What are the Most Serious Back-To-School Injuries that Send Kids to the ER?
The first week of school is always one of the busiest weeks of the year for emergency departments across the country, including Cook Children’s.
Last year saw more kids coming to the Emergency Department for playground falls, sports injuries and pedestrian accidents with kids walking or riding their bike to school.
We took a look at Trauma Department registry for the week of Aug. 21-28 when Fort Worth ISD began. It’s important to remember that these numbers are based on what the Trauma department saw and not reflective of every kid who went to the ED during this time frame.
Here’s a quick glance at we saw last year:
By far and away, the most injuries seen last year were falls with 29 occurring during the week and seen by both the ED and our Trauma department. Eight of the falls happened at an elementary school and one at a football field.
We saw six sports-related injuries reporting to Trauma during this time period, with four of those injuries on the football field. Injuries ranged from concussions to leg injuries.
No matter how hard we try, kids get hurt. The six injuries seen by Trauma that occurred during the week ran the gamut of categories that were all their own, including placing a finger in fan to running into a wall during gym glass.
We were fortunate last year, only one child was taken from the ED to Trauma after a car crash. Still though the early part of school can be a risky time as parents are rushing to get back on a school schedule. Remember to make sure everyone is buckled up and follow the slower speed limits during school hours.
This one almost needs an asterisk. Maybe it’s because during the first week of school, not as many kids are walking yet. But during the first week, only one child was hit by a car and seen by Trauma. However, In September four kids were hit by a car riding a bike, including one at an elementary school, and seen by our Trauma department.
According to Safe Kids Worldwide, more children are hit by cars during September than any month of the year. Kids walking or riding their bikes, scooters or skateboards can be dangerous when not done correctly. The next few weeks, while everyone is getting adjusted to kids going back to school, can prove especially hazardous.
The experts at Cook Children’s remind parents that bike helmets should be worn at all times for kids riding a bike to school. Bike helmets should sit on the top of the head with the chinstrap fastened, holding the helmet in place if the child is to shake his or her head or fall.
Sharon Evans, Trauma/Injury Prevention Outreach Coordinator at Cook Children’s, said the ride or walk to school can be especially dangerous for children who simply aren’t ready to go alone.
“Most children don’t have the cognitive skills to crossing streets safely until at least the age of 10,” Evans said. “They haven’t yet developed the depth perception or the ability to maturely judge the speed of an object.”
Evans said there are several reasons why children 10 and younger shouldn’t ride bikes, scooters or skateboards to school:
- Easily distracted by friends and toys.
- Can’t determine the direction of sounds. Some children may be listening for sounds and may not realize that some newer model electric/hybrid vehicles may not make much of a sound at all. This can be especially dangerous if the children are wearing earbuds.
- Can’t judge the speed or distance of a moving vehicle.
- Don’t understand how long it takes for a vehicle to stop.
- Have too narrow a field of vision.
Even when kids reach 10, Evans encourages parents to accompany them to school whenever possible.
Safe Kids recommend teaching your kids these safe behaviors:
- Look left, right and left again before crossing the street. Cross when the street is clear, and keep looking both ways while crossing. Walk, don’t run.
- Understand and obey traffic signals and signs.
- Walk facing traffic, on sidewalks or paths, so that you can see oncoming cars. If there are no sidewalks, walk as far to the left as possible.
Practice safe behaviors:
- Don’t allow a child under age 10 to cross streets alone as he may not be able to fully appreciate the speed of cars on the road.
- Require children to carry a flashlight at night, dawn and dusk. Add retro-reflective materials to children’s clothing so that a child can be seen by motorists, even in the dark.
- Don’t let kids play in driveways, unfenced yards, streets or parking lots. Drivers may not see or anticipate children playing.