Sending children to school safely — RISMedia

While an approaching school year is often greeted with anticipation and excitement, it’s also a time when parents need to connect with their children to review safety practices when they return to the classroom.

According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission’s (CPSC) National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, more than 175,000 school injuries have resulted in a visit to a hospital emergency department over the past decade. With that in mind, discuss these safety measures from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons with your children.

Use backpacks correctly. To limit injury or back pain, encourage your children to limit the load they carry and use the two padded straps for good posture and weight distribution. Frequently check that your child is not carrying more than 15% of their body weight in the backpack. Correct use of the two wide, well-padded shoulder straps will help distribute the weight of the backpack more evenly across the back. The bottom of the backpack should sit at the waist with the heaviest items stowed low and towards the center.

Teach children to stretch. Just like adults, spending long periods of time at a desk can take its toll on students. Repetitive stress injuries caused by writing on whiteboards, reading tablets and bending over are common among school staff and students. Taking just 10 minutes to stretch your wrists, shoulders, and back before and during the day can prime your muscles and relieve stress.

Use common sense during recess. According to the CPSC, each year more than 206,000 children under the age of 16 are treated in hospital emergency rooms across the United States for injuries that occur on playgrounds. Remind your children of basic playground safety rules, such as going down the slide one person at a time, sitting down, and facing forward.

Return to sport gently. Summer may have involved swimming, camps, clinics, and time with friends, but fall sports tend to pick up the intensity with injuries common among young athletes that break down into two basic categories: overuse injuries and acute soft tissue injuries (muscles and ligaments). Student-athletes should return to sport, use necessary towels and equipment, and take frequent breaks to avoid dehydration during the preseason.

Resourcefulness. Traffic accidents are a leading cause of serious injury and death in America. Remind children to walk (not run) down the street and to be aware of their surroundings. Look for signs that a car is about to move, such as taillights, engine noise and spinning wheels, to avoid collisions with pedestrians. Walk safely by staying on sidewalks when possible.

Although these tips may seem basic, they can make all the difference when it comes to staying safe, so take the time to discuss these precautions with your children.

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