks to FedEx Canada for their continued support and dedication to pedestrian safety initiatives, which allows Parachute to present such a wide array of programming throughout the year, contributing to the safety of pedestrians across Canada. 

Parachute’s Horizon is Now Live

Help is on the Horizon

One of our major 2014 accomplishments has been the launch of Parachute's Horizon. We dreamed big with this project, and we're proud of the result: a central, user-friendly hub featuring evidence-based, leading practice interventions, resources and more. This is Canada’s first stop for injury prevention solutions.

Where innovation and knowledge meet

Parachute's Horizon has been developed with the user experience in mind. The content is organized so that you can find what you're looking for based on topic or demographic; regardless of your method, you'll find the information you need. To make things even easier, information has been curated into collections, ensuring that you can see the full picture on the first try.

Information you can count on

We've all been there - searching the web for information, but finding results that raise more questions than they provide answers. What's credible? What's real? How can I use this?

Parachute's Horizon is all about providing answers, and taking the guesswork out of the equation. If it's on Parachute’s Horizon, then you can be sure that it's passed our assessment framework. We’ve designed this framework to help us capture evidence-based and expert-approved information from the field.  

Endless possibilities

One of the most exciting elements of Parachute’s Horizon is what it presents: an innovative structure and accompanying framework for presenting information. This design allows it to evolve continually, incorporating new resources, literature and topics, ultimately leading the way to an injury-free Canada. We welcome submissions to Parachute’s Horizon – learn more here.

Just in time for the holidays, we've just added holiday tip sheets to Parachute’s Horizon to help keep families safe and happy all season long.

Making connections

Providing Canadians with trustworthy information and credible resources will bolster the injury prevention movement. By introducing Parachute’s Horizon, we're creating something new: a means of connecting users with the best information possible, and accelerating our mandate to prevent injuries and save lives. 

A collaborative effort 

We are grateful for the generous support of our National Development Sponsor, Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life, as well as the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, without whom none of this would have been possible. 

Giving Back to Prevent

At Parachute we are always amazed how our friends and supporters find time to give back so that we can continue our important role in injury prevention. We want to highlight some of the fun and creative ways that communities and individuals have committed their time and energy to raising funds for Parachute – and hopefully inspire you to do the same!

Take Part in #GiveToPrevent

This holiday season Parachute is running a holiday giving campaign that features the stories of three young people who have suffered from concussions.

We have made it easy for you to donate online & ask that you spread the word by sharing the following on Twitter and Facebook:

Will you #GiveToPrevent? @ParachuteCanada is raising awareness about #concussions & sharing important stories:

Even this small gesture of support goes a long way!

Kenzie Calendar

For many years, Jim Kenzie, chief auto reviewer for The Toronto Star’s Wheels section and a traffic safety advocate, has been creating and publishing a calendar featuring his photographs of exotic cars taken in locations around the world.

Jim has a life-long interest in traffic safety, which is why he supports Parachute by donating half the proceeds of his calendar sales to us each year. 

Just in time for your holiday shopping, you can purchase your very own Kenzie Calendar – which includes monthly safety tips from Parachute. Visit his website to order your calendar today!

Playing Hockey for a Good Cause

This year marked the 11th Annual Kellsie Memorial Hockey Tournament at the North Toronto arena on October 4. The annual hockey fundraiser was started by friends of Sean Kells to mark his memory by playing a sport that he loved in an arena he grew up in. Sean’s dad, Paul Kells, founded Safe Communities Canada after Sean’s death at 19 in a preventable workplace incident.


This day of hockey includes a visit by Carlton the Maple Leaf’s mascot, on-ice hockey development, presentations on concussions and a round-robin tournament with teams who play for the Kellsie Cup. Parachute staff and volunteers are also on hand to provide information to participants about our charitable organization.

The Kellsie Committee generously supports Parachute by donating funds from the event every year. Learn more about the tournament here

If you are hosting your own local tournament and want to give to prevent, be sure to let us know! We may be able connect you with individuals who can do presentations on concussion in your area.

Walking & Running for Injury Prevention

In 2013, four pediatric emergency medicine physicians at the Hospital for Sick Children organized an Injury Prevention Awareness Walk/Run, which took place during the Goodlife Toronto Marathon 5K, to help raise awareness of injury and funds for Parachute.

You can do it too: register for a local walk/run and pay their entrance fee, set-up a donation page for yourself or your team to raise funds from your network, and spread the word on social media!

Benefits to Giving Back

  • Charitable tax receipt for individuals contributing more than $20 (Note: Donations must be made out to Parachute and sent in directly to receive a charitable receipt)
  • Raising awareness in your local community about injury prevention
  • Our undying gratitude! smile

We’re always excited to hear about what you’re doing in your community to raise awareness about injury prevention and Parachute, be sure to visit our Facebook page to share your story.

If you have any questions about raising or donating funds to Parachute, please connect with Erica Hughes

Planning a “Perfectly Safe” Holiday Party

No matter what holiday your family celebrates this winter, it is important to keep injury prevention at the forefront when planning special activities.

Parachute’s Horizon is her to help. Horizon provides a host of evidence-based information you can trust, curated carefully and organized to meet your needs. The tips below can be found online at Parachute’s Horizon, along with more resources on preventing injury. Visit for information to keep you and your family injury free year round!

Being proactive can go a long way towards keeping your family and friends safe while entertaining. Here are some tips for planning your holiday party and things to consider if you live in a child-free home:

Hung by the Chimney with Care

Holiday decorations can be a beautiful addition to any home or entertaining space, but toddlers and young children are curious and active, it’s natural for them to want to explore the Christmas tree and decorations by touching, grabbing, and trying to put ornaments in their mouth!

  • Keep the tree out of reach. Consider a smaller table top tree or place a safety gate around the tree. Avoid breakable ornaments made of glass or those with small parts.
  • Keep holiday plants out of reach:  mistletoe and holly are poisonous and cause stomach upset.
  • Place candles in sturdy holders that won’t tip, and place away from curtains or tablecloths. Keep them out of reach of children, and don’t leave them unattended.
  • Install safety gates around the gas fireplace or at doorways to the room that has the fireplace. Ensure items that are hanging from the mantel are secured properly.
  • Before guests arrive, make sure to check under your furniture and between couch cushions for choking hazards, such as coins, marbles, watch batteries, buttons, or pen caps.

Visions of Sugar Plums

Entertaining with young children in the house can be fun and a little stressful! Make things easier:

  • At the start of get-togethers, talk about who is going to watch the children.  Take turns, so everyone gets time to relax. Otherwise family or friends may assume that someone else is watching the young ones.
  • Don’t put bowls of nuts and candies where young children can access them. Hard candies, nuts, popcorn, hot dogs, and raw carrots are all choking hazards for children under three. Keep these food items out of reach.
  • Keep purses and bags out of toddlers’ reach. They may hold dangerous items, such as medicines or a lighter.

You can find more holiday entertaining tips on Horizon

A Bundle of Toys

The season of giving is an exciting time for children and adults alike – keep it that way with some safe gift giving tips:

  • Size, surface and strings: The three Ss should always be considered when buying toys or products for children. Size should be large enough to prevent choking and swallowing; surfaces should be smooth, fire retardant and that stuffing cannot come out; strings should be firmly attached to the product and not be long enough to pose strangulation or choking risk.
  • Check out size: Toys can pose a hazard to children given their size – if it is small enough to fit in a child’s mouth, the child can choke on it. Check and see if toys (and their pieces) fit through a cardboard toilet paper roll- if so, it is small enough to be a choking hazard for young children.
  • Age and stage: Always follow the recommended ages on toy labels, as well as evaluating your child’s developmental stage, to ensure it is appropriate. Buying a gift for someone else’s child? Ask the parent before purchasing.
  • Batteries: If the toy requires batteries, make sure they are locked in the toy in a child proof way. Batteries are a choking hazard, but can also be swallowed as well as cause burns.
  • Magnets: Toys with magnets should be monitored to ensure they are firmly secured, as well as large enough to prevent swallowing – ingestion can cause serious injury.

Check out our tips for holiday toy safety on Horizon

To All a Good Night

Winter can be the season where busy social schedules collide with some of the worst winter driving conditions. To ensure that your family is safe on the road, follow some of these tips:

  • Plan ahead to ensure you have a safe ride home: making sure that you have a plan to travel home safely from holiday parties, ensuring that you are not intoxicated behind the wheel.
  • If you are hosting a party, check out your area’s local designated driver programs, or taxi services and have that information handy.
  • Maintain your ride: Book your vehicle maintenance and ensure that your tires are appropriate for the driving conditions. Make sure to get this done before the snow starts to fly so that you can concentrate on everything else you need to do this holiday season!
  • Know your skill level: Does the thought of driving in the winter cause you to hibernate? Familiarize yourself with the skills and tips to keep you safe on the road.

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation has a resource to prepare drivers for winter roads, you can find it on Horizon

From our Parachute family to yours, we hope that you have a wonderful, and safe, holiday season! 

Bad Driving Isn’t Cute

Let’s change the route on how teen drivers behave on the road.

Why do we need to change teen driver behaviour? The bottom line: young people represent 13% of licensed drivers, but account for 24% of road fatalities. That’s a lot of teens not reaching their destination.

Let’s disrupt teen driver stereotypes and make serious changes to driving behaviours. 

Focus on The Drive

  • Mulitasking (aka “inability to focus on the task at hand”) is a myth: we can’t text and drive at the same time. Our brains don’t work that way. Multitasking and driving don’t mix.
  • Practice doesn’t make perfect. Pledge to #PracticeSafeText 
  • Juggling your phone, breakfast and talking to passengers all at once may feel routine, but break the habit. Your only focus should be the road you’re driving on.
  • Think the benefits of texting on the road outweigh any problems? Studies report that driver distraction is a factor in 15-19% of fatal collisions involving teens. That text can wait.
  • Your attention is limited. Keep your eyes on the road. Let’s stop the clock on distracted driving.

Drive Sober

  • Drunk moose gets stuck in a tree. Don’t be a silly moose.
  • Impairment by drugs or alcohol will affect your ability to drive. You won’t be able to process information or react fast enough on the road. It’s that simple.
  • 55% of teen driver fatalities that are attributed to drinking or drug use. It’s time to stop the clock on impaired driving.
  • Designate a sober moose and get home safely.

Listen for the Click

  • Seriously, dogs wear seatbelts now. Why aren’t you wearing one?
  • If you get in a collision, wearing a seatbelt increases your chances of living to tell the “tail” by 47%, and reduces serious injury by 52%.
  • Seatbelts could have saved 300 lives last year. It could save yours too.
  • You may exist because of a seatbelt. Seatbelt laws were introduced in 1970’s and motor vehicle fatalities dramatically decreased. Many lives have been saved since.
  • Save your dog, save yourself. Wear your seatbelt.

Slow Down

  • We know not everyone is going to appreciate your best impression of a Sunday driver. Whatever…haters gonna hate.
  • Seriously though, 40% (!!!) of speeding drivers involved in fatal collisions were 16-24 years of age. That’s just bananas.
  • Speed increases your chances of being in or being seriously injured in a collision. Slow down before its too late.
  • We get it. EVERYTHING is important. Work. Friends. School. Leave early and take your time. No one is going to hate on you if it means you arrive alive.

Parachute's National Teen Driver Safety Week is a key focus of Project Gearshift, happening from October 19 – 25, 2014. #NTDSW is designed to stop the clock on unnecessary teen deaths on the road and by raising awareness and seeking solutions to this issue. 

Keeping Citizens Safe

Leaders and volunteers in Parachute Safe Communities help make life, work and play safer.

Since 1996, communities across Canada have formally been designated Safe Communities. In 2012, Safe Communities was amalgamated as a legacy organization under Parachute.

What does this mean? These communities publicly commit to creating safer communities for their local residents. Injury prevention and safety promotion become top priorities through the designation process.

Safe Communities Day

On October 1, we acknowledge the dedication and hard work of the Safe Communities, and the collaboration of local municipal, health, safety, fire and emergency officials, educators, businesses and more that create a culture of injury prevention on a local level. We applaud these communities for their commitment, particularly for their work increasing awareness of road safety.

We are encouraging Parachute Safe Communities and their supporters to participate on #SCDay by sharing local activities on social media. Follow along!

We also invite everyone to commit to #PracticeSafeText on Safe Communities Day. Take a selfie and share it online with #PracticeSafeText and #SCDay. Let’s all help stop the clock on texting while driving!

Preventing Injury Locally

Our dedicated Parachute Safe Communities volunteers are doing amazing work locally. Some highlights:

South Shore, Nova Scotia

  • South Shore runs the Seniors’ Safety Program, where a dedicated experienced person works with police on issues that affect seniors.
  • Holds local events focusing on road safety - including distracted driving - held in conjunction with the RCMP.
  • Facilitates community conflict resolution, mitigating activities that may result in violence or injury. 

Watch for updates from South Shore on Facebook

St. Thomas/Elgin County, Ontario

  • This Parachute Safe Community has recently completed their re-designation process and plans to undertake an initiative that addresses suicide and self-harm.

Follow this community on Facebook.

Humboldt and Area, Saskatchewan

  • Humboldt and Area hosts an annual Progressive Agricultural Safety Day/Safe Community Day.
  • Initiative focusing on helping newcomers to cold winter temperatures as well as adjusting to challenges of winter driving.
  • On the road: this Parachute Safe Community is working with local emergency services to help raise awareness of bike helmet safety and changes to car seat legislation.

Humboldt and Area is on Facebook

Cranbrook, British Columbia

  • Safe Community Cranbrook is currently building a suicide protocol that addresses prevention, intervention and postvention.
  • They are also involved with their Community Response Network, focusing on seniors falls and elder abuse.
  • Safe Community Cranbrook participates on several working committees on issues of school zones and traffic circles.

Watch for updates from Cranbrook on Facebook

Interested in becoming a Parachute Safe Community?

Read the guidelines and find out about the priority setting exercise, where communities determine the focus of their targeted efforts and needs of their region. Email to find out more.

Have a great Safe Communities Day!

Gearing Up on the Ground

How a Project Gearshift Ambassador is mobilizing his community & how you can do it too!

With a Full Class 5 license, you know that 19 year-old Project Gearshift Ambassador Nolan takes driving seriously. He also recognizes that distracted and drunk driving are real issues in his urban community in Saskatchewan. Through Project Gearshift and National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW) he can pair his passion with action.

Nolan is amplifying the message around teen driver safety by initiating a number of activities in his community:

  • Connecting with high school administrators to ensure a spot in their morning announcements during NTDSW
  • Connecting with organizers of the local SADD conference and volunteering to run a booth to speak on Parachute’s Project Gearshift
  • Working with the province of Saskatchewan to increase the awareness of National Teen Driver Safety Week
  • … and we’re still weeks away from NTDSW! 

How you can drive change in your community too!

It’s easy to get involved in this national movement. Parachute welcomes students, young people, public health/emergency service providers, teachers and community leaders to play a role in spreading awareness about the issues facing teens on the road.

Become a Project Gearshift Ambassador

Ambassadors will be provided with a toolkit that includes information and resources (e.g. event ideas, social media guide, posters) to make your National Teen Driver Safety Week event a success. for more information.

Spread the Word on Social Media

  • Harness the power of selfies to raise awareness about texting and driving. Use our #PracticeSafeText pledge to commit to your friends, family, community members and local celebrities to drive safely. In one frame you can make a difference!
  • Join our Thunderclap for NTDSW – a crowdspeaking platform that will let us all be heard together in a unified way. Do this right now! It will only take a minute of your time.
  • Use your smartphone to capture and share why National Teen Driver Safety Week matters to you.
  • Don’t know what to post? Use our social media guide for inspiration! 

Execute some “Guerilla Marketing” Tactics

  • Reserve parking spots for “Text-Free Drivers” at your local mall or high school using sidewalk chalk.
  • Install an art piece that helps people understand the number of teen lives lost in your community due to driving incidents.
  • Remind drivers where an incident has occurred by setting up a sign or display at a popular intersection.
  • Learn how to plan and implement these and other activities here.
  • Post important messages at your library, community or school bulletin boards: Poster 1, Poster 2, Poster 3, Poster 4

Connect with Your Community

  • Let your local radio station know about NTDSW by sending them an email with links to Project Gearshift and Parachute.
  • Get in touch with local school administrators like Nolan did.

Share, Share, Share

Let Parachute know what you’re doing: an event, a grassroots activity – whatever!

Driving Change in Canada

Nolan sees that he is making a difference in his community by being a role model of safe driving behaviours. As he puts it, “Driving change means continuing to do the right things and challenging ourselves to change things that are wrong…I cannot tell my friends to not text while driving if I am doing it. Driving change is giving people the information they need to take ownership and make smarter decisions about their own risk taking behaviours for everyone's safety.”

Let’s all help Nolan raise awareness about the importance of empowering teens to make good choices when they get behind the wheel. Join us by supporting NTDSW and donating to this important cause!

Driving Change in Their Communities

Meet two of Parachute’s volunteer Ambassadors for Project Gearshift

Kyle, 18, and Caitlin, 24, have different reasons for deciding to volunteer for Project Gearshift, a national awareness campaign focused on teen driver safety in Canada, but both agree that the campaign will impact and educate youth on preventing injuries behind the wheel.

Ambassadors like Kyle and Caitlin have committed to working with individuals and organizations in their communities to raise awareness around the issue of teen driver safety, which will lead up to a local event during National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW) from October 19-25.

Why Project Gearshift?

Kyle is from rural Alberta and recognizes that the attitude towards drinking and driving in his community is getting better, but still has a long way to go. Project Gearshift provides Kyle a platform to educate his community and hopefully eliminate drinking and driving as a problem. He also has aspirations to eliminate teen drinking and driving across the country by joining the national movement.

Catlin is focused on the issue of distracted driving in her urban Ontario community. Caitlin knows it will be a difficult fight with such accessible technology and the fact that teens need to be connected every moment. She hopes that through Project Gearshift she will help make teens aware of the life-changing things that can happen to them when they drive distracted, and they are not – in fact – invincible.

Join Kyle & Caitlin!

Parachute welcomes anyone who wants to play a leadership role in planning an awareness event for National Teen Driver Safety Week: students, public health/emergency services providers, parents, teachers and community leaders.

Project Gearshift Ambassadors will be provided with a toolkit that includes information and resources (e.g. event ideas, social media guide, posters) to make your National Teen Driver Safety Week event a success.

Sounds easy right? So why not join us!

Email for more information.

Driving into the future…

We asked Kyle and Caitlin to fill in the blank: “Driving Change in Canada means ________.”

Kyle:  “That we achieve our goal of having an officially recognized and supported National Teen Driver Safety Week. As well as hopefully spreading our message from one end of the country to the other, while at the same time eliminating drinking and driving from all communities.”

Caitlin: “Educating the public on a daily basis and helping drivers to make informed, smart decisions when behind the wheel, while helping them to realize that there is a consequence for every action. Actions like not wearing a seatbelt, or driving distracted, or under the influence are not worth losing your life or taking someone else's away from them. It is my hope that the more education there is around this issue, the better the outcome will be in the long run.”

What does driving change in Canada mean to you? Leave your comment on our Facebook page.

Read more about Kyle and Caitlin’s tips for safe driving, best road trip memories and how they will make a difference in their communities.

Baby’s First Ride

Buying a Car Seat

We interviewed some first-time parents and asked what they looked for when they purchased their car seats. There were some key features that they shared in their preferred car seat:

  • Lightweight
  • Allowed for multiple baby stages
  • Worked with other products (ie. Stroller)
  • Brand familiarity
  • Easy to move from vehicle to vehicle

There are many other features to consider, Chevrolet and Parachute have provided a how-to video guide on what you should know before buying a car seat or booster seat:

Buying the car seat wasn’t necessarily the hardest part of this important task; our families share their experiences below.

Lauren, Keenan and baby Ian

When Lauren and Keenan went to buy their first car seat last year, they weren’t overwhelmed or intimidated by the buying process, but by ensuring that it was installed correctly for baby Ian. 

The store where they purchased the infant seat recommended hiring an installer, which they did. While he got the job done, unfortunately he wasn’t very helpful in answering any of their (numerous first-time parent) questions.

Baby Ian is turning one, Lauren and Keenan are starting to think about his next car seat stage and what they will need to know when he outgrows the limits on his rear-facing seat:

Lisa, Shawn and baby Alicia

Fellow first-time parents Lisa and Shawn were expecting baby Alicia’s arrival last February. They were overwhelmed by the different brands of car seats and unsure which was going to suit their needs. Online reviews helped them narrow down their choices and select their preferred car seat.

Shawn meticulously followed the manufacturer’s guidelines as well as having the installation reviewed by a fellow dad of three kids. A few adjustments were made to make sure the UAS (Universal Anchorage System) was secured to the proper anchors in their vehicle.

Parents installing their first car seats can watch this guide to installing a rear-facing car seat for installation tips:

Candace, Fran and baby-to-be

First-time parents to-be (due this week!) Candace and Fran didn’t find purchasing a car seat difficult; they read online reviews for seats that met their needs. What they did find overwhelming was trying to find a program close to their home at a convenient time that would ensure that they installed the seat correctly.  A friend recommended the Chevrolet Safe & Sure Car Seat Installation Workshops.

They were surprised by the adjustments made after their own first attempt:

  • They had used both the UAS and the seatbelt to install the car seat. You must use only one or the other, but never use them together.

  • The UAS straps needed to be quite tight. Daddy-to-be Fran’s first try had the seat rocking back and forth, now it doesn’t budge.

  • They were shown the angle-indicator (looks like a level) on their seat and how to adjust their base to get the proper angle for their infant seat.

After the workshop Mommy-to-be Candace shared that she was pleased with all the helpful tips and peace of mind knowing that their car seat will be properly installed when bringing their baby girl home.

Making Baby Safe & Sure

There are so many reasons to ensure your baby or booster seat is installed correctly. Misuse rates range from 44 per cent to 81 per cent for car seats and 30 per cent to 50 per cent for booster seats.  But a properly used child seat or child restraint system (CRS) reduces the risk of fatal injury by 71 per cent and risk of serious injury by 67 per cent.

For these very reasons, and even if you think you don’t need a referesher, Parachute recommends that parents and other caregivers who travel with young children take a half hour of their time to attend a free workshop.

What you’ll learn:

  • hands-on instruction on how to properly install a car seat in your vehicle
  • how to properly secure you child in their car seat
  • safety tips when driving your child in your car

Learn more about the Chevrolet Safe & Sure Car Seat Installation Workshop:

Sign-up today at

Did you know?

  • Car seats have an expiry date. If it is not listed on the label or the car seat itself, you can call your manufacturer directly to get the expiry date for your model.
  • Do not use a seat that has been in a crash even if there is no visible damage. Know the history of your car seat because a crash can compromise the integrity of the seat in ways that are not visible.
  • Children should not be rushed out of a booster seat as the booster seat works to position the adult seat-belt over the strong bones of the body. Check your provincial laws regarding when it is time to move your child out of a booster seat.

Learn more about installing a booster seat in the how-to video guide:

Taking Baby Home

A special moment in your family’s life – Baby’s First Ride.

Lauren kept baby Ian company in the back seat, Shawn avoided potholes so not to wake up baby Alicia and Fran and Candace plan on getting baby home safely (if she ever comes!)

Share your baby’s first ride stories on our Facebook page.

Safe Swimming. Safe Splashing. Safe Kids.

Keeping Kids Safe at Your Summer Pool Party

Organizing a birthday party can already be stressful for parents, and adding a pool to the mix brings party planning to a whole new level. I should know.

As a PANK (Professional Aunt, No Kids), I always give my sister a helping hand in planning my niece’s birthday parties. This year we are having a Frozen themed pool party for a 4-year-old fan(atic) of ‘Let it Go’ at family member’s backyard pool.

Last year’s Toy Story Birthday Party was a big hit that included a water balloon fight & a slip & slide.
Last year’s Toy Story Birthday Party was a big hit that included a water balloon fight & a slip & slide.

Sure, the lack of Frozen themed party supplies available is causing some anxiety – but there are many important things to think about when it comes to keeping kids safe in and around the pool.

Here are a few tips to have a safe and successful backyard pool party:

Assign Adults to Supervise

Stay within sight and arm’s reach when children are in or near the pool, especially children under 5 years of age.

Designate one adult to stay in the water and one on the deck during the party to keep an eye out for problems. If there are different adults assigned throughout the party, get them to hold on to a toy or “Watch Stick” so that they are reminded of their charges, whoever takes over supervision duty holds on to this item.

Remember, most drownings are silent and can occur in just a few seconds, in as little as 2.5 cm of water.

Technology off the Deck

For adults supervising there should be no distractions on the pool deck. Ban cell phones, tablets and laptops anywhere around the pool area. Tell them to enjoy the sunshine!

Set House Rules

Have a quick chat with kids before they get in the water and keep the rules simple and cheerful:

House Rules 
1. No running on the deck
2. No pushing or rough play
3. Diving in the deep end only (make sure it’s clearly marked and encourage “shallow diving techniques”)
4. Always swim with a buddy
5. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for a life jacket

Have Life Jackets Available

Kids overestimate their skills or underestimate the depth of the water, but can be embarrassed to ask for or wear a life jacket. Give them permission: let them know it’s okay to ask for or wear one.

Ask parents of guests to RSVP and let you know if their child is a weak swimmer so you can prepare in advance.

Have a number of life jackets available in different sizes by asking friends and family to lend you them for the party. You can also ask parents of guests, especially those under the age of 5 and weak swimmers, if they have their own life jackets they can bring.

Find a Fenced Pool

While it may not always be possible, try to find a pool that has a four-sided fence for your party.

Before the party check that the gate is working properly – it should be self-closing and self-latching. Fix any issues with the gate or fence in advance.

If the pool is not completely fenced and the kids are out of the water doing other activities, assign a “pool guard” to deter kids from wandering back in.

Be Prepared

Find out which adults attending the party know first aid or CPR, and determine who is a really good swimmer in advance and assign those individuals to supervision duty.

You can also ask your local community pool if you can hire a lifeguard for a few hours, should you be concerned no adult guests attending have the right skills.

If there’s time, get trained in first aid or CPR yourself – water safety training could save a life.

Have an emergency phone nearby and emergency numbers listed.

Ensure the right tools are handy: first aid kit and rescue equipment (ring buoy and rope, pole or hook).

Don’t forget…

- Ensure drain covers are installed correctly and that all pool chemicals are locked up and out of sight.
- Make sure to clear the pool area of any slipping or tripping hazards before the party.
- Trampolines and other creatively made slides/apparatus are not proper pool toys and could cause injury.
- Stay hydrated and make sure everyone is re-applying sunscreen during the party.
- If thunder roars, it’s time to get out of the pool!

We’re excited for Isabella’s birthday party and want to make sure everyone has fun & stays safe by implementing these tips. Let us know how you keep your kids safe in and around the pool on our Facebook page

Learn more about #SafeKidsWeek and how you can join the movement from June 7-14. 

Posted by Parachute’s Digital and Social Media Specialist, Wendy Jacinto.


Stop The Clock on Distracted Driving

On June 2 Laureen Harper, The. Hon. Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, Parachute's President & CEO Louise Logan, and our special guest Kathryn Field of the Josh Field Support Network launched our year of #StopTheClock. 500 teens at Ottawa's Nepean High School were part of launching the campaign to #PracticeSafeText – all working together to put an end to distracted driving.

Below is a diary of our event yesterday – thanks to all who participated in person and online. Let’s keep the momentum going!

Nepean High School’s Chamber Choir helps kick off our event with a beautiful rendition of ‘O Canada’

Louise Logan, Clara Lockhart and Principal Patrick McCarthy welcome students and special guests to the assembly.  

Louise Logan invites Canadians to join Parachute in our year of #StopTheClock for injury prevention and to share our video.



As a mother of 2 teens, Laureen Harper speaks about how distracted driving can be devastating to families and introduces the Josh Field Support Network video and Kathryn Field. 



Kathryn describes how it took no more than a second for Josh to pull out a cellphone and how that one moment ultimately ended in tragedy. She is sure that if he’d had more knowledge about the result of answering, maybe he would still be here with us today. Kathryn speaks with raw emotion, urging students that she doesn’t want their parents to receive the same phone call she did 5 years ago.

Students react to Kathryn Field and Josh’s story.

The Hon. Lisa Raitt speaks passionately, advising students to resist the urge to grab your phone when driving.

The Hon. Lisa Raitt welcomes students and special guests to take a ‘selfie’ to kick-off #PracticeSafeText – a social campaign discouraging texting and driving.

Laureen Harper, Louise Logan, Kathryn Field and The Hon. Lisa Raitt wrapping up at our launch.

If you want to help spread the word on #PracticeSafeText & #StopTheClock you can download these signs to take your own selfie! Post and tweet them using the hashtags.


Our supporters and friends helped spread the word online about stopping the clock on distracted driving:

Thanks again to guests Laureen Harper, The Hon. Minister Raitt and Kathryn Field for joining us at our launch, and of course a special thanks to Nepean High School and its students for hosting us!

Don’t forget to #PracticeSafeText and #StopTheClock on distracted driving.

A Legacy Continues…

A little over a year ago Parachute was given the opportunity to administer the Stacey Levitt Memorial AwardStacey was only 18 when she was struck and killed by a car while jogging in Toronto.

Stacey’s wide variety of interests and active lifestyle influenced the conception of this award, which recognizes a Canadian student that embodies Stacey’s qualities and ideals, while maintaining an approach that is rooted in risk management and injury prevention.

We are pleased to announce that Melissa Tigert, a student from Northern Secondary School in Toronto, Stacey’s very own alma matter, has been selected as our first recipient. Melissa will be awarded with $2,500 in funding that can be put towards her education, sports endeavours or travel.


Melissa is an exceptional student involved with both extra-curricular and volunteer work in health promotion, including volunteering for Sunnybrook Hospital and Northern’s SMARTRISK group, a group that dedicates time and effort into learning and educating others about teen injury prevention.

Melissa was selected as one of six Canadian Youth Ambassadors in 2013 to advocate for a federally endorsed National Teen Driver Safety Week with Parachute and the Project Gearshift campaign. Her accomplishments are too many to list here!

Teens (and adults) could learn a lot from this smart and accomplished young woman!

This week we had the opportunity to sit down with Melissa and get to know her better.

Melissa is ecstatic that she was selected for the award and excited that she emulated so many of Stacey’s qualities, especially given the connection to Northern Secondary School.

Melissa was a competitive swimmer until recently with the North York Aquatic Club and as she puts it “tucking into a flip turn and pushing off any pool wall, feels as natural to me as breathing every other stroke.” She speaks about how being a part of a swim team allowed her the opportunity to be social, de-stress and live life to its fullest.

Volunteering is very important to her and she is drawn to helping people. Having held numerous volunteer positions, she emphasizes that it is not the size of the role or the topic, but the direct difference she is making. She uses the example:

“Even if you make one person hesitate before they jaywalk, you could potentially be saving someone’s life.”

She recommends to other teens interested in volunteering to find something that they are passionate about and to not be concerned about what cause their friends are volunteering for. She also encourages teen volunteers to step out of their comfort zone.

"Teen injury prevention is a cause that I am passionate about."

Why teen safety? Melissa says, “By spreading the message that reckless actions can have foreseeable and preventative consequences, I am happy to make teens and even adults in my community think twice about risky decisions that could permanently change their lives.” She adds that while teens may feel invincible, being seriously injured when putting themselves in risky situations is not something they can control. “Being able to speak out about these issues can potentially save lives.”

The Stacey Levitt Memorial Award focuses on road safety and Melissa thinks creating a dialogue with all road users can make a difference, bringing awareness among all the various groups including cyclists, drivers, pedestrians and others. She suggests safe roads can be accomplished through educating those groups about the responsibilities to themselves and others while on the road.

“My personal motivation for continuing to advocate for adolescent safety, is knowing that my community and peers hear these life-saving messages.”

Melissa speaks about how difficult it is for teens to change their habits, but sees a difference when students are made aware of risky behaviours through grassroots campaigns at the school level.

What’s next for this clever woman? She is planning to pursue a Bachelor of Sciences, and a career in clinical psychology or psychiatry.

The Stacey Levitt Memorial Award was presented to Melissa on April 30, 2014 at Northern Secondary School with Ned Levitt, her friends and family in attendance. 

Ned Levitt with Melissa Tigert at the April 30th ceremony. 

Learn more about Stacey’s story and the Memorial Award

*A version of the award had previously been managed by Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS). 






Messy hair? Safe brain!

Helmets can’t protect you from all cycling related injuries, but they can make a significant impact – cutting the risk of serious head injury by up to 85%! Along with our partner Canadian Tire, Parachute wants to make sure you have all the information to get your family ready for spring and summer biking.

Canadian Tire and Parachute have teamed up for a weekend focus (April 19-20, 2014) on bike safety with resources and events available at select stores. 

Contain Your Brain with Safe Helmets

  • Age: Helmets have expiry dates because the material components deteriorate over time and safety requirements change. If your helmet is older than 5 years it should be replaced. Expiry dates are listed on the inside or outside of helmets depending on the brand. 
  • Safety standards: If you want to make sure your helmet meets safety requirements, you can check Health Canada’s recall and safety alerts
  • History: If the helmet has been in a crash replace it right away. Buy new, not used – Health Canada recommends to not purchase used bike helmets because you don’t know its crash history. Helmets should also not be borrowed from friends. 

  • Visual inspection: Replace your helmet if there are visible cracks anywhere on it.
  • Care: Keep your helmet in a cool, dry area. Wash with dish soap and water if it gets messy.  Caring for your helmet means caring for your head! 
  • Wear it right: Make sure helmets fit right by following the 2V1 rule every time – two finger spaces above the eyebrow, a V-shape around the ear and one finger space between the chin strap and bottom of the chin. Download this handy bookmark to print and keep on your fridge or in your garage.
  • Check out our Helmet FAQ for all types of activities.
  • Can-Bike Manitoba recently launched a Helmet 101 video with safety and care tips.

Avoid Injuries by Using Bike Gear

  • Reflectors: Longer days mean more sunshine and cyclists out later in the evening. Make sure that bikes are decked out with reflectors.
  • Pads: Crashes and tumbles can be softened by the use of knee, shin, wrist and elbow pads. More or less padding is encouraged, depending on the type of cycling you are doing. New technology means pads are much more flexible and lightweight products, making them easier to use and wear.

Road Rules to Stay Safe

  • Signals: Learn cycling signals and teach your kids what they mean. Ontario Ministry of Transportation provides a great guide, which includes other safe cycling tips. 
  • Crossing: Get into the habit and dismount your bike when crossing an intersection.
  • Riding on the road: Kids under 10 should not ride on the road where possible, and kids above 10 need to practice with an adult before they go out on their own.

Parachute has videos on cycling safety available in English, French, Chinese and Punjabi – so share them with your community! 

Keep your brain safe & wear that helmet hair with pride!

Spring Out of Hibernation

The calendar has turned the page on winter and signs of spring are starting to appear.  As Canadians start to emerge from winter, the prospect of warmer weather for new outdoor activities is on the horizon.  Here are some tips to keep your spring safe and help you enjoy a long life lived to the fullest:

Home Safety

  • Spring cleaning is an annual tradition but household cleaners are often toxic.  Make sure that when they are not in use, cleaning products are out of sight and locked up tight!
  • Garage sale season will be starting again!  Everyone having a garage sale is legally responsible for ensuring items sold are safe and meet safety standards.  Check out these facts for garage sale vendors.

Drowning Prevention

  • With snow melting and new precipitation falling as rain, water levels will rise and creeks and streams will be fast-flowing at times.  And every parent knows that water is like a magnet for kids.  Supervise children carefully when around water and advise them to stay well clear of banks that could be slippery with underlying ice or mud.  Children should never go near water when they are alone.

Sports SafetySkateboarder silhouette

  • When you get your sports equipment out from winter storage, make sure it is in good shape before heading off on your first adventure.  Bikes, skateboards, roller or in-line skates and scooters all need to be inspected.  Are tires properly inflated and/or in good condition?  If applicable, are brakes working properly? Are moving parts properly lubricated? A professional tune-up might be a good thing.
  • How about your helmet?  Did you know that bike helmets expire?  How old is yours?  Does your child’s helmet still fit properly?  Follow the 2-v-1 rule to make sure your bike helmet can do its job if needed.
  • Do you have the right helmet for the right activity?  Different helmets are designed to protect different parts of the head for different types of falls.  Make sure you have the right one for the activity you choose.Boy standing at the playground
  • Have your thoughts turned to that first round of golf?  Make sure you warm up well and stretch so the first round doesn’t become your last for a while.

Playground Safety

  • Heading to the playground?  Teach your child about playground safety like staying away from the bottom of slides and moving swings.  And make sure that scarfs or drawstrings that might strangle your child are removed.  Find out more playground safety tips.

Make sure spring is just the start of many months of happy, outdoor adventures!

Chevrolet Safe and Sure Child Car Seat Installation Workshop Program Launches

Parachute has partnered up with Chevrolet to bring you a new program focused on child passenger safety.Safe & Sure

The Chevrolet Safe and Sure workshops are designed to provide expectant parents, parents, grandparents, and other caregivers with hands-on instruction on how to properly select, install and use their child car seat with confidence.  The no-charge workshop will be held at Chevrolet dealerships in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal, and consists of a half-hour time slot where you work one-on-one with a certified car seat technician to install your seat in your vehicle. Workshops are open to the public and all vehicle makes are welcome. All you have to do is register in advance to reserve your spot.

Why is selection of the right car seat and proper installation and use of that seat so important?  Simply put, this essential for the car seat to do its job in the event of a collision. And car seats work.  They are a very effective way to prevent injury in the event of a motor vehicle collision.  According to a report from the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS, 2008), child seats, when used correctly, reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71% and the risk of serious injury by 67%. Using a booster seat instead of just a seat belt alone is a reduction of 59% injury risk.  But, the CPS also discovered that, despite the very best of intentions, misuse rates range from 44 per cent to 81 per cent for car seats and 30 percent to 50 percent for booster seats.

Here are few other quick facts that might surprise you:

  • car seats have an expiry date.  If it is not listed on the label or the car seat itself, you can call your manufacturer directly to get the expiry date for your model;
  • do not use a seat that has been in a crash even if there is no visible damage.  Know the history of your car seat because a crash can compromise the integrity of the seat in ways that are not visible;
  • children should not be rushed out of a booster seat as the booster seat works to position the adult seat-belt over the strong bones of the body.  Check your provincial laws regarding when it is time to move your child out of a booster seat. Even if your child reaches the minimum requirement to move out of a booster seat, we recommend that the child stay in a booster seat until they are 145cm tall to ensure that the belt fits them properly. 

For more information and to enroll in a workshop, visit

Watch your step on the ice and snow

Seniors FallsIt’s important to be physically active year round but winter’s snow and ice can pose extra challenges for those who wish to enjoy the outdoors. This is especially the case for older adults.

Seniors may already have risk factors for falling, including muscle weakness, impairments in gait, balance or vision and the use of assistive walking devices. According to a Canadian Institute for Health Information report, for all winter-related causes of serious injuries (excluding motor vehicle collisions), falls on ice were by far the most common cause: they led to 7,138 hospital admissions in 2010–2011, more than for all winter sports and recreational activities combined. About half of these cases occurred in people age 60 and older and about 70% were among those 50 and older. More than half (56%) of those hospitalized for falls on ice were women.

The consequences of falling for an older adult can be devastating as it can lead to death, severe or long term injury and/or placement into a long term care facility.

Here are ways to reduce the risk of falls in the environment:

  • Keep entranceways and sidewalks clear of ice and snow.
  • Ensure handrails are available.
  • Use an ice melter regularly on icy areas.
  • Carry a small amount of sand or kitty litter while on walks to use on icy areas, when needed.

When venturing outside in the winter season:

  • Wear lightweight boots with a thick, non-slip tread sole and a wide, low heel.
  • If you use a cane or walker, ensure they are properly fitted with an ice pick attached to the end to help with balance. (Be sure to flip the pick back when indoors or on hard, iceless surfaces, as the pick can slip, increasing the risk of falling.)
  • Older adults should consider wearing hip protectors to protect from fractures.
  • If ice is present on the sidewalk, for example, slow down, keep body loose, bend knees and spread feet out to ensure a wide base. Walk slowly by placing your whole foot on the ice surface at once.

For more information on fall prevention, visit the Public Health Agency of Canada

Start the New Year with a new commitment to injury prevention

Happy New Year!  And what could be happier than being safe and healthy and keeping your loved ones safe and healthy as well?  Too often, we take our health and safety for granted but few things can take the ‘happy’ out of ‘new year’ as quickly as a preventable injury.

Annually, preventable injury costs the Canadian health care system $20 billion and it is the number one cause of death for children.  In fact, if you are between the ages of 1 and 44, you are more likely to die of a preventable injury than any other cause. 

Confetti and balloons

The great news is that there are things that you can do to keep this new year happy and healthy.  Why not start with a resolution to be aware of injury prevention in your daily life and the lives of those you love.  Simple acts make a difference and most of them are things that are right in front of us – buckle up, look first, wear the gear, get trained, drive sober and stay focused.  The challenge is that we need to do these ‘little things’ all the time and never assume that ‘it won’t happen to us’.

For the parents among us, research shows that your teenagers are watching you and care about what you do.  Whether you believe it or not, you are a huge influence on the choices they make and your actions in keeping yourself safe will have an impact on their decisions.

Also, investing in injury prevention saves dollars and saves lives.  As just one example, every $1 spent on booster seats saves society $71.  So please consider donating to Parachute so we can work to keep the new year safe and happy for more Canadians.

From the Parachute family to you and your family, wishing you a safe and happy 2014!