Back to School: Right Time to Make Safety Priority One

<p><br>As autumn arrives in New England, droves of college students aren’t the only ones heading back to school. Indeed, the area’s elementary schools are also awash in bright young faces ready for another year in the classroom. Amidst parents’ rejoicing at the onset of the new academic year, it’s also an important time to review safety procedures and instill the importance of caution during school day commutes, on playgrounds, and in school buses.

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<h4 class="pageTitle">Make the playground safe and sound </h4>

<p>While recess ranks as the highlight of the day for many children, playgrounds are also the place where many injuries occur. Not surprisingly, playgrounds are the place where 76% of our children’s injuries occur, most of which are actually preventable. Safety advocates from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts advocate the following to avoid common injuries:</p>

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<li>Take off any loose items of clothing or jewelry that could catch on playground equipment or create choking hazards, such as scarves, necklaces, bags, and garments with drawstrings</li>

<li>Instruct children never to engage in high-risk activities such as tripping, pushing, or shovinggs</li>

<li>Make sure all playground areas have fall-safe surfaces such as sand, rubber mats, turf, or mulchgs</li>

<li>Teach children not to play in areas with debris such as sharp metal or broken glassgs</li>

<li>Prevent children under four years of age from playing unsupervised on climbing equipment, which is responsible for 40% of all playground injuriesgs</li>

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<h4 class="pageTitle">Don’t let traffic mean trouble</h4>

<p>The playground is not the only place where injuries can occur and safety must be stressed. The commute to and from school can also pose dangers to our children. The time spent waiting for riding on school buses can be a particularly risky time. Children should be reminded that during this time of day it’s important not play near the street, engage with strangers, or cross the street in front of buses or other vehicles. Children should also be frequently reminded of school buses’ “danger zones,” which are 10-foot areas around the bus in which drivers simply cannot see children. </p>

<h4 class="pageTitle">Regular reminders</h4>

<p>For parents and children, it’s important to remember that lapses in safety and judgment may mean serious injuries. Just recently, two Nashua elementary aged sisters were injured as they arrived at school with their mother when a driver leaving the morning drop-off line collided with them and then crashed into a planter. While the girls quickly recovered, school accidents such as this serve as stark reminders of the need for caution and vigilance during the school year.&nbsp;</p>

<p><strong>Be safe!</strong></p>

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