Every parent’s top concern is the safety of their child; however, we can often feel a sense of helplessness as our children move beyond our immediate supervision and away from our protection. Such is the case when your child is at school.
While most school safety news these days focuses on preventing and reacting to intentional acts of violence, we as parents cannot forget the risk of unintentional injury. In fact, while at school, your child is nine times more likely to be injured in an accident then by an act of violence.
The following safety tips can help reduce their risk of unintentional injury.
Safety Tips for Traveling To and From School
Plan a Route. Whether your child walks to school, bikes, or rides the bus, having a safe route to their destination is essential. Choose the most direct path with the fewest street crossing possible. Also, try to use intersections that have crossing guards.
Practice the Route with Your Child. Consider practicing the route with your child a few times before schools starts so they feel confident and ready when it comes time to make the trip on their own. Advise your child to avoid empty parks, vacant lots, fields, or any other place where there aren’t many people.
Teach Your Child to Never Talk to Strangers. Warn your child to never talk to strangers, even if they offer rides or gifts. A stranger is anyone your child does not know well or that they do not trust.
Use the Buddy System. Have your child walk to their school or bus stop with a sibling, neighbor, or friend. Reach out to other neighbor families and coordinate a travel group. Consider whether a stay-at-home parent is willing to lead the group.
Teach Your Kids About Traffic Signals. Your child should observe and obey all traffic signals, signs, and officers. Remind them to take extra precautions during poor weather.
Drop Your Kids Off As Close to the School as Possible. If you drive your kids to school, drop them off as close to the school as possible. Most schools have a clearly marked drop off zone with adults standing by. Do not leave until they are in the schoolyard or building.
If Your Child Rides a Bike to School, They Need a Helmet. Helmets can reduce the risk of head injury by up to 85 percent. Make sure their helmet meats one of the following safety standards: U.S. CPSC, Snell, ANSI, ASTM, or Canadian.
Be Sure Your Child Knows Their Emergency Contact Numbers. You child should know how to call 911 and should know the cell and work numbers of at least two trusted adults as well as their home address.
Playground Safety Tips for Your Child
Check the Equipment. Take time to check the playground equipment at your child’s school. Look for hazards, including rusted or broken equipment and dangerous surfaces.
Avoid Jackets and Hoodies with Dangerous Drawstrings. Drawstrings at the waist or near the bottom of jackets should extend no more than three inches. Any longer and there is a risk they can get caught in car and bus doors or on playground equipment. Avoid any drawstrings on the hood or around the neck of hoodies and jackets.
Make Sure Equipment is Anchored. If your child’s school has backstops or soccer goals, make sure they are anchored to the ground to prevent tip over accidents.
Enforce Proper Playground Behavior. Your child should know that pushing, shoving, and crowding on playground equipment is dangerous and not allowed.
Keep and Eye Out for Recalls. Schools, daycare providers and parents can receive recall information by fax, email, or in the regular mail free of charge by calling the Consumer Product Safety Commission hotline at 800-638-2772, or visiting the organization’s web site.
Contact an Experienced Child Injury Attorney
Thousands of children each year suffer from injuries at school and on playground equipment. Sadly, many of these accidents could have been prevented altogether if the property owners took the proper steps to ensure a safe area for children. When negligence causes your child’s injury, you may be entitled to recover damages, including medical costs, psychological trauma, or pain and suffering. If your child was injured at school or at a playground, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our child injury attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends to provide you with a free legal consultation.