[profileleft][/profileleft]It’s that time again – summer is winding down, family vacations are winding up and people are starting to think about going back to school. In most parts of the country, August is when schools open for the academic year. Parents are starting to make sure that their young ones have all of the clothing and supplies they will need. Young people need are starting to prepare for another year of work and learning. According to the National Safety Council, that means that we should reexamine our awareness levels of certain dangers young people face, as August is National Back to School Month. Children’s safety becomes an issue when school starts, and the children’s rights lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys want to provide some information to help parents and children understand how to best keep themselves from harm.
The New School Year and Bullying
This year, more than 50 million kids are going to be attending schools between pre-kindergarten and the 12th grade in the United States. While this is an exciting time for kids, it can also become a scary time for those who endure bullying. According to Pacer.org, the following statistics relate to school bullying in the United States:
- More than 20 percent of students have reported being bullied during the school year.
- Nearly two-thirds of students who are bullied never report it.
- School-based bullying prevention programs reduce bullying by as much as 25 percent.
As parents, you should watch for signs of bullying in your children. If your child seems withdrawn, loses his or her appetite, stops sleeping well or exhibits any other type of change, act on your instincts and look into it. If there is no anti-bullying program, ask for one.
Children’s Safety While Walking
As schools open, streets will suddenly be filled with school buses, cars and of course people walking to and from school. Drivers need to be aware of this and exercise more caution. According to the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, there is risk in walking and bicycling to school:
- In 2009, approximately 23,000 children between the ages of 5 and 15 were injured while walking or bicycling in the United States.
- That same year, more than 250 children in the same age range were killed.
- Overall, people are more than twice as likely to be hit by vehicles while walking in areas without sidewalks.
These statistics should alert parents to do a few things, including:
- Review the route that your children will take to school if walking or riding their bicycles.
- Review the proper steps to take before crossing the road while walking.
- Review the proper way to navigate through traffic while on a bicycle.
- Make sure your child wears a helmet while riding a bicycle.
Nothing will ever prevent every single traffic accident, but a few preventative steps could make an enormous difference.
Children’s Safety on Playgrounds
With a new school year will come time on playgrounds for most children. While exercise is obviously important for any growing child, playground injuries are also a serious problem. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- More than 200,000 children under the age of 15 report to emergency rooms because of playground injuries every year.
- More than 20,000 of these children are treated for traumatic brain injuries.
- Approximately 75 percent of child playground injuries occur at public places including schools.
If you’re concerned about the safety of the playground at your child’s school, speak to administrators to make sure that proper monitoring is in place during playtimes. Do not give up if you do not get the answers you need.
Driving Safely Near Schools
Children’s rights lawyers have all heard horrible stories about children who were injured or worse on their way to or from school. We provided the statistics above, but motorists who drive near schools during the school year need to take extra precautions, including:
- Drive at a low speed to minimize the chance that an accident will occur.
- Place all cell phones and other distractions in places where they can’t be reached.
- Do not assume that children understand the norms of traffic flow as well as adults.
Every split second matters while behind the wheel, so take that miniscule amount of time to give yourself and others the best chance to avoid something tragic.
Protecting Children’s Safety with Children’s Rights Lawyers
The children’s rights lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys hope that everyone has a safe and fulfilling school year. Unfortunately, the statistics above indicate that some people will be harmed. If this happens to one of your children, contact the firm immediately to schedule a free initial consultation.