Our children spend many hours throughout the day at school. In addition to learning and having fun in schools, there can be some circumstances that lead to accidents, in most cases without being serious. Most of these accidents occur during recess, since it is at this time that children run from one side to the other and can bump against each other while they play any type of sport, jump around, etc. But school accidents are not mutually exclusive to the playground since they can also occur inside classrooms when the teacher is not expecting it.
Records show impressive big numbers regarding child injuries every year. It is calculated that over 9 million children visit the E.R. because of accidents. There are many types of playground injuries that can happen at school. We will go through the most common accidents that have been reported by schools and health professionals:
- Scrapes: Children often get scratches on the knees and elbows, caused by minor falls. If the wound is very exposed, we can cover it with gauze, although it is best to leave it in the air.If the wound does not stop bleeding after 5 or 10 minutes of pressure, it is deep or if it has some foreign object stuck, the child would have to go to the E.R. services to treat it ASAP.
- Bruises: The continuous falls or accidental are the main cause of the appearance of bruises. Children’s legs are the place where they appear most frequently, although we can also find them on the knees, arms and less frequently on the head. These bruises do not hurt and heal on their own with the passage of one to two weeks. If the bruise does not change color for more than 14 days or the pain continues, it would be advisable to go to the pediatrician.
- Sprains: Ankle sprains are the most common injuries in children because they are in constant motion. They are caused by the displacement of the joint in an unusual way damaging the ligament to a greater or lesser extent.
- Fractures: Bone fractures in children are quite common, it is one of the most common accidents of children in school and, by the characteristics of their bones, these fractures are cured in a short time. Children’s bones are more elastic and porous and have a great capacity for regeneration. The most common fractures are elbow, forearm, ankle, tibia and clavicle. In minor cases, the minor can suffer a luxation instead.
- Traumatic brain injury: Most of these injuries are minor because the skull protects the brain. Most of the time they do not have any consequences, as they only produce lesions on the surface of the head such as hematomas, wounds and pain in the area of the blow, but sometimes they can cause serious brain lesions. More than 20,000 children under the age of 14 suffer traumatic brain injuries each year, with most accidents happening at school.
All these common accidents, like we mentioned, can be simply accidents caused by lack of care by the child itself, or caused by external factors they have no relation to, such as attacked by bullies, natural disasters, school bus accidents, fights etc.
On the other hand, there are other types of injuries that are considered less common by official records, but they still happen every now and then at school:
Intoxication: Caused by inhaling toxic substances such as being exposed to asbestos in older buildings if the school didn’t go through the right measures to remove any possible toxic materials.
Food poisoning: Can be caused by a simply allergy, bad food or even malicious intent, causing from simple stomach pains, vomit and organ damage depending on the substance or reason.
Electrocution: If any electric power source is faulty and poorly managed, it can be the direct cause of a very dangerous accident causing even death to a minor.
Drowning: Some schools offer swimming programs, but it is also a dangerous place if it’s not supervised properly or there is negligence by a teacher or coach, causing possible drowning or even death as well.
Fires: Any fires caused either accidental or intentional that can cause burns to the minor or lung damage from inhaling the toxic smokes.
Defective devices or equipment: A misplaced equipment can cause a severe accident if it’s poorly placed or faulty causing it to break, it can fall over a minor causing serious injuries.
Hopefully your child never experiences any severe injury, but we all need to be informed on how to proceed if the situation ever presents itself. First of all, before pointing any fingers, you need to make sure the child is properly taken care of and safe. The second step is to investigate the reason behind the accident and if possible, file a claim with your designated team, after the proper investigation is done, and if it is proven that someone was at fault and can be held liable for the accident.
If it wasn’t just an innocent accident, there are usually only 4 possible parties that can be held accountable, it can either be one or more at the same time:
An Individual: Could be a teacher or clerk being negligent, another student causing the accident directly etc.
The school: For poor management and allowing the accident to happen in the first place when it could’ve been prevented, such as hiring questionable staff with a questionable background, overlooking hazardous areas, not remodeling dangerous locations, etc.
The government: If it’s a public school the government is directly involved, as well if the accident happened while riding a bus, as well as some negligent behavior.
A manufacturer: Like we mentioned before, a manufacturer or company can be held liable for selling a product that was dangerous to people.