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August 17, 1999

Back to School Safety Tips - Some Hidden Hazards to Look For

WASHINGTON, D.C.(SafetyAlerts) - 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.

  • Playgrounds - 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 percent.
  • 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:  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:



The information contained herein has been obtained from sources that the Company believes to be reliable, however, the Company has not independently verified or confirmed the information and the recipient acknowledges that no representations or warranties are being made in connection with the use of the information.