E-mail not displaying correctly? View it in your browser.
News from State Senator Cathy Osten
     

August 25, 2016

Capitol address
Legislative Office Building
Room 2100
Hartford, CT 06106-1591

E-mail me here

On the Web
www.SenatorOsten.cga.ct.gov

Phone
Capitol: 860-240-0579
Toll-free: 1-800-842-1420


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 public education experiences right here in Connecticut.

Below 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.

Playgrounds

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

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.

While most concussions happen during a game, about two-thirds of sports injuries take place during practice. The most common injuries involve sprains and strains, repetitive motion injuries such as stress fractures (girls are eight times more likely to suffer knee injuries than boys), and heat-related illnesses. Make sure your child is wearing protective gear, that their gear is in good condition, and that they are prepared for the hot or humid weather.

Smart Phone Safety and 'Distracted Walking'

More school-age pedestrians have been killed during the hour before and after school than any other time of day. Of the nearly 500 pedestrians ages 19 and younger who died after being hit by a motor vehicle in 2013, about half of them were between the ages of 15 to 19. Teens are now more likely to be hit by a car walking to or from school than younger children.

With this knowledge, the National Safety Council is focused on efforts to eliminate distracted walking--specifically, walking while texting. Kids ages 13 to 17 send more than 3,400 texts a month, or about seven messages every hour they're awake.

Before your children head out to school, remind them to never walk while texting or talking on the phone, and to never cross the street while using an electronic device. They shouldn't walk with headphones on, and--if they are walking and texting--they should move out of the way of other people and stop on the sidewalk.

Of course, walkers should always look left, then right, then left again before crossing the street, and they should cross only in marked crosswalks.
 

 

You're receiving this newsletter because you either opted in via e-mail 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:
Senator Cathy Osten, Legislative Office Building, Room 2100, Hartford, Connecticut 06106
Capitol telephone: 860-240-0579, or Toll-free: 1-800-842-1420

Copyright (C) 2016 Connecticut Senate Democrats. All rights reserved.