American Academy of Pediatrics Stresses Importance of Emergency Preparedness in Schools
August 9, 2022
Injured students? According to current estimates from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), approximately 10% to 25% of childhood injuries occur while the child is in school. In the AAP’s newly updated policy statement entitled “Individual Medical Emergencies Occurring at School”, the academy stresses how important it is for schools to be prepared for an array of medical, behavioral, and traumatic injuries that children or school staff may experience.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that more than 40% of school-aged children and adolescents have at least one chronic health condition. Some examples of chronic health conditions that can increase a child’s chance of experiencing a medical emergency at school include certain food and medication allergies, asthma, diabetes, epilepsy and obesity. Some of the critical information that the AAP took into consideration when updating its policy statement is the increase in the number of children with chronic health conditions and special health care needs that attend schools across the United States.
Types of Medical Emergencies
To mitigate the risks associated with a lack of emergency medical response regarding children who have special health care needs and chronic conditions, the AAP encourages all schools to have comprehensive plans in place that effectively address and prepare for potential medical emergencies that may occur, such as:
- Diabetes and diabetic shock
- Allergies and anaphylaxis
- Substance use
- Mental illness
- Asthma attacks
Other types of medical emergencies that may occur during the school day include fainting, head injuries, dehydration, traumatic falls, digestive issues and sprains, strains and fractures.
Are Schools Responsible for Keeping Students Safe?
Even though accidents and illnesses happen every day, schools still have a legal obligation to provide students with a safe environment. If a student is injured due to a lack of supervision or the failure to maintain equipment or school grounds, the school may be found liable. Despite the requirement of providing students with a safe environment, however, there are no federal laws that oversee school nursing requirements. In Philadelphia, for example, more than a dozen schools in the district lack full-time nurses. Some schools share nursing staff, while others have none. In schools without nurses, teachers, secretarial staff and other staff members are left to render medical aid to students.
The AAP’s updated policy statement sheds light on this major public health concern. While some school districts across the country are bolstering their budgets to hire nurses, many discover that there is a shortage of medical professionals to take the positions. Without adequate nursing staff on site, children – particularly those with chronic health conditions and specialized health care needs – are left in the lurch.
If your child became ill or was injured while at school and you have questions about filing a personal injury claim, someone at our firm can help. To learn more, contact a representative online now.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP, Representing Injured Victims Since 1947
If you have a question about filing a legal claim, contact the Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP today. Call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Harrisburg.