It’s finally back-to-school season – an exciting time for parents as well as their kids! With classes and after-school activities ramping up again, parents should also begin to think about how to keep their children and teens safe and injury-free. Read on for more tips to kick the school year off safely, because one accident can mean lifelong injury.
Mobile devices and distracted walking
Whether it’s a smart phone or handheld game console, a distraction that takes a kid’s eyes off of any dangers around them can be deadly. Every day, 61 children are hit by cars, according to a SafeKids.org study. Adults can make deadly mistakes because of smart phones, too – make sure your child is prepared and aware of risks in their surroundings, like distracted drivers.
Don’t walk while texting or talking and pay attention to surroundings, especially traffic. Only cross the street in designated crossing areas – always looking left, right, and then left again before crossing – and leave the headphones off until they’re safely out of the road.
Getting to and from school
The most common way to get to school is with a parent or carpool. Always be sure your child wears their seatbelt while riding with you, and if they’re catching a ride to school with a friend, instill the importance of wearing it no matter what.
If you have a teen that is just beginning to drive themselves to school, be sure that they have had plenty of supervised practice with you or another adult driver. A teenager’s first year of driving runs the highest risk of accidents, so along with plenty of practice, be sure your child understands to avoid distractions while driving and always keep their eyes on the road – never on a text.
Many children also take the bus, but an accident can happen to and from the bus. Ensure your child arrives at their stop to catch the bus early so that they aren’t in a rush – they can avoid darting into the street in front of a car to catch their ride. It is also much safer to stay on the sidewalk and avoid stepping over the curb into the street.
If your child rides their bike to school, teach them the importance of always wearing a helmet – just like any other sports activity, it requires safety equipment! Ensure they are always riding with and not against traffic, and are always aware of cars and other pedestrians around them.
Playground, gym, and sports safety
Make sure your child who participates in sports has a full physical to ensure there are no underlying issues. Be sure they wear protective gear faithfully, and check for fit as they grow.
Over 200,000 kids 14 years old and younger are injured on the playground yearly, so be aware of the playground equipment and voice any concerns to the child’s teacher or the administration.
Concussions are always a risk on the field or during recess – a fall during even safe play can happen. Let your child know that if he or she falls or bumps their head, they should definitely see the school nurse and notify you. They should also sit out the rest of practice or gym class until a health professional has examined them for symptoms of concussion.