Local Project to reduce Whiplash and increase Child Safety in First Nations Communities

Whiplash can not only affect adults, but also children that are in a vehicle.   As a chiropractor, I see many cases of whiplash in any given year.  I wanted to bring some attention to the work of two projects involving understanding and reducing the risk of injury and death from vehicle accidents in First Nations.

This project is engaged with about 10 reserve communities on the projects, which are funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research and AUTO21.

The projects are innovative in a number of ways, but specifically they are working with our Aboriginal partners to find community-generated solutions to vehicle safety issues of importance to them.  One of the partners is the Walpole Island First Nation, which is located on the St. Clair River between Windsor and Sarnia.

They have taken a number of steps to improve safety in their community founded on culture and the use of Native language in signage.

As part of the project, they are supplying participating communities with state-of-the-art child booster seats, which are known to reduce the risk of injury and death. These devices are geared towards certain ages and determined by the child’s weight, but youngsters between the ages of 3 and 8 are typically the ones we find needing the seats.   The ones that are best attach to the vehicle’s infrastructure using a seatbelt-like fastener that most cars produced since 2000 are equipped with.

The challenge of course is to provide a product that is easy to use, fits into the vehicle’s infrastructure, and are affordable. As you can guess, many First Nation’s families do not have access to these products nor do they have the funds to purchase them.

In answer to this, a local man,  G. Brent Angell, PhD, RSW, Professor at the University of Windsor School of Social Work created a trust fund called the First Nations Children’s Safety Project, which he is hopeful will ensure that every Aboriginal child in Canada who needs one of these booster seats will have one.

For your information, the project was featured in a news item and video clip.   You can read the article and view the video clip by going to http://www.uwindsor.ca/dailynews/2014-01-20/trust-fund-established-booster-seats-first-nations-communities.

The project has also been picked up by the online publication Inside Ottawa Valley. This piece and the video can be found at http://www.insideottawavalley.com/news-story/4329168-uwindsor-announces-delivery-of-child-safety-seats-to-walpole-island-bkejwanong-first-nation-families/

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