St John in Schools Programme helps prevent injuries

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Auckland, July 11, 2021 

More than 10,000 school children have learnt prevention methods


Throughout May 2021, more than 10,270 students across New Zealand learnt how to prevent injuries through the ASB St John in Schools Programme.

This year, one to eight students from 100 schools participated in the ‘Make it Safe May’ injury prevention module, developed by St John in partnership with ACC.

The module focuses on the four leading causes of child injury requiring hospitalisation: burns, poison, falls/slips, and drowning.

Unintentional injuries are the third-leading cause of death in children under 14 in New Zealand, with more than three children hospitalised each day for falls, more than five children each week for burns and about four children for poisoning each week. About three children die from a home drowning every year.

Identifying hazards helps

Last year, St John Ambulance officers responded to 54 children (aged 0-18) on average each week due to a fall or slip and 20 children on average per week due to poisoning.

St John Head of Community Education Jacci Tatnell said, “We continue to see far too many preventable incidents involving children and we know these situations can have a significant impact on them and their families. By teaching our children how to identify hazards and risks and eliminate them, our homes and playgrounds can become safer and we can see fewer children hospitalised.”

She said that through ‘Make it Safe May,’ St John has taught children how to recognise the dangers of falls and poisons, how to make safe decisions, how to identify appropriate safety equipment for outdoor activities, and explore how to prevent injuries in the playground. 

ACC Head of Injury Prevention Isaac Carlson said that it is important to educate children about the risk of injury and how to better manage it.

“Children learn through playing and exploration and it’s important that we encourage this.  But it is also important that they know that risks exist. Having the ability to understand genuine harm potential and how to make good decisions to manage this, is an essential life skill – not only for themselves but for their whanau and community,” he said.

St John Community Educator Hinearoha Phillips and classmates at Opotiki Primary School


Campaign to teach prevention 

ACC recently launched an injury prevention campaign called ‘Preventable.’

It is estimated that 90% of all injuries are preventable. Research shows that injuries are not random, unconnected or unpredictable.

Every year, ACC accepts around two million claims, which is more than 5000 injury claims every day. Injuries can have life-changing impacts – for the injured, their whanau and society.

“With ‘Preventable’ we are not telling people to not take risks. The campaign is telling people to have a moment to consider what is the risk and to manage it more effectively.  We want to teach our young people about risk and how to manage it so they can keep themselves safe and have fun growing up in Aotearoa,” Mr Carlson said.

Ashhurst School Principal Heath Chittenden with student R J Kokianga and St John Community Educator Kylie Teau


Free online activity

In conjunction with ‘Make it Safe May’, St John and ACC offered a free interactive online activity called SafetyChamp to teach children how to make their home safe.

Schools that participated in ‘Make it Safe May’ were eligible for a draw to win a lifesaving automated external defibrillator (AED) and students who completed the SafetyChamp lessons went into a draw to win a first aid kit and free morning tea for their class.

In Auckland, they included Freyberg Community School (191 participants), Pakuranga Intermediate (150), East Tamaki School (98), Pigeon Mountain School (589), Ramarama School (22), Tyndale Park Christian School (133), Mauku School (140), Tuakau School (232) and Waipipi School (142).  

St John presented Ashhurst School with an AED on July 2, 2021 and gifted a first aid kit and morning tea to ten-year-old Hinearoha Phillips from Opotiki Primary School.

Primary and intermediate schools interested in booking the ASB St John in Schools programme can visit for more information.

About ASB St John in Schools

The ASB St John in Schools Programme provides pre-school and school-aged children with the skills and confidence to take action in response to an emergency.

St John community educators teach young people first aid basics and knowledge to take responsibility for their health and wellbeing, along with those around them.

Different skills are taught to different age groups, with four modules offered: Responding in an Emergency, Keeping Safe, Clued Up Camper, and Weaving Wellbeing.

To date, more than 800,000 students have completed the ASB St John in Schools programme since 2015. With support from ACC, the common goal is to deliver to a total of one million New Zealand students (pre-school through to intermediate) by 2023.

To access the free online SafetyChamp video, visit For more information about ASB St John in Schools, visit
Pictures supplied by St John. The above story has been sponsored by

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