Pathways to Wellness

conversation • connection • commitment

Injuries in Yukon

What do we know about injuries in Yukon?   In general, Yukoners are 1.5 to 2 times more likely to sustain injuries that require hospitalization than other Canadians.  When it comes to children and adolescents, there is both good news and not-so-good news.

  • From 1994/95 to 2005/06, the rate of hospitalization Yukon and Canadian children between the ages of 0-14 years decreased, although injuries rates are still somewhat higher in Yukon.
  • During the same time, injury rates for 15-19 year olds steadily declined in Canada but no downward trends were seen in Yukon – overall injury rates remain stubbornly high.

Why these changes?  The decline in injuries among 0-14 year olds may be because we are becoming more safety conscious when it comes to children, and are more likely to buckle them up when driving in cars and to purchase and enforce the use of protective gear, like helmets.

Injury rates among 15-19 year olds are linked to experimentation, risk taking and greater independence which may open up more possibilities of injury.  In addition, the recreational and leisure activities in Yukon which help us to connect with nature – like, off-road driving and snowmobiling – are inherently more risky particularly for drivers who are relatively inexperienced and may not always wear a helmet.  Use of alcohol and other drugs may also play a role in increased injuries.

At the TEDx Whitehorse event in January 2013, Yukon's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, gave a talk entitled "The culture of risk".  He explores some of the common and unique factors of risk-taking in Yukon.


[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ej740fwv2A]

The Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) thinks we can be doing more to protect children and young people.  In their 2012 annual report card, they gave Yukon a rating of "poor" because there is no territorial legislation requiring cyclists to wear a helmet and there is  limited legislation governing ATV safety.

On the other hand, we got a rating of "good" for our snowmobile legislation because it sets a minimum driver age, requires all drivers to complete a training program, places some restrictions on snowmobile use, and requires that helmets be worn.

Injury prevention is a mixed bag in Yukon.  There are some promising signs, but there is still room for improvement.

Learn more