While an approaching school year is often met with anticipation and excitement, it’s also a time when parents should connect with their children to review safety practices as they head back 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 steps from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons with your children.
Use backpacks properly. To limit injuries or back pain, encourage your children to limit the load they carry and utilize both padded straps for proper posture and weight distribution. Check frequently that your child is not carrying more than 15% of his or her body weight in the backpack. The correct use of both 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 heavier things packed low and toward the center.
Teach kids to stretch. Just like adults, spending long periods of time at a desk can take its toll on students. Repetitive stress injuries from writing on whiteboards, reading tablets, and bending down are common among school staff and students alike. Taking just 10 minutes to stretch your wrists, shoulders, and back before and during the day can prepare your muscles and provide stress relief.
Use common sense during playtime. According to the CPSC, each year, more than 206,000 children under the age of 16 are treated in hospital emergency rooms across the U.S. for injuries occurring on playgrounds. Remind your children about basic playground safety, such as going down the slide one person at a time, sitting down, and facing forward.
Ease back into sports. Summer may have involved swimming, camps, clinics, and time with friends, but fall sports tend to pick up the intensity with common injuries among young athletes falling into two basic categories: overuse injuries and acute injuries to the soft tissues (muscles and ligaments). Student-athletes should ease back into sports, use the required pads and equipment and take frequent water breaks to avoid dehydration in the preseason.
Street smarts. Traffic accidents are a major cause of serious injury and death in America. Remind kids to walk—not run—across the street and be vigilant about their surroundings. Look for signs that a car is about to move, such as rear lights, and the sound of the motor and wheels turning, to prevent pedestrian crashes. Walk safely by staying on sidewalks when possible.
While 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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