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Girl, 3, Dies After Accident In Play Area At York College Nursery

Lydia Bishop

A three-year-old girl died in a playground accident on her first day at nursery school, police have said.

Lydia Bishop, from York, died following an accident at the nursery at York College on Sim Balk Lane on Monday afternoon.

Police said the toddler had become entangled in a rope on a slide in the outdoor area at the nursery.

There were no suspicious circumstances, police said. Ofsted and the Health and Safety Executive have been informed.

Det Ch Insp Nigel Costello, from North Yorkshire Police, said: “As I understand it was her first day of nursery yesterday.

“Lydia had gone onto the slide in the outdoor play area and at the top of the slide there was some rope which she got tangled in.”

The nursery is expected to remain closed for at least a week, Det Ch Insp Costello added.

‘Working together’

Dr Alison Birkinshaw, Principal of York College, said the death of the three-year-old was “devastating”.

“Our thoughts are with the child’s family and the children, families and staff at the York College nursery,” she said.

Floral tributes at York College

Parents of children attending the nursery had been informed of the accident and would be kept updated with any further developments, she said.

A spokesperson for the City of York Council said: “All relevant agencies are aware and will be working together over the next few days.

“Our thoughts are with the family of the child and staff at the nursery.”

York College, which serves students between 16 and 19 years of age, moved into the £60m Tadcaster Road campus in 2007.

The nursery website said the facility provided full daycare provision for children aged between six weeks and five years.

It opened in 2007 and has three play rooms, each with access to a fully-enclosed outdoor area.

‘Superb’ facilities

An Ofsted inspection carried out in September 2009 said the overall quality of provision at the nursery was good.

The inspector said in the report: “Children are taught to be safety-conscious and they show a sound understanding of how to keep themselves safe.”

The outdoor facilities at the nursery are described as “superb”.

David Yearley, head of play safety for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said fatal playground accidents were “rare”, with only one death in every two to three years.

“This is obviously a tragedy for those concerned, but if you look at it in a national context, with 12 million children and tens of thousands of play opportunities, they are few and far between,” he said.


US doctors say trampolines are a danger to kids

US doctors say children should be discouraged from using trampolines because they are a health hazard.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) estimates that almost 98,000 people are injured each year in the US on trampolines and many of these are children.

UK safety experts say the sport is growing in popularity here and related injuries are on the rise.

But they say trampolining can be a healthy way to exercise and good fun.

Trampolining children

The renewed advice from the AAP says paediatricians need to “actively discourage” recreational trampoline use.

Dr Michele LaBotz, who co-authored the AAP report said: “Families need to know that many injuries occur on the mat itself, and current data do not appear to demonstrate that netting or padding significantly decrease the risk of injury.”

The researchers found that most injuries occur when more than one person is on a trampoline.

Children under five are more likely to suffer serious injury, with 48% of injuries in this group resulting in fractures and dislocations.

Some injuries may even be fatal – failed attempts at somersaults and flips frequently cause cervical spine injuries, resulting in permanent and devastating consequences, says the AAP.


But the UK’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Rospa) says trampolining can be enjoyed safely if a few simple rules are followed.

For example, put the trampoline on a softer surface like the lawn rather than concrete and consider using safety netting.

“But a safety net is not a substitute for adult supervision,” a spokesman added.

More than half of all trampoline accidents occur while children are being watched by an adult, but using trained supervisors can greatly reduce this risk, says Rospa.

Latest UK figures show that, in 2002, 11,500 people in the UK ended up in hospital after a trampoline accident – an increase of more than 50% in five years.

A five-year-old boy died after he fell from a climbing frame in his school

A five-year-old boy died after he fell from a climbing frame in his school playground and suffered a heart attack, an inquest heard today.

Tragic youngster Samuel Orola lost his footing while attempting a ‘roly poly’ in the adventure playground at Tolworth Infant School in Surbiton, Surrey, where he was a pupil.

Samuel’s best friend saw him falling as they played at lunchtime last September – and then ‘wobbling’ his way towards a bench to sit down, West London Coroner’s Court heard.

Tragic: Samuel Orola died at Tolworth Infant and Nursery School in SurbitonTragic: Samuel Orola died at Tolworth Infant and Nursery School in Surbiton

The friend later told his parents that he had tried to ‘wake him up’ as Samuel appeared to be sleeping.

He showed them how the boy had attempted a ‘roly poly’ but fell and hit his head.

Jaishree Parekh, one of two teaching assistants on duty in the adventure playground at the time, described the moment Samuel’s friend – who cannot be named for legal reasons – ran up to her to say Samuel was hurt.

She said: ‘A friend of Samuel’s came up to me saying ‘Sammy is lying down and bleeding in his lips, can you come and help.’

Sorely missed: Samuel Orola, pictured, was described by his uncle, Prince Elisery as a'very strong, calm and helpful' boySorely missed: Samuel Orola, pictured, was described by his uncle, Prince Elisery as a’very strong, calm and helpful’ boy

‘I walked over and saw Sammy lying on the ground in the recovery position.

‘I went over and said “Sammy, Sammy” and he didn’t respond.

‘I immediately knew there was something wrong so I shouted for help from the other teaching assistant Vanessa Stewart and she came straight away.

‘I could see blood coming from his lips. His eyes were closed and he was not moving.

‘He appeared to be unconscious. There was a large group of children gathered around.’

She said Samuel’s friend later told police that Sammy ‘was on the climbing frame and tried a ‘roly poly’ and hit his lips on the frame and hurt his neck.

‘He came off the frame and walked and sat down. I went over to him and he was sleeping.

‘His eyes were shut.’

Mrs Parekh said of Sammy: ‘He was such a lovely boy, so happy. He was always asking how you were.

‘He was a very kind and gentle boy.’

Vanessa Stewart said attempts to wake Samuel were unsuccessful and she noticed blood in the corner of his mouth and his breathing was ‘raspy’.

An ambulance was called but he stopped breathing just as paramedics arrived.

She said despite being by the climbing frame, she had not seen Samuel playing on it or walking around the sitting area to sit down afterwards.

Samuel’s friend was taken home by his grandmother who called the boy’s father in ‘flood of tears’ to say there had been an accident at school and Samuel was ‘seriously ill’.

The friend’s father, who cannot be named, told the inquest: ‘Under her breath so [his son] wouldn’t hear her, she said, “Sammy might be dead”.

Speaking to his son later, he said: ‘He said, ‘Sammy had an accident today.’

Tributes: Flowers and messages were laid next to a tree outside Tolworth Infant and Nursery School in Surbiton in memory of Samuel OrolaTributes: Flowers and messages were laid next to a tree outside Tolworth Infant and Nursery School in Surbiton in memory of Samuel Orola

‘He said he was on a bench and his head went funny.

‘He then displayed, in actions, him falling from a bench.’

The boy’s father added: ‘He had a tear stain on his cheek. My wife asked him why he had been crying. He said he had cried in the class room because he missed Sammy and that he wanted him back.’

‘He said he had tried to get Sammy’s hand. He said he could not get his hand and could not wake him up.

Several days later when he was getting ready to go to football, he said: ‘He demonstrated what I would call a hand stand. His head was on the floor.

‘He said Sammy tried to do it. He nearly did it.

‘He said he tried to get up, but before he got up he fell and hit his head. He tried to get up again but he was wobbling.’

Head teacher Rachel Nye said the new adventure playground had been built in December 2010 and safety checks carried out in January last year.

All children had been told how to use the equipment, adding: ‘To my knowledge there were no children in the school who didn’t know how to use the adventure playground or the rules when playing on it.’

She said there was nothing wrong with the equipment and that all staff had been doing everything they should at the time.

Professor Sebastian Lucas, who conducted a post-mortem examination, could not determine a cause of death but said it was most likely that Samuel suffered a vagal cardiac arrest.

He said: ‘It is possible, it is conceivable, that somehow he twisted his neck and that has stretched or put a sudden impact on the vagus nerve, which is one of the nerves coming from the brain.

‘It is the nerve that controls heartbeat.

‘We know that the vagus nerve can suddenly do things to stop the heart.

‘We see this in situations where there is blunt trauma to the neck.’

Samuel’s uncle Prince Elisery said: ‘He was very strong, calm and helpful. He would talk to everyone.

‘We will miss him.

The school’s headteacher Rachael Nye also paid tribute to her ‘delightful’ pupil saying she was ‘deeply saddened’ by his death.

The playground was taped off after the accident and police stood outside where floral tributes were laid.

The hearing continues.
Read more:

A Surprising Risk for Toddlers on Playground Slides

Last spring, Katie Dickman of Dunkirk, Md., was at the playground with her 18-month-old toddler, Hannah, when the little girl asked to ride down a twisting slide. Ms. Dickman accompanied her daughter, carefully keeping the child on her lap as they coasted to the bottom.

But without warning, Hannah’s sneaker caught on the side of the slide. Although Ms. Dickman grabbed the leg and unstuck her daughter’s foot, by the time they reached the ground, the girl was whimpering and could not walk. A doctor’s visit later revealed a fractured tibia.

“My wife was just trying to keep Hannah extra safe and make sure she didn’t fall,” said Hannah’s father, Jed Dickman. “She felt very guilty about it.”

The Well Column
The Well Column

Tara Parker-Pope on living well.

As the Dickmans soon learned, such injuries are surprisingly common. Although nobody keeps national statistics, orthopedic specialists say they treat a number of toddlers and young children each year with broken legs as a result of riding down the slide on a parent’s lap. A study at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y., found that nearly 14 percent of pediatric leg fractures over an 11-month period involved toddlers riding down the slide with a parent.

Dr. Edward Holt, the orthopedic surgeon at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis who treated Hannah’s injury last April, said that just two weeks ago he treated a 4-year-old boy who had been injured going down the slide with his father.

“This fracture is entirely preventable,” said Dr. Holt, who has created a warning poster for local pediatrician offices and a You Tube video alerting parents to the hazard.

This may be one of those counterintuitive cases when a child is safer by himself. If a foot gets caught while the child is sliding alone, he can just stop moving or twist around until it comes free. But when a child is sitting in an adult lap, the force of the adult’s weight behind him ends up breaking his leg.

The injury is typically treated with a cast from the foot to above the knee; the good news is that no surgery or resetting is needed. The child wears the cast for four to six weeks and heals without any lasting complications.

But the damage is not merely physical. “The parents are always crushed that they broke their kid’s leg and are baffled as to why nobody ever told them this could happen,” Dr. Holt said. “Sometimes one parent is angry at the other parent because that parent caused the child’s fracture. It has some real consequences to families, and I hate to see it happen.”

The Mineola study was done by Dr. John Gaffney, a pediatric orthopedic specialist at Winthrop, after he had treated a rash of playground slide fractures. The hospital’s data indicated that every sliding fracture involved a child younger than 3 riding in an adult’s lap. The fracture might not be immediately obvious, but typically the child appeared to be in pain and could not put weight on the leg.

Dr. Gaffney said he has treated three playground fractures in the last month for children sliding with a grandparent, a parent and a baby sitter.

“As soon as the weather gets warm, this starts to happen,” he said. “It’s so common, but parents say: ‘How did I not know about this? I thought it was doing something good for my child by having them sit on my lap.’ ”

Andy Dworkin, a former journalist who is now a medical student in Portland, Ore., said his son Felix, then 18 months, was playing with a toddler friend at an elementary school where they were drawn to a blue slide. Felix rode down first, on the lap of his mother, but his rubber-soled shoe caught on the slide and he started to scream when he got off the slide.

Another mother, at the top of the slide with her own 17-month-old, quickly slid down with her son to try to help. But soon that little boy was crying as well. At the emergency room, both boys were found to have fractures, and they were fitted with orange and blue casts.

“I was surprised at how easy it was for a young child to break their leg on a playground,” said Mr. Dworkin, who wrote about the experience for his hometown paper, The Oregonian. “I was even more surprised how nonchalant the hospital staff was about what was happening. They said they see this all the time.”

Both boys had full recoveries. Felix, now 3 ½, doesn’t remember the accident, but will now go down small slides only and remains cautious around large twisting slides, said Mr. Dworkin.

Dr. Holt said he did not want to discourage parents from taking their children to the playground or even playing on slides, but did want to spread the word about the risks of sliding with a child on your lap.

To prevent the injury, the best solution is to allow a child to slide by himself, with supervision and instructions on how to play safely. Young children can be placed on the slide at the halfway point with a parent standing next to the slide. At the very least, parents should remove a child’s shoes before riding down the slide with the child on their laps, and make sure the child’s legs don’t touch the sides or sliding surface.

“I’m not saying we need to make the entire world out of rubber and insulate kids,” he said. “But this is something that is so totally predictable and preventable. That’s why I want to get the word out this one could go away.”


Credit: NYTimes

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