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Back-To-School Safety Tips

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Consumer Product Safety Commission
CPSC Document Reprinted with permission of the Consumer Product Safety Commission

When you drop off your child at school, use this checklist to make sure these hidden hazards aren't waiting to cause injury or death.

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  1. Drawstrings on Jackets and Sweatshirts -- There should be no drawstrings on hoods or around the neck. Drawstrings at the waist or bottom of jackets should extend no more than 3 inches to prevent catching in car and school bus doors or getting caught on playground equipment.

  2. Loops on Window Blind Cords -- Cut the loop and attach separate tassels to prevent entanglement and strangulation in window blind cords. One child a month strangles and dies in the loop of a window blind cord.

  3. Bike Helmets -- Buy a helmet that meets one of the safety standards (U.S. CPSC, Snell, ANSI, ASTM, or Canadian), and insist that your children wear the helmet each time they ride their bike. About 900 people, including more than 200 children, are killed annually in bicycle-related incidents, and about 60 percent of these deaths involve a head injury. More than 500,000 people are treated annually in U.S. hospital emergency rooms for bicycle-related injuries. Research indicates that a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by up to 85 percent.

  4. Soccer Goals -- Make sure that the athletic director or the custodian anchors the soccer goals into the ground so that the soccer goal will not tip over and crush a child.

  5. Playgrounds -- Check the surfaces around playground equipment at schools and parks to make sure there is a 12-inch depth of wood chips, mulch, sand, or pea gravel, or mats made of safety-tested rubber or fiber material to prevent head injury when a child falls. Each year, more than 200,000 children go to U.S. hospital emergency rooms with injuries associated with playground equipment. Most injuries occur when a child falls from the equipment onto the ground.

  6. Recalled Products -- Make sure your child's school has up-to-date information on recalled toys and children's products. Schools, daycare providers, and parents can receive recall information by FAX, e-mail, or in the regular mail free of charge by calling the CPSC hotline, or writing to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, D.C. 20207.


The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission protects the public from the unreasonable risk of injury or death from 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, you can go to CPSC's forms page and use the first on-line form on that page. Or, you can call CPSC's hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270, or send the information to info@cpsc.gov. Consumers can obtain this publication and additional publication information from the Publications section of CPSC's web site or by sending your publication request to publications@cpsc.gov. If you would like to receive CPSC's recall notices, subscribing to the email list will send all press releases to you the day they are issued.

**This document was reprinted with permission from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive]