23 May 2024

Review your school-wide approaches to preventing injury

Suggestion for implementing the strategy ‘Review leadership and governance responsibilities’

Review playground safety

Review playground safety

Falls are the primary cause of a concussion or TBI.

In children, 37% of fall-related hospitalisations happen on playgrounds.

Reduce the risks on your playground by reviewing the:

  • quality and quantity of soft-surfacing materials to a safe depth
  • maintenance schedule of playground equipment
  • consistent implementation of your active supervision.

Source: Child unintentional deaths and injuries in New Zealand, and prevention strategies (opens in a new tab/window)

Enforcing helmets

Enforcing helmets

Helmets do not prevent a concussion, but they may reduce its severity.

As a community discuss the use of helmets during activities and sports.

Review supervision of all sport and physical activity

Review supervision of all sport and physical activity

Discuss with all staff ways they can ensure the safety of children and young people and reduce the risk of brain injury.

  • Ensure children and young people wear appropriate safety gear and that it fits correctly.
  • Enforce “play by the rules”.
  • Stress the importance of health. Do not allow children and young people to play when they are ill or suffering from fatigue.
  • Reduce risks at practice – teach safe contact approaches.
  • Commit time to warm-up exercises relevant to the activity or sport.

Source: Adapted from the website of Brain Trust Canada (opens in a new tab/window)

Make risks visible

Make risks visible

Building understanding of risks is an integral part of brain injury prevention.

Utilise the curriculum to create authentic opportunities for learning.

Reflection questions

Reflection questions

Research suggests a multi-faceted approach is more effective than providing only safety recommendations to children.

Review your current approaches to injury prevention in these three areas.

  • Are we utilising the best engineering? For example: Use of impact-absorbing safety surfacing for playgrounds and installing locks or safety mechanisms to keep children and young people out of hazardous areas without supervision.
  • How consistently are we enforcing rules? For example: The enforcement of playground soft-surfacing materials to a safe depth, regular maintenance of playground equipment, and enforcement of the helmet rule when children ride bikes.
  • How are we providing supervision and prevention education to the highest quality? For example: Planned connections to prevention in the curriculum, active supervision.

Source: Safekids Aotearoa (opens in a new tab/window)

Useful resources

Useful resources


CDC Heads Up app: Rocket blades

This game app for iOS devices is aimed at 6–8-year-olds. It focuses on concussion awareness and prevention.

Publisher: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Visit website

Sport concussion in New Zealand National Guidelines

ACC SportSmart concussion national guidelines - sport organisations

Read time: 21 min

These guidelines have been produced to support national sports organisations and the recreation, education and health sectors to develop policies for concussion in sport.

Publisher: ACC New Zealand

Visit website

Next steps

More suggestions for implementing the strategy “Review leadership and governance responsibilities”:

Return to the guide “Supporting learners with acquired brain injury”

Guide to Index of the guide: Acquired brain injury and learning