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Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff: Your Voice

August 28, 2016

Capitol address
Legislative Office Building
Room 3300
Hartford, CT 06106-1591


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Capitol: 860-240-0414
Toll-free: 1-800-842-1420
Home: 203-840-1333

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Back To School Safety

Over half a million children will be headed back to Connecticut's public schools over the next few weeks, and that means--once again--for the next nine months, we will be sharing the roads with walkers, bicyclists, school buses, and automobiles, all trying to get children safely to and from school.

I'd like to take a moment to share some back-to-school safety tips with you as suggested by the National Safety Council. I know all of us are concerned with keeping our children, our grandchildren, our friends and our family safe as children return to continue their outstanding public education experiences right here in Connecticut.

These are just a few tips; for a more complete summary, please visit the National Safety Council website.

On the Bus

busSchool buses are a safe way for students to travel, but children also need to do their part to stay alert and aware. When waiting for the bus, stay away from traffic and avoid roughhousing or other behavior that can lead to carelessness. When on the bus, wear a seat belt if they are available. When exiting the bus, if you have to cross in front, first walk at least 10 feet ahead until you can see the bus driver. And watch for traffic! Connecticut law requires all vehicles to stop for school buses and students, but unfortunately, not everyone obeys the law.

This time of year, it is especially important for motorists to be aware of stopped school buses and for students heading to and exiting buses. Under state law, it's mandatory that drivers stop for school buses that have their flashing red warning lights activated, whether they are approaching or following the school bus. Drivers that fail to stop are subject to a $450 fine.


playgroundNearly 80 percent of playground injuries are caused by falls. Equipment associated most with injuries are climbers, swings, slides and overhead ladders. Playground surfaces should be made of wood chips, mulch, wood fibers, sand, pea gravel, shredded tires or rubber mats and should be at least 12 inches deep. Beware of hardware that is capable of cutting a child, such as bolts, hooks, rungs, etc. Children under age 4 shouldn't play on climbing equipment or horizontal ladders. If your playground seems unsafe, report the problem to school or park officials.


Backpacks that are too heavy can cause a lot of problems for kids, like back and shoulder pain, and poor posture; backpacks shouldn't weigh more than 10 percent of a child's weight (for example, an average 12 year old boy weighs 85-100 pounds, so his backpack shouldn't weigh more than 9 or 10 pounds!).

When selecting a backpack, look for: the correct size (never wider or longer than your child's torso, and never hanging more than four inches below their waist), padded back and shoulder straps; hip and chest belts to help transfer some of the weight, multiple compartments to better distribute the weight, and reflective material to help provide visibility in low light.

Also remember: a roomy backpack may seem like a good idea, but the more space there is to fill, the more likely your child will want to fill it!

Concussions and Sports Injuries

concussionOlder students may be involved in after-school sports, and for many, that means the possibility of a concussion. Every three minutes, a child in the U.S. is treated for a sports-related concussion. In sports in which girls and boys both participate, girls suffer a higher percentage of concussions.

About 10 percent of athletes will experience a concussion in any given sports season, although fewer than 10 percent of those concussions will involve a loss of consciousness. Football is the most common sport with a concussion risk for boys, and soccer is the most common sport with a concussion risk for girls. About 80 percent of concussions occur during games, not practices.

Signs and symptoms of concussion include confusion, forgetfulness, glassy eyes, disorientation, clumsiness or poor balance, slowed speech, and changes in mood, behavior or personality. Make sure all coaches know how to recognize the signs of a concussion and have a plan in case of emergency.

Get the New Emergency Alert App for Your Smart Phone!

CTPreparesFrom Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy to the Halloween nor'easter, over the past few years, Connecticut has experienced its fair share of extreme weather. That's why I am urging all of my constituents to take advantage of the new "CT Prepares" application for your smart phone that provides you with information and alerts in emergency situations, and also helps you prepare in advance of an emergency.

The app can be downloaded for free from the iTunes Apple Store for Apple devices and Google Play for Android devices by searching the keyword "CT Prepares." Once downloaded, "CT Prepares" will issue alerts for severe weather and other emergency situations.

The app incorporates and integrates text messaging, email, and social networking, allowing you to communicate with family members during an emergency. Real-time notifications including emergency news, state office closings, and public safety messages can be sent directly to your device, providing up-to-the-minute information for residents.

"CT Prepares" allows you to:

  • View real-time alerts
  • View National Weather Service forecasts for your current location
  • Access news and events from the Connecticut Emergency Management Agency
  • Review preparation guides for different emergency situations
  • Get in touch with a variety of emergency services
  • Send an "I'm Safe" email message to your contacts via, text, email and social media

You're receiving this newsletter because you either opted in via email or on my website, or you've been in touch with me or my office regarding an issue or issues of importance to you.

My mailing address is:
Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, Legislative Office Building, Room 3300, Hartford, Connecticut 06106
Capitol: 860-240-0414; Toll-free: 1-800-842-1420; Home: 203-840-1333

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