It’s That Time Again: Back to School Safety August 19, 2019
With the upcoming school season approaching, now is the time to go over the most useful tips that help kids and teens stay safe during the school year. We have compiled some of the National Safety Council’s (NSC) key school safety tips for our readers and their loved ones below.
School Safety Topics
According to the NSC, there are a few main school safety topics that parents and their kids need to discuss. Because most school-related injuries are entirely preventable, being informed is critical.
These days, kids and teens tend to carry lots of heavy books, binders, and notes. Picking a backpack that is designed ergonomically (intended to protect the wearer’s body) helps prevent avoidable – though sometimes serious – back and neck injuries. Here are some of the NSC’s tips on packing and wearing backpacks in a manner to avoid injuries:
- Always wear both straps of a backpack in order to distribute weight evenly;
- Be careful if using rolling backpacks; they can create tripping hazards in school hallways, and:
- Make sure backpacks weigh no more than 5-10% of the child or teen’s weight.
Sports and Playground Safety
Most kids and teens play sports. While some injuries are bound to happen, serious ones – like concussions and other traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs – are critical to guard against. Some of the most common causes of concussions and traumatic brain injuries in younger people are collisions resulting in a blow or jolt to the head during recreational sports and other physical activities, as well as falls. Some symptoms of concussions are:
- Nausea and/or vomiting,
- Disorientation and confusion,
- Memory problems, and:
- Lack of coordination
If you believe that your child is showing signs of a concussion, seek medical attention immediately. Concussions are completely treatable, but if they are not caught they can cause severe consequences to a person’s health.
There are many different ways that kids and teens get to school: some walk, others bike or take the bus, and many more drive or carpool with parents or friends. It is important for adults who drive children to school to remember the importance of following school zone speed limits and to observe a school’s drop-off guidelines. Drivers should never pass buses that are picking up or unloading students.
Bus and Bike Riders
Parents and caregivers can teach kids how to get on and off of school buses carefully, which helps to prevent bus-related injuries. The NSC says that bus riders should always:
- Stand six feet (or three giant steps) away from the curb at all times;
- Walk on the side of the road until they are at least 10 feet ahead of the bus if they have to cross the street in front of it to walk home, and:
- Stay in their seats at all times (except if there is an emergency and the bus driver advises otherwise) while riding on a school bus
For bike riders, always being aware is one of the best ways to prevent a serious accident from occurring. Parents should talk to children who bike to school about the following safety topics:
- Coming to a complete stop before crossing the street and then walking – NOT riding – the bike across the intersection,
- Avoid distracted riding. This includes listening to music, drinking, eating, using a cell phone, or any other behavior that takes a biker’s attention off the road,
- Always wear a proper, fitted helmet and bright, easy-to-spot clothing, and:
- Ride on the right side of the road (with traffic) in single file
Although the few weeks before the new school year can be a stressful and chaotic time, it is also the time to celebrate each child’s progress and growth. Going over school safety and health topics with your loved ones is just another way to ensure that each school year goes smoothly.
Philadelphia Premises Liability Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Represent Children Injured at School
If your child was injured or became ill because of safety failures on school grounds, please contact our Philadelphia premises liability lawyers. Galfand Berger has offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Reading and Lancaster, and we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.