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It used to be that the most dangerous part of a child’s school day was traveling to and from the actual school campus.  Once the child was inside the boundaries of the schoolyard, he or she was safe from the perils of the outside world. Not anymore.

School shootings have become so commonplace in United States that the public is scarcely surprised when a school shooting occurs these days – which is a sad fact I am thankful to not understand.  We may be shocked by school shootings but certainly not surprised by them since there has been an average of 10 school shootings per year since the turning of the new millennium, almost one per month. Something that totally doesn’t happen up here in Canada because of our basic understanding of the importance of gun laws.

But as commonplace as school shootings have become, they are not the only new danger haunting the campus where your children spend their learning hours.  Here are even more common types of injuries that are plaguing the students in our educational systems.

You should note these potential injury situations and be sure to have an honest comprehensive discussion with your children about these hazards at the beginning of each school year.

Playground Injuries

By far the most common injuries that children suffer at school are playground mishaps from falling.  Even the most placid child can suffer a full-sprawl fall while running around outside after a morning of sitting still and studying.

Mostly these types of falls only result in bruises and scrapes, but when you throw a jungle gym with climbing bars into the mix, the injuries can quickly grow in significance and could end in serious head trauma.

It’s important that you emphasize to your children that they must exercise some caution, especially when climbing.  Hammer that ‘look-before-you-leap’ warning into their heads, over and over, no matter how much they resist. Make it clear to them what the consequences of a serious head or spine injury could be – that they could end up being permanently paralyzed for the rest of their lives.

school injuries
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Sports Injuries

After school sports are fine for instilling an earned sense of self-esteem in children and are, thus, great character builders.  But after school sports can also be dangerous. Although football, and particularly head injuries associated with it are getting a lot of press these days, it’s actually basketball that is the sport where the most injuries occur.  And most of these injuries are to the knees and ankles of the players.

But whatever after school sport your child chooses, just know that when you have young people pushing their bodies to the limit in order to win a game, and even more so when an end-of-the-season championship is at stake, personal safety will take a back seat to common sense every time.

That’s why it’s important to make sure your school, and the league in which it participates, have an agreement with an organization of trained officials and referees to officiate the games.  And the student athletes must be directed to respect these officials at all times. Good officiating always means fewer injuries.

One good way to mitigate the chances that your child will be injured in sports is to encourage a comprehensive stretching routine at home.  Stretching ligaments, tendons and muscles daily, in an organized routine, is the best defense against all types of injury.

If your child has grown up doing yoga or tai-chi with mom from an early age, he or she should have a more limber body that will probably be less susceptible to sports related injury later on.

Mental Health

Along with all the physical injuries that could happen in school we rarely talk about the mental health side of things. Whether it is home issues, bullying or dealing with bigger issues like shootings it is important to keep on top of this. Getting your child into therapy and making it as common as going in for check ups and dentist appointments is always a great first step. Not only does it help with what is going on it is also a HUGE preventative measure.

If we treated mental health in the same way we treated our physical health we and our kids would be better off.

Cheerleading Injuries

Cheerleading used to be just pom-poms and chant yells but times have changed.  Now there are competitions between cheerleading squads from different schools, just like the teams that these cheerleaders are supporting.

These contest have resulted in more and more aggressive acrobatics making cheerleading injuries more common these days.  Steven Schwartzapfel, a lawyer at points out, “As cheerleading becomes increasingly popular and competitive, the bar is set higher for young people to perform more dangerous and complex stunts. Because cheerleading is categorized as an ‘activity’ as opposed to a ‘sport’ there is little, if any regulation of the activities associated with cheerleading. With all of these factors taken together, tragedy frequently results.”

So the lack of ‘regulations’ in cheerleading, since it is ostensibly not a ‘contest’, means that cheerleaders have absolutely no limits on the types of acrobatic stunts that they may perform.  This has lead to some serious injuries. Make sure your school has set guidelines for what is, and is not, acceptable risk for individual cheerleaders and has coordinated these guidelines with a sports medicine professional.

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