More than 200,000 children under the age of 14 are treated for playground injuries every year in the United States. Injuries at school – whether from contact sports, jungle gyms, or slipping on a wet floor—send thousands of kids to the hospital with fractured bones, dislocations, bruises and contusions.
Beyond playground accidents and sporting mishaps, there are other unexpected ways that your child can be injured while at school.
Since 1946, all public schools have been serving up cafeteria lunches with a view toward providing students a nutritional meal that would help facilitate learning. However, food-borne illnesses traced to lax safety standards, rodent infestations and improper food handling have made the news in schools across the country. Dozens of children have been hospitalized for infections from E. coli bacteria and salmonella, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and severe dehydration. In 1998, more than 1,200 students across 7 different states came down with food poisoning after eating burritos manufactured at a Chicago food plant.
Intentional acts of violence
According to a 2014 study published in the Journal Pediatrics, violence accounts for 10 percent of school injuries leading to emergency room visits in the U.S. Researchers found that of the more than 7.3 million ER visits by students ages 5 to 19 for school-related harm, roughly 736,000 incidents were described as intentional. Injuries included broken bones, cuts, concussions, bruises and sprains, and other physical trauma. Most acts of violence stemmed from fighting or students being assaulted by bullies. Males were more likely to be injured than females, and middle schoolers suffered more intentional injuries at school compared to those in elementary or high school.
Chemistry Lab Accidents
A science lab should be a place of safe learning and experimentation. Over the past decade, several notable chemistry lab accidents in both middle and high school environs have left students with second-degree burns, scarring and permanent disfigurement. One 15-year old student suffered burns over 40 percent of her body during a chemistry demo by her teacher that went horribly wrong. The Ohio girl, Calais Weber, has gone on to advocate good safety practices in science labs and cautions teens to speak up if they are not provided with proper safety equipment or instructions in lab experiments.
Know your rights in California
California’s public schools are supposed to be a safe place for learning and discovery, but accidents can and do happen with alarming frequency. If your child or teenager was harmed at school because of negligent supervision, negligent property maintenance or defective school equipment, it’s important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Parents may be entitled to monetary damages to help cover medical bills for school-related injuries.
Additional “School Injury Hazards” Resources:
- LiveScience, Violence Accounts for 10% of School Injuries https://www.livescience.com/42521-violence-kids-school-injuries.html
- ABC News, How Safe Are School Lunches? http://abcnews.go.com/Primetime/story?id=132030&page=1
- TribLive, Chemistry lab mishaps in academic settings happen frequently http://triblive.com/home/2834482-74/safety-chemistry-lab-accidents-kaufman-incidents-langerman-students-teacher-based