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School Safety Tips

WASHINGTON, D.C. - As millions of children head back to school, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is giving parents, teachers, and care-givers tips on making back to school time a safe time. CPSC's "Back to School Safety Checklist" offers tips on making schools, child care facilities and playgrounds safer. "Take a few minutes to check your child's school, day center and playground for hidden hazards we don't always think about during this busy time of year," said CPSC Chairman Ann Brown. "Use our free checklist to make sure your children head back to school safely."

The free "Back to School Safety Checklist" is available right here in standard text or actual image of the checklist, or by sending a postcard to CPSC, Washington DC 20207. Hidden hazards highlighted include the following:

Playgrounds - Check the surfaces around playground equipment. There should be a 12-inch depth of wood chips, mulch, sand or pea gravel, or there should be mats made of safety-tested rubber or fiber material to prevent head injury when a child falls. Each year, more than 200,000 children are treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms for playground-associated injuries. Most of these injuries occur when a child falls from the equipment.

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Drawstrings on Jackets and Sweatshirts - Remove drawstrings on hoods or around the neck. Cut drawstrings at the waist or bottom of jackets to 3 inches. Since 1985, 21 children have died when drawstrings caught on school buses, playground equipment and other products.

Loops on Window Blind Cords - If the windows in your home, childcare centers or schools have blinds, cut the loop and attach separate tassels to prevent entanglement and strangulation in window blind cords. About one child a month dies from strangulation with window covering cords.

Bike Helmets - Since a growing number of kids are riding their bikes to school, make sure they always wear their helmet. Buy a helmet that carries a label stating it meets current safety standards. Beginning March 1999, all bike helmets manufactured or imported for sale in the United States will have to meet the new federal safety standard set by CPSC. Each year, more than 200 children are killed in bicycle-related incidents, and about 60 percent of these deaths involve a head injury. Helmet use can reduce the risk of head injury by up to 85 percent.

Soccer Goals - Anchor soccer goals into the ground to prevent them from tipping over and crushing a child. Since 1979, CPSC has received reports of 22 deaths from soccer goal tip-over.

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