Health & Safety

August 15, 2014

Safe children No. 1 priority

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Senior Airman MARCY COPELAND
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

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Keeping our children safe is the number one priority for parents, and with all the news involving school violence, how can parents feel more relaxed about dropping their children off at a place that is supposed to be secure and safe?

According to the National Safety Council an estimated 200,000 children visit a hospital emergency room annually due to playground injuries. Improper surfacing on playgrounds is the cause for nearly 80 percent of injuries. Look at the playground at your child’s school. Teach them to avoid concrete, grass and dirt surfaces and look for a playground with mulch, wood fibers, sand, pea gravel, shredded tires or rubber mats with a depth of 12 inches and a six-foot width around all playground equipment.

Remember having to lug around that heavy backpack? A tip to reduce backpack-related injuries is to lighten the load. Only pack your child’s backpack with what is required for the day. Tell your children to wear both straps no matter how nerdy it may look. Also, ensure your child’s backpack matches the size of your child.

More serious concerns involve bullying, theft and predators. The National Crime Prevention Council suggests trying to talk with your children about their day at school. Look for warning signs like a drop in grades, loss of friends or damage to clothing as physical signs of bullying. Teach your child to resolve problems without resorting to physical retaliation. They can try to talk through it, walk away from the bully or stay around a group of people, and if all else fails, seek out an adult. All of these tips apply to theft as well.

Predators can be anyone. Predators can be a relative, stranger or an estranged mother or father. Talk with your child about strangers and the danger they pose. If you pick up your child from school, make sure the school knows who is allowed to pick them up when it’s not you. Have a safe word that only you and your child know. If someone the child doesn’t know attempts to retrieve them from school and cannot give the safe word, your child knows not to leave with them and to immediately alert a school official.

Parents have many fears when leaving their child in the hands of others. As a parent, teach your child about safety in school when confronted with different issues. A relaxed and safe environment is ideal for nurturing children, and a sense of security makes math and science all that much easier to learn.




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