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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 December, 2003, 22:07 GMT
Nursery rhymes put kids 'at risk'
Humpty Dumpty
"All the king's men" should have given Humpty proper care
Some nursery rhymes send dangerously inaccurate messages to young listeners, according to Canadian researchers.

They are concerned that characters in popular rhymes suffer major injuries without receiving proper treatment.

The characters include Humpty Dumpty, who had a great fall, and Jack and Jill, who tumbled down a hill.

Children are told these stories "without people stopping to really look at what's happened", according to the tongue-in-cheek research.

The team from Dalhousie University ridiculed the idea that all the king's horses and all the king's men should even try to put Humpty Dumpty together again.

"What sort of EMS (emergency medical service) training and equipment did these first responders have?" they ask in a light-hearted paper published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Medically sound

The carer in "Rock a-bye baby" also comes in for criticism.

Medically correct nursery rhyme
Little Johnny rode his bike,
No helmet on his head.
He took a fall and split his skull,
His mother feared him dead. She rushed him to the ER,
Where they checked his neuro signs.
They noted a blown pupil
And inserted IV lines. They called the neurosurgeon,
Who came in and drilled a burr.
Now Johnny's fine; he rides his bike,
But he's helmeted, for sure.
The child should not have been put in a tree in the first place and when the "bough broke" medical assistance should have sought immediately.

Jack and Jill's injuries are at least reported, but not accurately enough, according to the researchers.

"Does a broken 'crown' refer to a skull fracture?" they ask.

"It's Raining, It's Pouring," "Ten Little Monkeys," and "Ring a ring o' roses" were the other rhymes studied.

Luckily the authors of the report, trainee doctors Sarah Giles and Sarah Shea, have composed their own, more "medically accurate," nursery rhyme to improve things.

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28 Dec 01  |  Europe
Nursery rhyme ban scrapped
12 Jan 00  |  Education

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