Whether we like it or not, summer is coming to an end. Soon the days will be shorter, the temperatures will turn cooler, and our children will go back to school. The beginning of a new school year can be both exciting and stressful for many families, and the following tips are provided to help ensure that your family transitions into a new school year safely:
- Drive safely. You may be driving your child to a new school and navigating a new route. Or perhaps you have a new teen driver in your household who will be driving to school. Whatever the situation, it is important to remember safe driving habits. Drive slowly on unfamiliar roadways. Stay alert. Always wear your seat belt and never text and drive. If you or your child will be driving on roadways that are unfamiliar, you may want to do a trial run a few days before school begins so that you are familiar with the traffic patterns and not rushed on the first few days of school.
- Enforce safe riding habits. Remind your children to always wear a seat belt when riding in someone else’s vehicle, and enforce passenger seat belt use in your own vehicle. Not only does seat belt minimize the risk of injury, it’s also the law. Illinois law requires all passengers, including backseat passengers, to wear a seat belt.
- Check the playground for safety.According to the National Safety Council, more than 230,000 children visited hospital emergency rooms because of playground injuries in 2009 alone. The vast majority of playground injuries (about 80%) are sustained in falls. The National Safety Council recommends playgrounds with wood chips, mulch, wood fibers, sand, pea gravel, shredded tires, and rubber mats; parents and caregivers should avoid playgrounds with concrete surfacing.
- Walk on the sidewalk.If your child walks to school, remind them to use the sidewalk and cross busy streets at those intersections with a crossing guard. Remind children to stop and look left, right, and left again to see if cars are coming. Parents and caregivers should practice walking to school with their child as well.
- Teach children bus safety. Remind children not to run into the path of a bus to pick up dropped items and to look both ways before stepping off the bus to make sure that there are no cars passing on the side of the road. Parents and caregivers can check the safety record of their child’s school bus by visiting the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s A&I Online Safety Measurement System “Carrier Search” tool at http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/sms/Data/Search.aspx.
- Children should wear properly fitted protective gear. For instance, if a child is riding his or her bike to school, he or she should always wear a bike helmet. If a child is playing football or hockey, make sure that the school or league provides appropriate protective gear, including helmets.
- Stay hydrated. At the beginning of the school year, the temperatures are oftentimes still quite warm. Remind your children to drink plenty of water throughout the day, and while participating in after school sporting activities.
- Remind children to never talk to strangers.
- Avoid any drawstrings around the neck of jackets and sweatshirts.Drawstrings around the neck can present a choking hazard. Drawstrings at the waist or bottom of jackets should be no longer than three inches to prevent catching in car doors or getting caught on playground equipment.
The Chicago personal injury lawyers at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish are committed to promoting child safety and protecting the victims of personal injury accidents. If your child was injured as a result of someone’s negligence, we will fight to get you maximum money damages, including medical bills, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. Contact one of our personal injury attorneys to schedule a free consultation to discuss your personal injury claims. Steinberg Goodman & Kalish (www.sgklawyers.com) is dedicated to protecting victims and their families. We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (888) 325-7299 or (312) 445-9084.