You worry about your kids when you're not with them, naturally, and that means worrying that they'll be hurt at school. Perhaps you're nervous about recreational activities and high-contact sports. Maybe you're worried about bullies. Maybe you're just concerned about unsafe conditions and slip and fall accidents.
While these are all valid points, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that kids actually face high injury risks just getting to school in the first place -- or coming home at the end of the day.
Kids who walk to school are in danger from the morning rush of traffic, whether it's other parents driving their kids to school or adults on the way to work. Schools do sometimes use crossing guards and other methods to try to keep kids safe, but the elevated risk will always be there. Children often make rash decisions -- like darting out into the road without looking both ways -- and even a short walk can be littered with dangers.
In 2013, the CDC states that 4,735 pedestrians died and over 156,000 were hurt. That includes all pedestrians, not just children, but helps show how real the risk is nonetheless. Plus, 20 percent of traffic deaths involving kids who are 14 and under are pedestrian fatalities.
You may think you can protect your kids by driving them to school and avoiding that walk. While it gives you control, the CDC reports that car accidents are actually the leading cause of death for kids in the U.S.
This risk only gets greater when children grow into teenagers and are allowed to drive themselves to school. The risk of a teen driver being involved in a deadly crash is about three times as great as the risk for an older driver. The risk is especially elevated for teens who just got their driver's licenses -- typically at age 16.
Knowing the Risks and Your Rights
This isn't to say you need to spend your life worrying. You know that your kids have to go to school, and letting them take that step is huge in their lives and yours. However, it's very important to know what risks are out there, how you can protect your kids, and whether or not you have a right to compensation if your child is hurt or killed.
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