Rowan’s Law Day
Who was Rowan Stringer?
Rowan Stringer loved rugby. A competitive and keen athlete, she was captain of her high school’s team. Tragically, in May 2013, 17-year old Rowan died as the result of head injuries she sustained while playing rugby. In the week before her last game, Rowan was hit twice while playing, likely sustaining a concussion after each blow. Her concussions went unreported, and she continued to play. Rowan suspected something wasn’t right—she texted a friend about her condition and used Google to search for information about concussions. When she was hit again in her final game, Rowan suffered what is known as Second Impact Syndrome—catastrophic swelling caused by a second injury to a brain still healing from previous trauma. Rowan collapsed on the field on May 8, 2013, and died four days later.
What is Rowan’s Law Day?
Rowan’s Law Day was established in 2018, and will be observed across Ontario on the last Wednesday in September each year. The purpose of Rowan’s Law Day is to increase concussion education awareness, especially in schools.
Rowan’s Law Day 2018: Events and Resources
(Please check back often for updates.)
- Free Speaker Series: Concussion Management, September 26th, 7:00 – 9:00 pm, Ottawa
This information session will be led by Kathleen and Gordon Stringer and Dr. Michael Vassilyadi, Paediatric Neurosurgeon, CHEO
- Ophea’s Rowan’s Law Day Toolkit for Schools
Rowan’s Law Day Assembly, September 26th, Newtonbrook Secondary School, Toronto (by invitation only)
This event for staff and students will feature speakers from Parachute, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and Holland Bloorview.
- Rowan’s Law Day: Collaborative Clinical Concussion Update, September 26th, 2:00 – 3:30 pm, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto
This event will be facilitated by Eric Lindros and feature presentations from Parachute, Sunnybrook, Holland Bloorview, and the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation
There have been efforts throughout Canada to mandate concussion education and management protocols, particularly in sport organizations and schools. Some jurisdictions are taking the approach of legislation, while others are moving to implementing policies governing concussion.
Ontario became the first province in Canada to enact legislation around concussion when
Rowan's Law (Concussion Safety) was given royal assent in March 2018 after receiving all-party support.
The law establishes mandatory requirements that call for:
- Annual review of concussion awareness resources by athletes, parents, coaches and other designated individuals
- A concussion code of conduct, reviewed by athletes, parents, and other designated individuals, to set out rules of behaviour to minimize concussions while participating in sport
- Removal-from-sport and return-to-sport protocols, to ensure that an athlete is immediately removed from sport if they are suspected of having sustained a concussion, and that appropriate processes are in place to guide their safe return to training and competition.
These requirements will take effect once the necessary regulations are established by the Government of Ontario.
Rowan’s Law also establishes the last Wednesday in September as “Rowan’s Law Day” in the province of Ontario. This will be marked in 2018 on Wednesday, September 26.
In 2017, Bill 37, The Concussion in Youth Sport Act, was introduced in the Manitoba provincial legislature. Bill 37 proposed requirements for removal-from-sport and return-to-sport protocols in sport organizations and schools, as well as improved concussion awareness education, particularly for coaches. The bill did not proceed to second reading.
Ontario Policy/Program Memorandum No. 158
In 2014, Ontario’s Ministry of Education issued PPM 158, requiring every school board to establish and maintain a policy on concussion. School board policies are required to include, at minimum, the following components: awareness; prevention; identification; management procedures for a diagnosed concussion; and, ongoing training for staff and volunteers.
Concussion Protocols for Sport Organizations and Schools
Concussion protocols should be comprehensive, including prevention and education, through to safe return to school, work, and sport activities. Protocols should be based on the most up-to-date, evidence-based best practice and reviewed regularly. Organizations looking to develop or update concussion protocols can access free protocol templates and supporting resources on our Concussion page.
Have information on a policy in your province or territory that you’d like added to this page? Please contact email@example.com.
Public policy overview
Reducing Injuries with THE RIGHT SOLUTIONS
To achieve an injury-free Canada with Canadians living long lives to the fullest, Parachute provides thought leadership, evidence-based solutions, and actively informs dialogue on public policy to make injury prevention a Canadian priority.
Parachute works directly with Canadian families and communities, and with all levels of government to address preventable injuries at home, on the road, at work, and at play.
The 3 Es of PREVENTION
A focus on engineering, enforcement and education will establish large scale changes in healthy public policy and the creation of environments, both social and physical, which will encourage Canadians to be active and safe.
Parachute is LEADING THE WAY
- We focus on community activation, building awareness, and delivering solutions.
- We share leading practices and policy models that have a proven impact on injury reduction.
- We are guided by an evidence-based framework for injury prevention that serves as a guide for federal, provincial, territorial and local policy makers.
- We build capacity within organizations and communities, supporting widespread adoption of public policy in priority areas.
Public Policy Toolkit
Some useful resources for the development, implimentation and evaluation of public policy in Canada.
- Policy 101 - An overview of Public Policy
- The Influence of Media on Public Policy Presentation
- The Use of Knowledge Translation and Evidence in Public Policy Presentation
- Public Policy for Practitioners
- The Policy Readyness Tool from the Alberta Injury Prevention Centre
- Imagine Canada's Secor Monitor on Public Policy
Parachute’s policy priorities
Motor vehicle collisions
This is the leading cause of preventable injury and death in Canada. We know, through legislation and enforcement mechanisms, public policy will ensure Canadians are safe on the road.
Sport and recreation
Public policy for injury prevention is about keeping Canadians active and safe. Public policy for sport and recreation related injuries focuses on managing the risks that can often occur during sports, such as protocols for managing concussions and mandatory bike helmets for all ages.
Falls are the leading cause of reduced longevity and high healthcare costs among older adults. As Canada’s population ages, it is becoming even more important to ensure that older adults remain active, healthy, and independent. Public policy focuses on programming and policies to enable older adults to maintain their health and fitness.
Partnering for Change
Effective policy for injury prevention requires a whole society approach and commitment. Parachute is leading the dialogue with several key stakeholders to create change:
- National, provincial, and local community organizations
- Experts and thought leaders
- Passionate individuals
Together, we recognize injury prevention as a leading social cause and are taking collective action to create important change.
Pool fencing laws
Drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death to Canadian children. Swimming pools are the site of nearly half of all drowning and near-drowning incidents for children 14 years of age and under.
Problem: Current legislative status
Pools without proper fencing are a particular hazard for children under five years of age. In most places in Canada, safer pool fencing is not yet required.
For more information, please see our Pool Fencing Legislation Chart.
Researchers estimate that safer pool fencing could prevent seven out of 10 drowning incidents in home swimming pools for children under five years of age.
Solution: Safer pool fencing
Safer pool fencing consists of a minimum 1.2-metre (four-foot) high, four-sided pool fence with a self-closing and self-latching gate that regulates all access points. Municipalities have the ability to enact safer pool fencing bylaws for homes with pools. Provincial and territorial jurisdictions can support municipal efforts by establishing province-wide safer pool fencing laws.
Government can help create safer environments within their communities by proper enforcement measures and by providing education about safer pool fencing.
Key features of safer pool fencing
Safer fencing should:
- completely enclose the pool on all four sides
- be of minimum height of 1.2 metres (four feet)
- cover all types of pools (inflatable, above-ground, etc.)
- have a self-closing and self-latching gate
- be designed to deter young children from climbind
Drowning prevention resources
- Backyard Pool Safety - Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
- Four-sided fencing around home pools - matte story
- Pool fencing: Template position statement
- Pool fencing: Frequently asked questions
- Pool fencing : Model resolution
- Model pool fencing by-law
- Pool fencing diagrams
- Pamphlet - Does your fence comply?
Carbon monoxide poisoning
Carbon monoxide is a leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in Ontario, Canada and North America. According to Statistics Canada, between 2000 – 2013 in Canada, there were 1,125 deaths from CO poisoning, including 87 in Ontario (Source: Cohen et al., 2017)
The nature of carbon monoxide poisoning requires proactive safety measures – waiting until after the poisoning has occurred is too late. 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 by people because it is colourless, odourless and tasteless.
The good news is that carbon monoxide poisoning within the home can be prevented with a few key safety measures.
- Be aware of the hazard. CO is a highly poisonous gas, often referred to as ‘the silent killer’ because you can’t see it, touch it or smell it.
- Know the symptoms of CO poisoning. They are similar to the flu – nausea, headache, burning eyes, confusion and drowsiness – except there is no fever. If they appear, immediately get everyone, including pets, outside to fresh air and call 911 or your local fire department.
- Eliminate CO at the source. Fuel Burning appliances are a common source of CO. Most of these sources are associated with malfunctioning fuel-burning appliances and/or poor venting and confined spaces, like a furnace room, garage, cabin, tent, RV, boat cabin or camper. Have a TSSA-certified fuel technician inspect your fuel-burning appliances every year.
- Install certified CO alarms in your home. CO alarms are mandatory in Ontario homes. Follow manufacturer’s instruction or ask your local fire department for installation locations, and, remember to test the alarms regularly, replace batteries at least once and year and replace the unit as required
Legislation - Mandatory carbon monoxide alarms in all homes
Did you know that four jurisdictions in Canada now require carbon monoxide detectors in residences? Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec and the Yukon all have carbon monoxide legislation.
Investment in poison prevention strategies is cost-effective: $1 spent on poison prevention saves $7 in health care costs. Most carbon monoxide alarms cost less than $35: about two cents a day over the suggested lifespan of a CO alarm.
- Home safety for your kids' sake
- Carbon Monoxide detector legislation chart
- Your Guide to Protecting Your Family from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
- Parachute’s Horizon resources on carbon monoxide
Cohen, I, Garis, L, Rajabali F, Pike I. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, Hospitalizations and Deaths in Canada. A report by the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit, for the University of the Fraser Valley: Vancouver, BC. October, 2017. Available at https://cjr.ufv.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Carbon-Monoxide-2017-Final-.pdf>
Poisoning is a much larger public health issue than is generally recognized, with children being particularly at risk of unintentional poisoning. For Canadians of all ages, poisoning is the fifth leading cause of injury deaths, hospitalizations and emergency room visits. Researchers estimate that half of all poison exposures occur among children younger than six years of age.
Children are at particular risk of poisoning due to their growing curiosity and inexperience – as children begin to climb and reach new things they don’t necessarily have the experience to know what to avoid.
It is estimated that:
- Half of all poison exposures occur among children younger than six years of age
- The Public Health Agency of Canada estimates an average of three deaths each year in Canada among children aged 14 years and younger from unintentional poisoning and another 900 are hospitalized with serious injuries.
- Keep laundry detergents, including single-unit dose packets, secured and out of reach of children. Like many other household products, detergents must be used as directed, and safely and properly stored. Follow #PreventPoison for information and resources or visit Health Canada.
- A Canadian Paediatric Society study of injuries associated with liquid detergent packets treated by paediatricians gathered information on 54 children with injuries following exposure. The study found that more than half of these children (56%) were less than two years of age and another 43% were aged 2-4 years.
- Poison centres across Canada receive about 160,000 phone calls each year
- Close to half of those calls come from frantic parents concerning children younger than six.
Medication is the leading cause of all unintentional poisonings of children age 14 and under. The remaining poisonings are caused by a wide range of products such as household cleaners, alcohol, plants, fertilizers, pesticides, paint thinner, antifreeze and beauty products. While adults may be deterred from consuming a substance by its bad taste, this is not the case with young children. Their sense of taste is different from an adult’s, resulting in the ability to drink substances like windshield washer fluid without the taste being a deterrent.
Prevention of poisoning is best accomplished through a multifaceted approach combining education, enforcement and environmental modifications.
Effective poison prevention emphasizes several pillars:
- Poison prevention education for families
- The safe storage of potentially poisonous substances
- Limiting the quantity of potentially harmful over-the-counter drugs that can be purchased in a single package
- Mandatory carbon monoxide alarms in all residences
- A national phone number for poison information
- The establishment and coordination of data surveillance and collection
Issue: Head injuries
Head injuries are the leading cause of severe injury and injury-related deaths to children on bicycles.
Problem: Low helmet use
Research shows that a properly fitted helmet can decrease the risk of serious head injury by over 80 per cent. This means that four out of five head injuries could be prevented if every cyclist wore a helmet.
Solution: Helmet laws encourage helmet use
Helmet laws encourage helmet use for all ages. Head injury rates among child and youth cyclists are about 25 per cent lower in provinces with helmet laws, compared to provinces without. Currently, six provinces have cycling legislation in place, but only four cover all ages. Legislation, in conjunction with ongoing education and enforcement programs, is necessary to make helmet use the norm. Both helmet use and cycling should be promoted to keep kids healthy, active and safe.
For more information on helmet safety please see:
Government, industry, communities and all stakeholders can promote healthy, active, safe living and a culture of cycling. This means reducing traffic speed in communities through lower speed limits and traffic calming, but could also include the development of areas for recreational biking. Improving road safety requires a comprehensive approach that takes into account the road design in a community as well as the way vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists use the street.
Child passenger safety
Issue - Child passenger safety
Motor vehicle injuries are a leading cause of injury-related death for Canadian children. Action must be taken to reduce the risk of crashes. Steps must also be taken to reduce the risk of injury when a crash occurs.
Problem - Low booster seat use
Car crashes kill more children than any other cause of injury in Canada. What amounts to over two classrooms of children die in cars each year, and thousands more are injured.
Solution - Mandatory booster seat use
When installed correctly, putting a child in a car seat reduces the chances of injury or death by as much as 75 per cent and booster seats provide up to 60 per cent more protection than seatbelts alone. Children must be in the correct car seat for their stage of physical development in order to be protected.
While at least 75 per cent of young children are restrained in car seats, Transport Canada research found that nearly three-quarters of Canadian children between ages four to nine were not protected by booster seats.
Car seats can reduce the risk of death by 71 per cent for infants under age one and 54 per cent for children ages one to four.
Car seats reduce the risk of hospitalization by 67 per cent for children age four and under.
Currently, eight provinces require booster seat use. Car seat laws in Canada
Booster seat legislation
Research demonstrates that booster seat legislation is an effective way to ensure that children are placed in the correct car seat for their stage of physical development. Currently, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut do not have booster seat legislation in place. Education, enforcement and increased government investment in child passenger safety, are also needed to make Canada’s roads the safest possible for children and youth.
Investing in research related to the design and use of car seats; making child restraint safety a priority in preventive care, and having health professionals assess child restraint use as part of patient visits, are strategies that can be implemented in order to increase the level of children’s safety on Canada’s roads.
All-terrain vehicles are motorized vehicles that require adult skills and judgment. Canadian children continue to be injured and killed while riding ATVs.
Child use of motorized vehicles. Children and youth are at a special risk for ATV-related injuries and death as they lack the necessary knowledge, physical development, cognitive and motor skills to safely operate these vehicles.
Children under 16 should not use ATVs, regardless of its size or the power of its engine. Currently in Canada, ATV laws vary by jurisdiction and by location of use. Laws should also require use of appropriate helmets and mandatory safety training for all those operating ATVs.