Back to School: Reduce the Risk of Injury at School
August can be a hard month—sweltering heat, wilting flower beds, and no long holiday weekends. For those eighteen and under, it’s back to school and the official end of summer. With students heading back to school this month, the risk of injury goes up as millions of children are being driven, bussed, and walk back to schools throughout the country.
According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission’s (CPSC), more than 175,000 school injuries have resulted in a visit to a hospital emergency department over the past decade. Additionally, every year, an average of two million high schoolers suffer an injury related to athletics and extracurricular activities, 500,000 of them requiring a doctor visit and 30,000 of them requiring hospitalization.
The data also reveals that school injuries tend to occur more frequently at certain times of the year, especially toward the beginning of the school year. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ spokesperson, Dr. Matthew R. Schmitz, stated “during the first few months of the school year, everyone is adapting to new routines, bus routes and even sports teams, which may spur the conditions for accidents and injuries.”
Here are some quick tips to make sure the students in your life—from kindergarten to college—can reduce the risk of injury as they head back to school:
- Look left and look right: Far too many students are seriously injured at the bus stop, with an average of 22 school-ages pedestrians dying every year between 2012-2021 and over 1,000 injuries each year. Even on a school campus, with busy loading zones and playgrounds near roadways, serious and fatal injuries often occur. Encourage the students in your life to walk—not run—and to always be observant of their surroundings when near roadways or parking lots.
- Ease in to the extra-curriculars and sports: Millions of students play in sports and other extra-curricular activities that increase the risk of injury. Heat exhaustion—especially in early August when school begins—is one of the most prevalent injuries student athletes suffer. Make sure your students are well-hydrated and have the right gear for their activity. Also make sure their practices and games are well-supervised with medical treatments available. Last, never forget to stretch and warm up before engaging in n athletic activity.
- Take it easy on the playground: A staggering 220,000 children are treated each year for injuries occurring on a playground. While everyone loves having fun on the swing set, slides, and monkey bars, playgrounds should always be well-supervised to make sure children are playing safely. Additionally, playgrounds need to be free of bullying that can increase risk-taking behavior.
- Don’t overload with books: Heavy backpacks can cause serious and long-lasting injury, especially when worn incorrectly or worn by small children toting heavy books and other items. Make sure the students in your life leave home wearing their backpack correctly and not too overloaded.
- Be observant and engaged: Unfortunately, one of the leading causes of injuries for school children is harm from the violent actions of others and from self-harm. Always be mindful and compassionate about the mental health of the students in your life. Be sure to know the mental health resources the school has available in the event they are needed.
At the start of this school year, the Poppe Law Firm hopes all the students in your life have an A+ semester without any unexpected trips to the school nurse. If, however, a student in your life suffers a serious injury, please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at 502-895-3400.