It’s not what you might think. Nurses don’t cringe at your run-of-the-mill blood and guts. Bodily fluids – bring ’em on! What I’m talking about are the “accidents-waiting-to-happen,” lurking, insidious dangers.
1. Scooter boards in P.E. Yes they’re still around! Yes the kids LOVE them! It’s all fun and games until someone runs over their own fingers – that’s right, their own fingers, or someone slides right off onto their stomach, or yet another somehow flips it and bumps their head on the ground.
2. Monkey bars – It’s safe to say most school nurses wish they could dismantle the monkey bars, or otherwise render them useless. We have ALL seen injuries from this equipment – ranging from the very minor (blisters on the hands or bumps to the head) to the grotesque (my mom is a retired school nurse and had to send a student by EMS for a horrific leg injury). Often the more serious injuries happen when the kids hang upside down.
3. Swings – Ah, the swings. The wind in your hair. The freedom of gliding in mid air. Then suddenly WHACK! – A student walks too close to the swing and gets kicked in the face – down he goes! Or, a little one’s fingers get caught in the swing chains – sprained and bruised! Or, a student leaps off while the swing is high in the sky and they land on their arm – broken! (True story, I’ve had a kid break BOTH arms from falling off a swing – unbelievable!).
4. Any sport with a ball – Kids love to play football, basketball, and soccer at recess. It is supposed to be “touch” football but some students have a heavier hand than others (we’ll just put it that way). Of course this leads to all kinds of bodily injuries. I had a student sustain a serious eye injury from being “karate-chopped” to the face during one of these games. And of course these tough kids get right back out there and keep playing!
5. The cafeteria – Can you say choking hazard and food allergy hotbed!? I don’t even like setting foot in the cafeteria because I can’t help but see all the wide open, laughing, ready-to-aspirate mouths everywhere I turn!
6. Field Day – It’s organized. But it’s chaos. Kids rotating through different stations, hyper from the excitement of the day. That makes for trips, slips and falls. But man, how they love it!
7. Jumping rope – This is a recent addition to my list of cringe-worthy activities. I had a student fracture their humerus (the long bone in the upper arm) from falling while jumping rope.
So this leads me to the conclusion that, although physical activity is a vital and necessary part of the school day – injuries are bound to happen. There’s no need to be paranoid – just be prepared, for literally anything!