Back to School Safety
The lazy days of summer have come to an end and it's time to prepare for the routine of the school year and after school activities. While many parents and children are looking forward to another year of learning and fun, back to school safety should be a priority for your family.
As millions of children head back to school, parents, teachers, and caregivers should look for and check hidden hazards in schools to help prevent injuries and deaths to children. Check your child's school, childcare facility and playground for hidden hazards.
Set a good example with your own actions - lock doors and windows and see who's there before opening the door.
Take time to listen carefully to your children's fears and feelings about people or places that scare them or make them feel uneasy. Tell them to trust their instincts. If children complain about being "bullied" …take their complaint seriously.
Playgrounds - Check surfaces around playground equipment. Playgrounds should have 12-inch depths of wood chips, mulch, sand or pea gravel, or safety-tested rubber or fiber mats to prevent head injury when a child falls. Each year, more than 200,000 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for playground-associated injuries. These injuries occur when a child falls from the equipment.
Drawstrings on Jackets and Sweatshirts - Remove drawstrings on hoods or around the neck. Cut drawstrings at the waist or bottom of jackets and sweatshirts to 3 inches. In the last 12 years, 22 children have died when drawstrings caught on school buses, playground equipment and other products.
Loops on Window Blind Cords - If the windows in your home, schools or facilities where your children spend time have blinds, be sure to cut the loop on two-corded horizontal blinds, and attach separate tassels to prevent entanglement and strangulation in window blind cords. Do not cut the loops on vertical blinds, continuous loop systems and drapery cords that use looped cords to function.. Instead, install a permanent tie-down device. Approximately one child a month dies from strangulation with window covering cords.
Bike Helmets - More and more kids ride their bikes to school. Make sure they always wear their helmet. All bike helmets manufactured or imported for sale in the U.S. are required to meet the new federal safety standards. Each year, more than 200 children are killed in bicycle-related incidents, and about 60 percent of these deaths involve a head injury. Helmet use can reduce the risk of head injury by up to 85 percent.
Soccer Goals - Anchor soccer goals into the ground to prevent them from tipping over and crushing a child. In the last 20 years approximately 24 deaths have been reported from soccer goal tip over.
Use This Checklist To Keep Your Children For This School Year:
- Teach your child to memorize his/her home phone number and address, your work number, the number of another trusted adult … with area codes and how to use 911 for emergencies. Be sure kids know to call 9-1-1 or "O" in emergencies and how to use a public phone. Practice making emergency calls with a make-believe phone. Be sure your child has enough change or carries a phone calling card to make a phone call.
- EVERYONE who gets into a car must be properly restrained in the vehicle. This includes seat belts and child restraint systems. All children riding bikes must wear helmets. It's the law!
- Plan and rehearse a walking route to school or the bus stop. Choose the most direct way with the fewest street crossings and use intersections with crossing guards. Test the route with your child. Tell him/her to stay away from parks, vacant lots, fields, and other places that are empty and don't have many people around.
- Make sure children walk to and from school with others - for example a friend, neighbor, or sibling.
- Whether walking, biking, or riding the bus to school, teach children to obey all traffic signals, signs, traffic officers, and safety patrols. Caution them to be extra careful in bad weather.
- When car pooling, drop off and pick up children directly in front of the school. Do not leave until they have entered the school yard or building. Make sure all car pool parents follow this important safety procedure.
- Teach your child never to talk to strangers or accept rides or gifts from strangers. A stranger is anyone you or your children don't know, don't know well or don't trust. Tell them never to accept rides or gifts from someone they and you don't know well.
- Teach children to go to a store clerk, security guard, or police officer for help if lost in a mall or store or on the street.
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