August 17, 1999
Back to School Safety Tips - Some Hidden Hazards to Look For
- As millions of children head back to school, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
(CPSC) is urging parents, teachers, and caregivers look
for hidden hazards to help prevent injuries and deaths to children.
Each year thousands of children are injured or
killed by "hidden hazards" on the way to school, in the classrooms or child care
settings and on the play grounds. Parents and teachers can help reduce this number
by reviewing a few simple safety tips. Below we have included a Back to School
Safety Checklist as well as some startling statistics.
- Check the surfaces around playground equipment. There should be a 12-inch depth of wood
chips, mulch, sand or pea gravel, or there should be mats made of safety-tested rubber or
fiber material to prevent head injury when a child falls. Each year, more than 200,000
children are treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms for playground-associated
injuries. Most of these injuries occur when a child falls from the equipment.
- Drawstrings on
Jackets and Sweatshirts - Remove drawstrings on hoods or around the neck.
Cut drawstrings at the waist or bottom of jackets and sweatshirts to 3 inches. Since 1985,
22 children have died when drawstrings caught on school buses, playground
equipment and other products.
- Loops on Window Blind
Cords - If the windows in your home, childcare facilities or schools have
blinds, cut the loop on two-corded horizontal blinds, and attach separate tassels to
prevent entanglement and strangulation in window blind cords. Vertical blinds, continuous
loop systems and drapery cords use looped cords to function. Do not cut these loops.
Instead, install a permanent tie-down device. To obtain free tassels and tie down devices
call (800) 506-4636. About one child a month dies from strangulation with
window covering cords.
- Bike Helmets
- Since a growing number of kids are riding their bikes to school, make sure they always
wear their helmet. All bike helmets manufactured or imported for sale in the United States
are required to meet the new federal safety standard set by CPSC. Each year, more than
200 children are killed in bicycle-related incidents, and about 60 percent of these
deaths involve a head injury. Helmet use can reduce the risk of head injury by up to 85
- Soccer Goals
- Anchor soccer goals into the ground to prevent them from tipping over and crushing a
child. Since 1979, CPSC has received reports of 24 deaths from soccer goal tipover.
- Recalled Products
- Ask your care provider or the school's principle or teacher if the school has checked
for recalled products at SafetyAlerts, or the
CPSC website: www.cpsc.gov. If your care provider
or school has access to email, SafeMail can keep them up
to date on the latest recall information.
Safety Alerts compiles comprehensive safety
recall information for the United States. SafeMail is a free email service to warn
consumers of faulty products and contaminated foods. For complete information regarding
current recalls, past recalls and timely product warning notification visit: www.safetyalerts.com.