Winter 2013 - 2014 
In This Issue
Holiday safety
Kenzie Car Calendar
Concussion awareness
Active at School
Battle of the Blades
Volunteers for car seat clinics
Favourite Crossing Guards
Project Gearshift
Pace Car grants
Carbon monoxide law
Raising Saskatchewan video
National youth injury report
Stacey Levitt award
Be Safe! Red Cross kit
Injury prevention leaders honoured
Parachute strategic plan

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Message from the President

Help us grow the movement to prevent injury

As 2013 winds down, the holiday season gives us all a chance to look back and to gain perspective on the road ahead. From our vantage point at Parachute, we see a new opportunity, a chance to nurture and grow a movement to prevent injury.


Next year, we want to start to speak more directly to Canadians about this movement. We will be growing our social media presence and our ability to reach people where they live, work and play. To do this, we will need your help.


Early in the new year, we will be reaching out to you to find out what is going on in your community, to help us spread the word, and get more people in the injury prevention game. We will also be inviting and collecting your injury prevention stories, and profiling them on our Facebook page and through our Twitter feed.


Our success, working together, will mean more happy holiday seasons for more Canadian families. And isn't that the best gift of all?


Have a safe and Happy New Year. 


Louise Logan, BA JD 

President & CEO  

Keeping your festive season fun
Children visiting? Time to think holiday safety 
Don't let your holidays be interrupted by an unexpected trip to the local emergency room. Parents of young children may be used to child-proofing their homes but if you haven't hosted little ones in a while, you may want a refresher before you have babies or young children underfoot again. Read on for a few tips from Parachute's website to get you started.
  • At the start of get-togethers, agree on who is going to watch the kids and for how long. Otherwise, family and friends may believe someone is watching the young ones, when no one is doing so.
  • Toddlers are curious and active so it's natural for them to want to explore a decorated tree and its ornaments. It's safest to have your tree out of reach (e.g., a tabletop tree) or in a room with a safety gate so the child can see but not touch it. Even for preschool children, it's best to have soft, unbreakable decorations, such as those made of felt.
  • Candles are one of the most common causes of household fires. If you must use candles, place them in sturdy holders that won't tip, away from flammable materials and well out of the reach of children. Always extinguish candles before leaving the room.
  • Keep purses and bags away from toddlers reach as they may hold dangerous items, such as medicines or a lighter.
  • Gas fireplaces can burn little hands when the glass barrier is touched. Safety gates can keep your child at a safe distance. Consider not using the fireplace when young children are around.
For more on holiday safety, visit the Parachute website.

Kenzie Car Calendar benefits Parachute
For all the automotive buffs on your holiday shopping list, we invite you to consider the 2014 Kenzie Car Calendar, in which half the proceeds are donated to Parachute.


Jim Kenzie, chief automotive reviewer for The Toronto Star's Wheels section, is also a licensed professional-grade racing driver who travels the world to test and review cars. Each year he produces a calendar of his best photographs of high-end cars shot in exotic locales. Each month of the calendar also contains a safety tip from Parachute.


Each calendar retails for $14.95, including shipping and Mr. Kenzie will autograph the first 500 sold. Visit his website to order yours. 

Focus: Sports and Recreation
Charles Tator, Cassie Campbell raise concussion awareness
Parachute board member and concussion expert Dr. Charles Tator teamed up with former champion hockey player and TV commentator Cassie Campbell-Pascall, on a media tour of several Canadian cities last month. They talked about concussion, keeping kids safe on the ice and they stressed the importance of wearing a good, properly fitted helmet, as part of Chevrolet's Safe and Fun Hockey Program.


The program offers free hockey helmets to all five-year-old children entering hockey. Dr. Tator and Ms. Campbell-Pascall also emphasized the importance of respect and responsibility on the ice. Find out more about the program at the Safe and Fun Hockey website.


Finally, to learn more about concussion prevention and management, consider signing up for Parachute's short, online concussion courses, designed for students, parents and educators. Visit Parachute's website for information.

Active at School initiative launched by Canadian Tire, partners
More than 60 of Canada's most influential sport, wellness and health organizations, including Parachute, are part of a new initiative pledging to support governments to get Canada's kids active at school for an hour a day. The shared goal of Active at School is to ensure that Canadian children receive one hour of quality physical activity and education before, during or after school every single day.


The group will meet with governments in the next months to offer access to their networks, resources, investments and marketing efforts to reverse growing physical inactivity among millions of Canadian children and youth. Partners in the movement to get kids active for an hour at school each day include everyone from Canadian Tire Corporation, several amateur and professional sports leagues and teams, to YMCA Canada, the Canadian Medical Association and The Sandbox Project.


Research shows that increasing levels of physical activity among young people improves health, increases confidence and self-esteem and improves concentration and academic performance. Parachute sees great value in physical activity for children though emphasizes that sport and recreation is also a major source of injury for youth so it's important to learn to participate safely. More information on the initiative is available at the website

Parachute congratulates Battle of the Blades skaters
Parachute staff were proud to support former National Hockey League, two-time Stanley Cup winner Grant Marshall, and partner, ice dance champion Sinead Kerr, as they competed on this year's edition of CBC TV's popular Battle of the Blades show. Each skater chooses a charity to support and each pair is awarded at least $25,000 to allocate to their favourite causes.


Grant suffered what could have been a career-ending injury at age 17 when he was hit from behind during a hockey game and temporarily paralyzed. Fortunately, his surgeon Dr. Charles Tator, founder of ThinkFirst Canada, now part of Parachute, was able to repair Grant's injury to such an extent that he went on to play in the NHL. As a way to help prevent injury to others, Grant put his newly honed figure skating skills to work supporting Parachute, which gratefully receives $12,500 for his efforts. The team, playfully nicknamed "Grinead" made it successfully through the first four rounds of competition before finally being eliminated.


Various Parachute staff were able to attend the live tapings of the show and cheer the couple on as they skated through their challenging, creative routines. Off the ice, Grant and Dr. Tator reconnected at a Brain Day school event, along with partner Sinead. It was an exciting ride for all of us and Parachute is very grateful for the attention Grant drew to the cause of injury prevention. 

Focus: Road Safety
Volunteers wanted for new car seat clinic program
If you have an interest in child safety, Parachute would love your help in a new car seat clinic program we are launching with GM Canada. Both car seat technicians and volunteers (who need not be car seat experts) are wanted for our many events taking place in 2014 in the cities of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver and the regions surrounding them.


Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of child injury deaths. One of the best ways to protect babies and children from serious injury and death is to ensure they are safely buckled into properly installed car or booster seats every time they travel. But doing so isn't as easy as you might think: surveys consistently show that parents make one or more errors both in installing car seats and in buckling their children into them properly, leaving them much less safe than they could be.


These car seat clinics will allow parents and guardians to participate in the proper installation of a car or booster seat, one-on-one with a trained car seat technician or educator. The clinics will be as hands-on and educational as possible for the parent or caregiver, so they leave feeling secure and confident with their car seat install.


Parachute seeks both car seat technicians and volunteers for our Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver area events in 2014.A Parachute lead will run the clinics and coordinate technicians and volunteers to support the event. Car seat clinic volunteers will receive a small honorarium in the form of a gift card, and coffee, snacks and/or lunch will be included at the event. We can also assist with travel costs where needed.


Volunteer roles involve greeting parents/caregivers, assisting with the installation, helping with paperwork, and talking to them about key messages for car safety and childhood injury-prevention. Contact us if you are interested in becoming a certified car seat technician, as Parachute will host training sessions for interested volunteers in 2014 in the three regions. 


For more information or to volunteer, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), Program Associate.

Four crossing guards named Canada's favourites
For the first time, Canada's Favourite Crossing Guard Contest run by Parachute and FedEx, has named four winners as the judges were unable to narrow them to three. This year's judging panel included pedestrian injury prevention experts, FedEx representatives, and media celebrities, Jim Kenzie, chief auto reviewer for the Toronto Star's Wheels section, and Avis Favaro, medical correspondent, CTV National News.


Congratulations to George Drad of Winnipeg, Jack Apacible of Toronto, Leonard Gordon Sr. of Whitehorse and Wilf Hunt of St. John's. Crossing guards play an important role in pedestrian safety by helping children make the safe journey to-and-from school. Students, teachers and parents from across the country were invited to nominate their favourite crossing guard and to explain what made them stand out.


The winning crossing guards will receive $500 and an engraved plaque, and the contest winner's school will receive $500.  Also new this year, we will be conducting an environmental scan and literature review on the effectiveness of crossing guards. Findings will be available next year.

Momentum grows for National Teen Driver Safety Week

Parachute's teen driver safety campaign that launched this year, Project Gearshift, has wrapped up a successful fall while creating a groundswell of support for a National Teen Driver Safety Week for the third week in October each year. Supported by State Farm, the campaign's goal is to increase awareness and inspire change around the issue of teen driver safety across Canada.


Parachute applauds the 10 Canadian communities that also proclaimed the third week in October as their own Teen Driver Safety Weeks. Momentum and support continued to grow in Ottawa, where Parachute hosted an Ottawa Youth Symposium on teen driver safety. This event, which hosted over 100 youth and industry leaders, promoted the importance of taking local action around relevant road safety issues. The symposium included a keynote address from the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transportation, as well as case studies from our Project Gearshift youth ambassadors. There was a definite call for a federally recognized National Teen Driver Safety Week at the symposium and among members of our Project Gearshift Task Force, a group of road safety professionals, who amplified it through social media.


Find Project Gearshift's teen driver safety tools online. Thank you to State Farm, as well as all of our participants, for your support! 

Pace Car project introduces evaluation


Parachute was pleased to award $1,500 to 10 Pace Car Communities this year, including two to designated Safe Communities and one to a public health unit in the Yukon which services mainly First Nations. This year's grants were to help execute a Pace Car launch event, organize International Walk to School Week activities, promote the program, develop resources and conduct an evaluation of the Pace Program in communities from September 2013 to April 2014.


The Pace Car program is a locally delivered, nationwide program that focuses on raising awareness around speed reductions in the community, especially in school zones and pedestrian-dense areas. Grant communities received a Pace Car Community Toolkit, including the Parachute Pace Car Community Guide (with information around volunteer and stakeholder recruitment, event planning, media and public relations, and evaluation), promotions and media support documents, and the "Walkabout" Guide. New this year as part of the Pace Car grant requirements, communities are asked to participate in the formal Pace Car evaluation process for 2013-2014.  This involves collecting both pre-program and post-program data to measure the impact of the program on driver speed, number of vehicle incidents, etc.  Stay tuned for more updates and for more on the program, visit the Parachute website.


Public Policy News
Ontario passes new carbon monoxide law
Ontario has become the second jurisdiction in Canada to require carbon monoxide detectors in all residences. Until now, carbon monoxide alarms were required only in new Ontario homes built after Aug. 6, 2001.  The Hawkins Gignac Act was named in honour of a family of four who were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning in their Woodstock, Ont., home.


The new law, the Hawkins Gignac Act, was unanimously passed by the Ontario legislature on Nov. 27, 2013, and follows similar legislation passed by Yukon this past May. Parachute and others have been advocating for laws across Canada that protect against carbon monoxide poisoning.  The bill applies to all homes with fuel-burning appliances or heating systems, fireplaces, or attached garages.


In addition, the calendar week beginning on Nov. 1 will be designated as Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week each year, aligning the need to check carbon monoxide detectors and appliances with the end of daylight savings time.


Carbon monoxide is a leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in Canada. Installing a carbon monoxide alarm on each level of a home and outside every sleeping area is key to protecting lives and making homes safer.  Without a carbon monoxide alarm, families are unable to detect the presence of this poisonous gas, in any concentration. Symptoms of exposure, such as headaches and nausea, are often mistaken for the flu and either ignored or misdiagnosed. That is why carbon monoxide is referred to as "the silent killer." It cannot be detected because it is colourless, odourless and tasteless. 


In Ontario, John Gignac created the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation after his niece, her husband and two children died from carbon monoxide poisoning in December 2008. The law requiring carbon monoxide detectors in all homes will keep Ontario families safe and will prevent similar tragedies from occurring. 


The law will take effect as soon as it receives royal assent. Do you have carbon monoxide alarms in your home?

National News

'Raising Saskatchewan' video campaign

Raising Saskatchewan' is a video campaign created by the Child Injury Prevention Program at the Saskatchewan Prevention Institute. The program coordinators have been travelling throughout Saskatchewan to interview and film parents/caregivers and children (like Jacob, pictured here) about various injury topics in their communities.


The videos produced have been posted on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the Saskatchewan Prevention Institute webpage. The videos aim to raise awareness about different childhood injury issues. We hope that the videos will lead to conversations between parents and caregivers about how they can help protect their children from experiencing a life-changing injury, such as a brain injury.


To view the videos, please visit the Saskatchewan Prevention Institute websiteWe invite you to share these stories and videos with your friends, family, and colleagues. To find out more about the campaign, or to follow the coordinators as they venture across Saskatchewan, join them on Facebook, Twitter, or join the email group. Email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), join her on Twitter or on Facebook. Or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), join her on Twitter or on Facebook.


National youth injury report launched, available online 

Though injury prevention efforts have resulted in positive change, injuries continue to be a very important public health problem among Canadian youth. In a true collaborative effort, Queen's University and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Team in Child and Youth Injury Prevention worked together to produce a new youth injury report, launched at the Canadian Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion Conference.

Funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada, this report is based on results from the Health Behaviour of School-Aged Children Survey, raises awareness of adolescent injury issues, and supports evidence-based actions to prevent injuries in this population. 'Injury Among Young Canadians: A national study of contextual determinants' documents strong gradients in risk for injury by social, economic and contextual factors, as well as by several established individual risk behaviours. 


This report illuminated the following key insights:

  • Factors related to the contexts, or environments, where young people learn, live and play have significant impact on their injury experiences.
  • Patterns for injury vary by important subgroups of youth. This suggests potential health inequities among youth, such as those who reside in group homes or in foster care, students who are bullied, or students living in rural settings.
  • Though it varies by age group and gender, at least one-third of all injuries are sports related, and one-half of all serious injuries are from driving or riding in a motor vehicle.
  • In both grades 6-8 and 9-10, boys report more injuries and more severe injuries than girls.
  • Individual behaviours and activities such as smoking, drinking, impaired driving and illicit or prescription drug use elevate the risk of injury.

Download a free copy of the report, which will also be available online in French soon.


Stacey Levitt award available to high school students

Stacey Levitt was just 18 when, wearing headphones while out running after a long day working as a lifeguard, she stepped in front of a car and was killed. Her parents, Ned and Cheryl Levitt, have established an award through Parachute in memorial and celebration of her life. Each year, $2,500 will be awarded to a high school student in Canada who will use the money to "live life to the fullest" in a way Stacey would have supported: the award can be used to further an educational pursuit of some sort, or a sports or recreational activity or even a travel plan.


Parachute's Youth Advisory Team will narrow the field of applicants to their top five. Parachute staff will then interview the five and send their recommendations to the Levitts for their final selection. Applications from students are due by Feb. 28, 2014. For more information on the award and application process, visit our website

Get the kit and help kids Be Safe!

Check out the Canadian Red Cross's new personal safety program for children aged five to nine, Be Safe! This collection of dynamic educational resources provides school administrators, parents and educators with the tools they need to promote children's personal safety by preventing sexual abuse. It is based on the same format as the former c.a.r.e. program but has been completely refreshed and updated.


Educators and children will learn how to recognize and prevent sexual abuse and learn safety tips, with engaging resources like Trusty, the Be Safe! mascot puppet, music from Charlotte Diamond and Raffi and more. The website has a short, free, online information session for parents and caregivers and a free, online overview for school administrators, which offers school/program administrators high level information and strategies for a successful "whole school" launch approach of Be Safe! in your school or community.

Injury prevention leaders from across Canada honoured

The Canadian Injury Prevention and Safety Conference in Montreal offered an opportunity to recognize injury prevention leaders and "rising stars" from across Canada:

  • The Partnership Award went to the Finding Balance falls prevention initiative from Alberta, an exemplary model of partnership.
  • The Leadership Award was given to Kathy Belton, Associate Director of the Alberta Centre for Injury Control & Research for working to build a strong, dynamic injury prevention community in Alberta and nationally.
  •  The Canadian Collaborating Centres for Injury Prevention Award for Collaborative Excellence went to the NWT Injury Prevention Working Group for their project NWT Water Smart.
  • The Rising Star in Injury Prevention awards to Martin Lavalliére of the Massachusetts Institute for Technology for Best Poster Presentation and to Jean-François Bruneau, Université de Sherbrooke for best oral presentation.

In addition, conference delegates were invited to add their voices to Parachute's new video encouraging Canadians to "get in the game" of preventing injury. Anyone unable to be at the conference in person is encouraged to visit the website where many of the presentations are now posted. 


Thanks from conference hosts Parachute and the Canadian Red Cross to everyone who participated and to the sponsors who made it possible to host such an outstanding conference. 

Charting a clear path with Parachute's strategic plan

Parachute launched its strategic plan in November at the Canadian Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion Conference. With a vision of an injury-free Canada, measureable milestones and a focus on target areas for action, we will make a difference in the lives of Canadians. 


The plan is available in full text or summary form at the Parachute website. Our thanks to Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life for their support as our national development sponsor. 

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Parachute unites the former organizations of Safe Communities Canada, Safe Kids Canada, SMARTRISK, and ThinkFirst Canada into one leader in injury prevention.