Now that a new school year has started, parents are probably relieved to experience some peace and quiet—at least until next summer rolls around. However, parents also should be aware of the dangers their children face at school.
Most schools do everything possible to make sure that students are safe. But that doesn’t mean that your son or daughter won’t suffer a serious injury while at school, so read on for more information about the potential hazards your children face.
You probably remember playing on the jungle gym and travelling at high speeds down slides. Do you also remember the bumps and bruises you suffered?
Children are resilient, but each year thousands of children end up visiting the emergency room for injuries sustained on the playground. Common injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Dislocated joints
- Cuts or scrapes
To help protect your children, visit the school and look at the playground equipment together. Encourage your children to play safely and not to fight with other children while on the playground. You can also check with the school to see what kind of supervision is available. If your child is injured, he or she will need immediate medical treatment, so it is best that children are closely monitored.
Collisions with Motor Vehicles
Far too many drivers operate their vehicles recklessly in school zones. For example, parents who are running behind schedule might shoot in and out of school to drop off their kids, but they are not looking for young pedestrians also walking to school. Some children are also struck getting on or off the school bus by drivers who do not follow traffic safety rules.
Unfortunately, parents cannot control what other drivers do. However, you can take certain steps to decrease the odds that your children will get hit by a careless or reckless motorist:
- If you drop your children off at school, make sure to drop them off in front of the building. Making them cross a street only increases the odds they will be hit.
- Tell your children to only cross in front of the bus if they can see the bus driver.
- When crossing an intersection, children should wait for the school guard to tell them to walk. If there is no guard, then your children should look both ways before entering the crosswalk.
Playing sports has many benefits, including increased fitness, reduced obesity, and higher self-esteem. Unfortunately, school sports also lead to injuries that require a trip to the emergency room—more than 2.6 million trips, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At this rate, sports-related injuries are the single largest cause of injuries at school.
To protect your child, emphasize the importance of warming up and cooling down properly. You should also go over the rules of the game and make sure your children follow them.
Unfortunately, many children are injured because other children do not follow the rules but instead engage in rough play. Talk to school officials about whether school officials rigorously enforce the rules to prevent aggressive play and injuries.
A regular school backpack is a very handy device, allowing children to transport books and other equipment easily. Unfortunately, an overstuffed backpack is a very heavy weight, and young bodies are not prepared to carry something so heavy.
According to the National Safety Council, parents can do the following to protect their children from backpack injuries:
- Make sure the backpack contains no more than 5-10% of the child’s weight. If your child only weighs 70 pounds, their backpack should not weigh 10 pounds.
- Don’t buy a backpack that is wider or longer than your child’s torso.
- Buy a backpack with padded shoulder straps.
- Backpacks with multiple compartments are better since they evenly distribute weight.
You might want to buy a backpack with wheels, which is certainly easier on your child’s body. However, if too many children have them at school, then they quickly clutter the hallway and become hazards that children can trip over. It’s best to buy an appropriately-sized backpack that your child can wear.
School violence is an unfortunate reality in many schools. Apart from school shootings that garner the lion’s share of attention, other violence includes:
- Slamming children into walls and lockers
Violence is completely unacceptable, and concerned parents should talk to school officials about how they will handle precursors to violence like bullying and harassment. Parents definitely want to hear school officials with solid ideas about how they maintain civility. If your principal acts as if she has never considered the issue, then there could be a problem.
Also discuss whether the school has a safety plan to handle a school shooting or other incident. Children and staff need procedures for staying safe, whether that involves exiting the building in an orderly fashion or sheltering in place.
Injuries Caused by Dangerous Premises
Some of our schools are fairly old and themselves pose as hazards to children. For example, children can suffer injuries:
- Tripping on broken tile
- Slipping on wet floors
- Falling on worn carpets or down stairways
- Getting crushed by collapsing shelves or bookcases
- Tripping on cracked pavement parking lots or stepping into potholes
Some schools might also use defective or old products, such as Bunsen burners, that create risks for children. It might be a good idea to walk through the school to check for the overall condition of the building. If you notice any obvious hazards, bring them to the attention of the administration, who should address them promptly.
Las Vegas Attorneys Here for You
We hope that everyone has a safe and happy school year, but if an accident happens you need to think about your child’s rights.
Ladah Law Firm is a leading Las Vegas personal injury firm representing children and adults injured through no fault of their own. If you suspect someone else caused your child’s injury, please reach out to us today for a free initial consultation.