Background In the Netherlands annually 39 000 children aged 8–12 years have to be treated medically due to a fall incident. The number of wrist fractures in this age group has increased with 32% over the period 2004–2008.
Objective Primary objective is to describe the effectiveness of a school-based programme aimed at the prevention of physical activity (PA) related fall injuries in Dutch primary school children.
Design In a prospective randomised control trial 35 primary schools were assigned to the intervention group (n=19) and control group (n=16). Randomisation took place at school level.
Setting Physical education classes in school.
Participants Children attending PA classes in grades 4, 5 and 6 participated in the study: 1539 in the intervention group and 1920 children in the control group.
Intervention A teaching package with exercises. It includes a teacher's manual, teaching aids, a DVD with exercises, an exercise ball and a book on fall techniques.
During 8 weeks, children learn exercises from different levels of difficulty. The first four lessons form the base of the program, with one lesson to be taught each week. The second part consists of follow-up lessons, in which the core is extended in difficulty.
Main outcome measurements The number of injuries due to fall accidents, knowledge, risk perception, self-efficacy in relation to falling and fall techniques.
Results The results will be available in October 2010. First indications show children in the intervention group have less accidents and better knowledge of how to fall safely than children in the control group. There seem to be no differences in risk perception or self-efficacy.
Conclusions Although the overall results are not yet available, first indications suggest that the teaching package is effective: the incidence of injuries due to falls is lower in the intervention group than in the control group.
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