Back to School Safety Tips for Children and Parents
Published in school safety on August 8, 2016.
The beginning of a new school year can be a fun and exciting time for kids, who are full of joy over the promise for the upcoming year. Parents are equally excited, but they often understand that when children go to school, the world introduces them to a new host of hazards. Consider these safety tips for your children’s return to learning and friends.
Sending your child on the school bus for the first time can be both heart-wrenching and nerve-racking. Keep in mind that school buses are one of the safest modes of transportation for getting children to school. School buses keep millions of passenger vehicles away from schools every day, drastically limiting the potential for accidents near schools.
School buses are much safer and more resilient to damage than most other vehicles, as designers long ago engineered them with busy bodies in mind. Most school districts enforce a code of conduct for students on buses, including prohibiting horseplay, excessive noise, and keeping belongings clear of the center aisle. Be sure to emphasize to your child the importance of following these rules.
Bus stops are also a cause for concern. School buses typically stop in centralized areas close to several students’ homes. Discuss with your children that, while roughhousing during the wait for the bus is tempting, they shouldn’t do so near roads or other hazards. A child pushed into the road may be struck by a vehicle or hurt by another child. Many school districts ask parents to volunteer as bus stop supervisors, but if no one is available, it may be a good idea to wait with your child for the bus to arrive, if possible.
Safety on the Playground
Most school districts have spent valuable resources to update playground equipment and make sure it is up to safety standards. Schools also require a certain students-to-teacher ratio to ensure they keep an eye on all the children, and that no one is being hurt or mistreated.
Many children are adventurous, and the words “Hey mom/dad, watch this!” are terrifying to many parents of daredevil children. Be sure to let your children know that it’s possible to have fun while staying safe and make sure they know how to properly use playground equipment.
If your child is injured on a playground, gather as much information about the incident as possible. If there was inadequate supervision, the school or district may be responsible. If defective or dangerous playground equipment caused an injury, you may need to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer for producing a dangerous product or sue the school for negligence if it failed to upgrade its playground equipment to safer modern standards.
Backpack Safety Tips
Believe it or not, your child’s backpack has the potential to cause serious injuries. Children today carry much more in their backpacks than previous generations and also receive a great deal more homework. Be aware of best postures and positions for backpacks, and that they aren’t causing repeated shoulder and back strain. The American Chiropractic Association recommends that a child’s backpack should not exceed 10% of the child’s weight.
The best backpacks have ergonomic designs with padded shoulder straps and backs. Some backpacks also have hip or chest straps to better distribute weight. Pack backpacks with multiple compartments tightly, as books and other items jostling around as your child walks can cause undue strain. It’s also a good idea to purchase a backpack with reflective material or add reflective tape to the backpack so your child stands out to passing traffic on overcast or rainy days.
If your child is injured in Georgia, you may have legal options available. Reach out to the attorneys at Nelson & Smith for a free consultation.