With the start of a new academic year, parents worry about the safety of their children whether it is while traveling, carrying their heavy backpacks, safety on the school campus, while in the playground, during sports or other physical activities.
The spread of communicable diseases, too, rises as well as seasonal allergies and injuries like bruises, sprains, and concussions. Some of the germiest places in the school are the water fountains, school desks, door knobs and handles, toilets and the playground.
So, basically, children need to be careful right from the time they leave home for school, during the time spent in school and on the journey, back from school to home.
So here are some safety rules that should keep in mind for student’s safety:
While traveling: Whether your children walks or rides a bike to school or travels by a school bus, certain rules have to be followed in order to ensure student safety formulated by the National Safety Council and First Student.
While walking, stay alert, do not listen to music with headphones on, avoid texting or playing video games. Leave home with ample time in hand to reach the school bus or the school if you walk to school, walk on the sideways, keep away from the streets and follow all traffic rules.
Though the safest mode of transportation for school children is the school bus, there are some guidelines to be followed for a safe ride:
While waiting for the bus, do not stray onto streets or alleys and avoid roughhousing. Before approaching the bus, wait for it to come to a complete stop and use the handrail while boarding and alighting.
While on the bus, use seat belts, do not move around, or put your arms, head or hands out of the window. Keep your belongings away from the aisles, do not make too much noise so as not to distract the driver, wait for the bus to stop before leaving your seat.
If you have to cross from in front of the bus, walk at least 10 feet ahead so that the driver can see you.
If you are traveling in your private car, it is important for the driver to be mentally alert, and not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs during driving, follow the traffic rules and avoid using electronic devices to minimize injuries or death due to road accidents.
Too heavy backpacks can cause back and shoulder pain in children leading to poor posture. The American Chiropractic Association recommends that a child should carry a backpack no more than 10% of the child’s weight to prevent neck and spinal problems. Also, while selecting a backpack for your child, select an ergonomic design, the right size with padded shoulder and back straps. Preferably it should have multiple compartments to distribute the weight and make sure your child uses both the straps while carrying the backpack; hip and chest belts help transfer weight to the torso and hips.
Backpack on wheels is common these days and considered cool, but they can cause tripping hazards and also clutter the school corridors; hence it is advisable to be used by students who have a physical disability.
Playground and Sports safety:
It is important that older children be involved in some form of sports so that they remain physically fit and active and are far away from the inevitable weight gain. Sports teach children teamwork, discipline and handling victory or defeat.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, more than 20,000 children below the age of 14, suffer traumatic brain injuries caused by falls and playground equipment.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission cautions to watch out for playground hazards that includes fall surfaces area material with which the area is filled and its depth, around the play equipment.
The equipment should be properly maintained to avoid hazards due to protrusion or sharp edges in which clothing items or strings can be caught. Falls risks can be minimized by guardrails; children should be supervised and guided to use age appropriate equipment.
However, a concussion is a common sports-related injury, especially in athletes involved in basketball, football, soccer and cheerleading. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, girls seem to be at a higher risk than boys; and that most concussions occur during games rather than during practice.
Concussions are serious head injuries that require medical attention that can cause loss of consciousness, confusion, disorientation or changes in personality, mood or behavior, hence should never be ignored.
Apart from these precautions, parents should ensure the school’s safety measures are followed, know of their child’s plans if any after school. Keep the school updated about all emergency contact numbers and inform the school of the medical condition and history of the student clearly.