As the summer wraps up and colder mornings roll in, bus stops are once again occupied by the youth as they set off for school. Naturally, this is a time for both nerves and excitement- especially as many are going back to in-person classes for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. This could be considered a large factor in the likelihood that there will be an influx of child injuries, especially when considering that the CDC estimates 9.2 emergency room visits for children with an unintentional injury. In all the excitement, it is important to be knowledgeable of the common risks and precautions that should be taken to avoid injury during “back to school” season.
Despite the fact that the posted speed limit in Connecticut school zones is 25 miles per hour, many drivers tend to drive recklessly in these areas. The epidemic of distracted driving also plays a part in the countless injuries young pedestrians acquire each year. An alarming statistic found that there has been a 13 percent increase in the death rate of teenage pedestrians. There are several actions that young pedestrians can take to ensure their safety when crossing the street. For instance:
- Only crossing at a designated crosswalk
- Waiting for the correct lights and looking both ways
- Limiting the use of electronic devices
- Removing headphones on busy roadways and at crosswalks
Getting back to active endeavors can pose an issue after being away from it for so long. Getting involved in- or back into- sports can lead to sprains, torn muscles, and fractures. The risk of concussions or a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is naturally higher in those who play contact sports. We often experience the last of summer's high temperatures during the first month or two of school. Physical activity, combined with the high temperatures, can increase the body's core temperature to a point where there is imminent risk of heat-stroke. Proper safety measures, such as wearing the appropriate gear, stretching, and staying hydrated will cut down on the risk of such injuries.
School Bus Accidents
This is the most common mode of transport for our nation's youth as they make their way to school. A 2019 statistic from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 13,000 people sustained injuries in an accident that involved a school bus. Many steps can be taken to limit the number of school bus related injuries. To name a few:
- Ensuring a greater distance between one's car and a school bus while traveling on the same road.
- Looking out for buses before utilizing a crosswalk.
- Holding bus companies like First Student, Durham School Services, and DATTCO accountable for driver training, required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's 2016 ruling.
The state of Connecticut saw an unfortunate increase in fatal motor vehicle accidents involving teenage drivers. Young drivers are inexperienced and less risk adverse than their older counterparts. This, coupled with cell phone use and other distracted driving practices, can lead to more accidents at a time when there is greater traffic on the roadways. Some tips to limit the number of teen driving accidents are as follows:
- Restrict driving past sunset. Teens are more likely to be involved in a fatal crash during nighttime hours, according to the CDC.
- Require seatbelts. After all, buckling up is the law in many states, including Connecticut.
- Prohibit common distractors. Enforce a no cell phone rule and limit the number of non- family passengers a teen may get in the car with, both as the driver or a passenger.
- Lead by example. All these suggestions go out the window as soon as an impressionable teen witnesses their role models partaking in dangerous driving behavior.
Connecticut Injury Lawyers
Please enjoy this exciting time of year and be sure to take the necessary precautions to avoid common back to school injuries. The injury lawyers at Hastings, Cohan and Walsh have decades of experience handling these types of cases. If you or your child has been injured in any type of accident, you should know exactly what you should and should not do immediately after. Our client's job is to concentrate on getting better while we take care of everything else. Call our Ridgefield office at 888-244-5480 or click here for a free virtual consultation.