"As you prepare to send your child back to school, parents should arm themselves with important safety tips that can help keep your child in the classroom and out of a hospital emergency room," said CPSC Acting Chairman Nancy Nord.
Drawstrings on Children's Clothing
One hazard to watch for is drawstrings on children's clothing. This hidden hazard can lead to deaths and injuries as drawstrings can catch on items such as, playground equipment.
Over the past 20 years, the CPSC received reports of 23 deaths and 64 non-fatal incidents involving the entanglement of children's clothing drawstrings.
The CPSC recommends that parents only buy upper outerwear without hood and neck drawstrings. If you find children's clothing with drawstrings in your home, completely remove the hood and neck drawstrings from all children's upper outerwear, including jackets and sweatshirts for kids wearing size 2T through size 12.
Wear the Right Helmet
Many children ride bikes, scooters and skateboards to school. To reduce the risk of serious head injury or death, children should wear a helmet. It is also important to wear the appropriate helmet for each sport.
About 800 people, approximately 180 children, died in bicycle-related incidents in a recent year. More than half of the 500,000 bicycle-related emergency room-treated injuries in 2005, involved children under the age of 15. Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of a head injury by up to 85 percent.
Look for a label inside the bicycle helmet indicating it meets the CPSC standard. Other sport helmets, including those for skateboarders and football players, have labeling certifying compliance with other standards.
Pocket Bikes and Scooters
Be aware of local laws pertaining to the use of pocket bikes and scooters, and do not ride on streets or in public driveways. Many cities and communities have specific areas where scooters are permissible. Other communities prohibit entirely the riding of pocket bikes or motorized scooters.
Each year, more than 200,000 children are taken to hospital emergency rooms due to playground-related injuries. Most injuries occur when a child falls onto the playground surface.
There should be a layer of safe, shock absorbing surface material, consisting of wood chips, mulch, sand, pea gravel, or mats made of safety-tested rubber or fiber material around playground equipment.
Make sure there is no exposed hardware to catch clothing and no free-hanging ropes attached to the equipment, which could cause strangulation.
Movable soccer goals can fall over and kill or injure children who climb on them or hang from the crossbar. Over the past 25 years, CPSC has reports of at least 28 deaths associated with soccer goals.
Make sure soccer goals are securely anchored when in use.
Never allow children to climb on the soccer net or goal framework. When not in use, anchor goals or chain them to a nearby fence post or sturdy framework.
The CPSC has recalled a variety of art materials over the years due to sharp tools; accessible lead in crayons, chalk and paint; and other hazards.
Only buy art materials that contain the statement, "CONFORMS TO ASTM D-4236."