Category: Child Safety

Canada Day is coming. Remember SUMMER FUN = SUMMER SAFETY!

by John McKiggan

Our senior associate Mark Raftus sent me this article and I thought it was good timing since Canada Day is this week and it marks the unofficial start of summer here in the Maritimes.

We all look forward to spending more time outdoors enjoying the warm weather and the summer activities we have waited so long to do given the long, hard winter we just endured.

Whatever your chosen activity: swimming, boating, cycling or relaxing outside on the playground or fields with your children there are precautions that should be taken so a fun day spent in the sunshine won’t have an unhappy ending.

Can Children Suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress After a Car Accident?

by John McKiggan

According to a study conducted in Sweden the answer is most certainly yes!

Research conducted at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden determined that approximately 30% of children injured in car accidents end up suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Long lasting effects
3214264355_f6f01f76fe_m.jpg The research by Eva Olofsson went on to determine that up to 20% of children still suffer from the mental and psychosocial effects of PTSD up to a year post accident.

Psychological injuries last longer than physical injuries?

Do bicycle helmets prevent head injuries? The answer may not be as obvious as you think.

by John McKiggan

Protect your noggin

If you were given the option of being hit on the head with or without a helmet, which would you choose? Wearing a bicycle helmet reduces the risk of head injury by approximately 85-percent. The choice seems obvious doesn’t it?

If the choice is so clear then why do one-third of Nova Scotian’s still not wear helmets when cycling? According to Statistics Canada approximately 35% of Nova Scotia’s still refuse to wear bicycle helmets on a regular basis.

Hockey Canada insurance doesn’t cover concussions! Say what?

by John McKiggan

As a personal injury lawyer I have seen many examples of the dangers of brain injuries in sports. In particular I have written about the potential lasting effects that brain injuries can have on child athletes. See for example:

Sudden Impact: Liability for Sports Related Concussions

Brain Injuries: Minor Hockey Players 10x More Likely to Suffer Brain Injuries

“Who is responsible when my child is hurt at school?”

by John McKiggan

School Board not liable

A British Columbia school district recently benefitted from a favourable ruling in a case against a former student. In October 2006 the student, Tylor Jackson, was the victim of a terrible assault from another student, Makwalla Hall. The two boys were grade nine students at the time. Makwalla punched Tylor in the head, causing him to fall backwards and hit his head on a window. Tylor suffered from a traumatic brain injury and is permanently mentally and physically disadvantaged.

Should schools be responsible for schoolyard assaults?

New Seatbelt Rules Coming for Canada: Using seatbelts is common sense.

by John McKiggan

Have you ever noticed that the middle-rear seat of most cars usually doesn’t have a shoulder seat belt strap? Ever wonder if the side seats that have shoulder straps are safer than the middle seat?

Studies have shown that passengers wearing lap belts alone are more likely to suffer separation of their lumbar vertebrae, causing paralysis.

Three point (shoulder strap) seat belts have been mandatory in all cars sold in the U.S. since September 2007.

Children’s Meds Causing Dangerous Allergic Reactions

by John McKiggan

Recently I was doing research for a client whose child had suffered an adverse reaction after taking a common children’s medication. That’s why this article in Reuters caught my attention.

It tells the story of a Massachusetts family that nearly lost their daughter due to an allergic reaction to a common household medicine. Seven year-old Samantha Reckis lost approximately 90 percent of her skin, suffered mild brain damage and is legally blind after taking children’s Motrin.

Following a decade-long trial, a Massachusetts jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $63 million to Samantha and her family.

Amanda Todd – Can Some Good Come From This Needless Tragedy?

by John McKiggan

Three weeks ago British Columbia teen Amanda Todd was discovered dead in her home in Vancouver. The fifteen year old girl committed suicide after being tormented by bullies online.


Amanda posted a YouTube video a month before her death highlighting the bullying and cruelty she faced. In the video, which now has more than 4 million views, young Amanda reveals that when she was in Grade 7 (12 years old) she attempted to make friends online and she ended up flashing someone (via webcam).

Trampolines and “Jumpy Castles”: It’s all fun and games until someone breaks a limb

by John McKiggan

Risk = Fun?

As a child safety lawyer I have come to realize that an inevitable paradox of childhood is that the riskier an activity, the more children are drawn to it. This phenomenon is best illustrated by the backyard trampoline and the birthday favourite, so-called “Jumpy Castles”.

These especially entertaining apparatuses occupy children (and adults) for hours but they pose a significant risk of injury, particularly to younger children.