As a society, we have always wanted to ensure that our children are safe and well cared for. It it implied that when we turn our children over at the schoolhouse door, they will be kept reasonably safe from all harm. Traditionally, we have feared playground or sports related injuries at school or school bus accidents as the biggest risk for our students while at school. Lately, however; and unfortunately, we see different sorts of dangers our children need to be aware of. From highly publicized local teacher molestation cases to the tragic Connecticut school shooting, we are in a new world of dealing with injuries to our children.
Who is responsible for injuries incurred by our children while in the care and custody of their school? Do parents have any recourse against a teacher or a school district? There are legal options which you may not be aware of. Traditional injuries suffered at school may have several areas of legal recourse which may be available. Pain and injury should not be part of early childhood education.
Even under the best supervision and care, a child can still get injured in the classroom or on the playground. Playgrounds particularly present certain dangers to children if they are not appropriately utilized or if their is improper supervision. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 75% of nonfatal playground injuries occur at public parks, including schools and daycare centers. Also, the statistic states that a child’s parent is most often not present when a child suffers a playground injury, so you may not know the full story of what happened to cause the injury to your child.
If you feel that a lack of supervision or improper maintenance contributed to your child’s playground injury, you may have legal options. If school safety is responsible for the circumstances which led to your child being injured, you may have legal recourse. If a teacher or someone who is responsible for the safety of your child has breached the trust you have entrusted to them, resulting in abusive treatment and injury to your child, you may need the services of a caring and compassionate personal injury lawyer. Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S.
Dawson today to discuss your potential personal injury lawsuit. Call Jeff at 949/861-2191 for an appointment to review your case.
With this in mind, it is important for parents to make their kids aware of potentially dangerous situations so that they can be avoided.
Children should be taught how to properly use the following playground equipment to avoid dangerous yet common injuries.
- Climbing elements
- Elements that require hanging
Interacting with your child on the playground can teach them how to play safely and avoid harmful injuries when you are not able to play with them. Many injuries at public facilities are related to falling after climbing on objects that were not intended for climbing. It is crucial for your child’s safety that they know how to play safely on playgrounds.
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All learning environments will have a safety plan and procedure manual so familiarise yourself with it so you will know what to do if a child is injured. Record keeping will be a part of the plan so make sure you give an honest and full description of what happened. This should be a ‘no blame’ and unbiased entry, signed and dated.
It is also necessary to have a first aid certificate so you will know what to do in case of injury. You may well be the first person of contact and the person who has to describe to the ambulance paramedic, parent, or head teacher what has happened, and the treatment already given, to the child.
Within Your Learning Area – Having a safe learning area is paramount when you are responsible for learners. Make classroom rules with the learners at the beginning of each year and stick to them. Make each learner aware of what the rules are by displaying them and referring to them when a rule is broken. Carry through with consequences and reassess the rules frequently to keep the learning area safe. Make sure all equipment works and is safe to be used in your learning area.
In the Playground – Children develop at different rates and their body strength and visual and auditory perception can differ greatly from each other when playing in the playground areas. Playground injuries are greatest in primary school and early childhood. Encourage learners to take care around climbing equipment and swings. Keep a close watch in these areas and assist when necessary without restricting the learner. Have equipment that is appropriate to the age and development of the learner. Don’t allow the use of skateboards and bikes in the playground where others are playing. In an early childhood area have a special place for ride on toys. Make sure children are well supervised in the playground.
Before and After School – Depending upon age all children should have a routine for coming to and leaving the learning area. You will find it very helpful to have written orders from parents on what their plan is for their child. Any changes should be emailed to you or a note sent with the child. Have a place in the child’s homework book for parents to write a message to you. For younger children it is always a good idea for them not to leave the classroom until parents or carers come to pick them up. If traveling by bus the bus stop must be supervised until all children are safely on the correct buses. Children walking home should know the road rules and these should be reinforced frequently. Stranger Danger programs are available in most areas.
In Cases of Emergency – All schools will have an emergency plan where evacuation or lockdown may be necessary. This should be carried out without frightening the learners. Practice of an emergency situation is essential and should be done without applying stress to the situation. A well prepared teacher will be able to calmly lead her/his learners to safety. Go over your plan frequently with your learners so they will be familiar with the process. The more they feel in control of the process the less stress will be experienced.
Child Safety Programs – Programs for your learners are available from police, ambulance and fire services. Utilise these and have excursions to or visits from these services. They will have programs for learners of all ages.
Safety before, within and after school hours, is paramount for all children. Teachers, parents and carers all have the responsibility of keeping themselves and all children safe.
Irene Reardon provides a professional development membership program for Early Childhood and Primary (Elementary) teachers. This program has helped many teachers reduce their stress, improve their skills, promote active learning and improve their student’s outcomes. All this from the comfort of their own home. Find out more at http://www.howtoforteachers.com.
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