The 2022-23 school year is here and so we contacted Nancy Buyle, the school safety and student assistance consultant with Macomb County Intermediate School District, for some advice on important conversations with your kids that can prevent common injuries at school.
The biggest school safety hazards
According to Buyle, some of the most common student injuries are caused by trips, slips and falls — either from kids not paying attention to their surroundings or horseplay amongst peers.
The safehome.org School Injury Report of 2021 highlighted that the first two months of school (September and October) have the highest number of injuries. This report indicated that sports related injuries are the most common. The next most common were injuries sustained in the school building from slips, trips and falls.
Teachers at MISD and other Macomb County schools will talk to kids about these hazards, but it’s important for parents to reinforce these messages at home, too.
At the beginning of the school year, teachers will be doing safety checklists and just reminding their students how you walk down the hallway,” Buyle explains. “At home, parents should remind their child to watch where they walk and let them know that there could be uneven floor or cement and to be cautious going up the stairs.”
In addition, kids should know to keep their hands to themselves to prevent accidently touching something sharp on the walls or on other surfaces. They should also be aware of any allergies or medical conditions they have, what they need to do if a medical emergency arises and be reminded to never share food or other allergens with their classmates.
“Teach your kids to pay attention to their body and mind,” Buyle adds.
Other things to be mindful of
When the school year returns, parents should also be reminding their children who walk to school or to their bus stop to be mindful of traffic.
“No matter how old your child is, know the bus schedule and watch your child as they walk to the bus,” Buyle says.
If you can’t watch the bus, remind your child not to engage in horseplay at the stop, to pay attention to the cars around them and to let you know if the bus doesn’t arrive.
Speaking of school buses, the buses in Macomb County are inspected three times a day and are equipped with GPS to ensure student safety.
Stranger danger and school gun safety
While uncommon, the threat of stranger danger and school gun violence are real threats that parents should be mindful of — and something that you should talk to your kids about in an age-appropriate way.
Students should know that most youth that plan an act of violence at school will tell someone about their plan before it is carried out and that they should tell a trusted adult if they hear threats of violence at their school.
They should also report any suspicious activity — or any instances where they don’t feel safe — to a trusted adult. For instance if they see a suspicious car or person notify an adult about their concern.
“They should know that they can always talk to an adult, and parents should help them to connect with at least one adult in their building,” Buyle explains. “They spend a lot of time in school, so having them connect with at least one adult in school is critical.”
Parents can also prevent school safety hazards by talking to their kids about their school day and taking an active role in what goes on in their lives while they’re at school.
“Working together to ensure that there’s a positive experience for our youth is critical,” Buyle adds. “We can’t force children to pay attention but if the parents are helping them see there’s a reason, kids are more likely to take it seriously as well.”