Safety Advice & First-Aid Response All Teachers Must Know
In 2003, researchers conducted a study to find out which period do accidents happen most often in schools. They concluded that out of 3274 school accidents, 36.6% occurs during breaks (recess time) and 33.2% occurs during physical education periods. A separate study found out that the common injuries as a result of accidents that happen during breaks were: articular disorders; contusions; wounds on the upper and lower limbs, head, and neck.
A study was done to figure out which part of the schools do accident occur most frequently. Researchers concluded: 29.7% at schoolyards; 20.2% in gymnasiums; 25.2% at corridors and stairs.
This is something to be concerned about, especially if you're a school teacher. Maybe you even have had the unfortunate opportunity to have a student in your class get injured or into an accident. It'll definitely send anyone into a state of panic unless you're first-aid trained and have experience with these situations before.
What if you don't have the first-aid certificate? What if you've never handled an accident like this before, and you really hate seeing blood?
Did you know that according to Laws and Legislations in South Australia under duty of care.
That's not all.
You have the other 30 mischievous and curious sheep to take care of; you really don't want any of them crowding around or worst, sneaking away.
In this article, we'll teach you the safety preventive measures in the most common places of accident occurrence, and the first-aid steps to control the situation well.
Class begins now!
Breaks & Recess Time
Most schools implement a system where a teacher will be "on duty" in a specific delegated area to ensure that the students are safe and under an adult's supervision.
Areas such as the schoolyard and the cafeteria/canteen are most common. Reason being them having a higher likelihood of an accident occurring.
Preventive Safety Measures
1. Adult Supervision
This would the basic preventive measures that your school would have most probably already implemented. As teachers, the students' recess time could be the only window for you to take a breather over the much-needed meal and glucose refuel.
Walking around under the sun and taking care of them may not be the best thing about being a teacher. However, you have an important role in this.
Imagine having a student suddenly had an asthma attack and no adult was around to intervene... That could be tragic! If you were there, you'd probably know that getting the inhaler is the first and foremost thing to do.
2. Observe and Report Environmental Hazards
Apart from simply supervising the students, it is your unsaid responsibility to report any obstructions or danger-imposing elements in the playing area.
These students are very engaged in the game (yes, why can't it be the same during lessons). Which makes them oblivious to their surroundings; they become unaware of that deep crack on the ground which can cause a bad ankle sprain.
By being an astute observer and pro-active teacher, you reporting this issue to the respective person could easily avoid a bad ankle sprain, or worse.
3. Teach Them To Be Responsible
You've only got one pair of eyes. Get the students to help you out on this. Teach them how to play safe and be responsible for themselves.
For example, telling them to not play too rough. Or even to remember to hydrate themselves -- they can totally forget about thirst while trying to win the game.
For Sprains & Fractures
Telling the difference of a sprain from an ordinary bruise is quite easy.
The differentiating element: the presence of swelling.
While a sprain and contusion are easy to identify, it is slightly harder when it comes to sprains and fractures. Fractures do result in swelling as well.
A sprain is defined as an incomplete or complete rupture of a ligament.
- Bruising at times
- Inability to put weight
A fracture is where the bone has been cracked or broken. There are many types of fractures, varying in their level of severity.
- Swelling or bruising over a bone
- Pain (intensified with pressure and movement)
- Inability to exert weight on the injured limb
Note: If the swelling occurs at the joints, it's most likely a sprain, not a fracture. And if it's at the bone, a fracture could be the case.
First-Aid Crash Course for Sprains
Just remember R.I.C.E.
Ensure that the student is calm and in a comfortable resting position where there is no pressure or weight on the injury.
Have a student get an icepack from the office, preferably with a wet towel as well. It is best if you stay with the injured student especially if they are of younger age.
Clean up any external cuts and wounds with an antiseptic wash and clean cotton pads from the first-aid kit.
Then ice the sprained part for 15 to 20 minutes. You can bring the student to the office to rest and ice there.
Note: Ensure that a wet towel wrapped around the ice to prevent ice burns.
Use an elastic medical bandage to wrap the injury after icing. Ensure that it is tight enough to exert enough pressure but not overly tight. Ask the student how it feels -- does he/she feel comfortable?
As long as the injury is raised above the heart, it's fine.
The point of R.I.C.E. is to minimize swelling as much as possible.
First-Aid Crash Course for Fractures:
Just remember S.M.I.L.E.
S: Stop the bleeding
Most cases of fractures come with a rather heavy impact which would result in external wounds. Before jumping into tending the fracture, stop the bleeding first.
Use basic first-aid kit equipment like cotton pads, gauze, and antiseptic washes/creams.
M: Minimize movement
Similar to sprains, any movement is going to hurt whether it is voluntary or not. What I mean is that moving from the position of falling to a seated position will need him/her to shift a little. This will naturally lead to a sway that could worsen and cause pain.
What you can do to minimize movement is the get the student to consciously reduce movement.
Ice the injury for at least 10 minutes to reduce swelling and pain. Ensure that there's a wet towel wrapped around the ice to prevent ice burns.
L: Let them relax
Getting a fracture is not an everyday thing; they'll definitely be in a state of shock. You should be there to reassure them and help them relax.
Talk to them and let them know that everything is under control and that they'll be fine.
E: Emergency - Call 911?
This is not necessary for every fracture situation. There should be a person in charge of first-aid emergencies in school who can take over.
For cases where the head, neck, or back is involved, calling 911 should be the first thing to do.
Other scenarios of open fractures where a bone is protruding out of the skin, or bleeding is uncontrollable, you should call 911 immediately.
Now that you've mentally prepared yourself for these possible situations, you won't be caught in a state of panic if they were to really happen.
Remember R.I.C.E. and S.M.I.L.E and you'll be fine ;)