While it’s technically still summer, school has begun and related activities are starting! Some kiddos will return to their previous school, others will attend a new unfamiliar institution. Whatever the case, safety in place is an important matter.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, MMWR on School Health Guidelines to Prevent Unintentional Injuries and Violence, a large percentage of elementary school children visit the school nurse for an injury-related complaint and nearly 4 million children and teenagers are injured at school every year. Most injuries are minor and happen at playgrounds, athletic fields, and gymnasiums.
Middle and high school students sustain more injuries at school than elementary school students. Not surprisingly, male students are more often injured than female students and they are more likely than females to sustain injuries requiring hospitalization. Males are twice as likely as females to sustain a sports-related injury, probably because they are more likely to participate in sports with the highest injury risk. Among sports with substantial numbers of female participants, gymnastics, track and field, and basketball pose the highest risk for nonfatal injury.
Keeping Kids Safe
Preventing injuries at school is not as daunting as it may seem. The website, Classroom gives several suggestions to stakeholders and parents on ways to create a safe physical environment to reduce injuries where children can learn in a safe environment. Suggestions include:
- Create a safety committee that includes students & teachers to design safety rules for all to follow;
- Provide a copy of the safety rules to all students, staff, and parents and post them in multiple places in the school;
- Invite safety experts such as firefighters, Red Cross workers, and health care professionals for discussions on accident prevention;
- Use a monthly checklist list for routine safety checks of playground equipment and kid use areas.
Safety Before and Afterschool
Does your student ride a bike to school or ride in a car with friends or family? If so it is important to know some high school students do not use seat belts when riding in a car with others. Data also suggest that a high percentage of high school students who ride a bicycle to school rarely or never wear a bicycle helmet. Seatbelts have been proven to save lives. Using bicycle helmets can reduce bicycle-related deaths and brain injuries.
While the CDC and MMWR indicate there is no national reporting system for school-related injuries, extrapolating information from that which is reported by certain states and districts provides a look at what can potentially occur before, during and after school, including Florida. School-related safety starts before the kids leave the house!