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Safe Youth. Safe Schools.

Fresh haircuts, new clothes, and backpacks stuffed with markers, pencils, and binders—everything a child needs to start a new school year. As millions of students return to school this fall, teachers will plan their school supply list, and parents will carefully make sure their child is prepared with each and every item. However, safety should also be on every teacher’s and student's back-to-school list.

Parents, students, educators, and community members can all take action to keep children safe—in and away from school.

Get to School Safely

  • A teacher with her studentsWalk to School Safely
    Children face an increased risk for pedestrian injuries. You can help by learning more about these risks and steps you can take to promote pedestrian safety in your community.
  • Child Passenger Safety
    Motor vehicle injuries are the greatest public health problem facing children today. In fact, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children in the United States. Learn how to keep children safe by using an age- and size-appropriate restraint system.
  • Teen Driver Safety
    One out of three deaths among US teens are the result of a motor vehicle crash. During a teen's first year of driving, crash risk is particularly high. Learn tips and facts to help a new driver arrive at school safely.
  • Teens Behind the Wheel: Graduated Driver Licensing
    Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) systems address the high risks new drivers face and are proven methods for helping teens to become safer drivers. Research shows that strict and comprehensive GDL systems reduce both fatal and nonfatal injury crashes.

School Safety

  • Youth Violence
    Homicide is the second leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 15 and 24 in the United States. Behaviors such as bullying and hitting often start at a young age and may continue into young adulthood. Youth violence can often lead to serious injury or death.
  • School Violence
    While US schools remain relatively safe, any amount of violence is unacceptable. Parents, teachers, and administrators expect schools to be safe havens of learning. Acts of violence can disrupt the learning process and have a negative effect on students, the school itself, and the broader community.
  • Sexual Violence
    Sexual violence begins early in life. Approximately 80% of female victims experienced their first rape before the age of 25 and almost half ex­perienced the first rape before age 18. Most victims do not tell friends and family about the abuse and suffer alone. Those who do disclose the violence may be stigmatized by friends, family, and their community.
  • Youth Suicide
    Suicide (taking one's own life) is a serious public health problem that affects even young people. It is the third leading cause of death among youth and young adults between the ages of 10 and 24. Suicide results in approximately 4,600 lives lost each year.
  • School Health Guidelines to Prevent Unintentional Injuries and Violence
    School Health Guidelines are designed to prevent unintentional injuries and violence. Guidelines promote safety and teach students the skills needed to prevent injuries and violence. They are designed for all grade levels and provide support for a coordinated school health program.
  • School Health Index
    School Health Index (SHI) is a self-assessment and planning tool that enables schools to identify strengths and weaknesses of health and safety policies and programs, develop an action plan for improving student health and safety, and involve teachers, parents, students, and the community in improving school services.

Safety During Sports and Physical Activity

  • Playground Injuries
    Each year in the United States, emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related injuries. Learn about risks and how to avoid severe injuries associated with playgrounds.
  • Heads Up to Schools: Know Your Concussion ABCs
    A child can take a spill, knock his/her head, and get a concussion in any number of school settings ranging from the hallway, the playground, the cafeteria, and beyond. This flexible set of materials was developed for professionals working with grades K-12 and helps principals, school nurses, teachers, or other school professionals identify and respond to concussions and learn strategies to help support students returning to school after a concussion.

Additional Resources

  • Students in a classroomHealthy Youth: Injury and Violence
    CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health promotes the health and well-being of children and adolescents to enable them to become healthy and productive adults.
  • School Health Guidelines to Prevent Unintentional Injuries and Violence
    This report summarizes school health recommendations for preventing unintentional injury, violence, and suicide among young persons.
  • Department of Education
    The Department of Education seeks to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence nationwide. The agency provides parents, teachers, and school administrators, with various resources on school safety and youth violence prevention.
  • i-SAFE
    i-SAFE is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to protecting the online experiences of youth everywhere. i-SAFE combines classroom curriculum with community outreach to empower students, teachers, parents, law enforcement, and concerned adults to make the internet a safer place.
  • National Organizations for Youth Safety
    The National Organization for Youth Safety (NOYS) is a coalition composed of national organizations and federal agencies that serve youth. The primary focus is on youth safety and health. The NOYS website includes information about membership, research, and resources concerning youth safety.
  • Out on a Limb: A Guide to Getting Along
    The University of Illinois Extension developed this website which was designed to help teach youth how to better manage conflicts and challenges they face on a daily basis.
  • Protect the Ones You Love
    Protect the Ones You Love: Child Injuries Are Preventable is a CDC initiative to raise parents' awareness about the leading causes of child injury in the United States and how they can be prevented. Working together, we can keep our children safe and help them live to their full potential.
  • Risk Watch (NFPA)
    Risk Watch is a school-based curriculum that links teachers with community safety experts and parents. Site provides children and families skills and knowledge needed to create safe homes and communities. Unintentional injuries such as, motor vehicle safety, fire and burn prevention, choking, firearms injury, bike safety, pedestrian safety, and water safety are a few topics covered on the website.
  • Safe Kids Worldwide
    This an international, nonprofit organization solely dedicated to preventing unintentional childhood injury. Safe Kids Worldwide promotes changes in attitudes, behaviors, laws, and the environment to prevent accidental injury to children.
  • Safe Routes to School
    The National Center for Safe Routes to Schools helps states and communities enable and encourage children to safely walk and bicycle to school, working with parents, schools, community leaders, and local, state, and federal governments to improve the health and well-being of children. The organization also coordinates and provides technical support for the US Walk to School Day.
  • School Safety and Mentoring Guides
    The Hamilton Fish Institute on School and Community Violence at the George Washington University has developed a series of guides which provide resources, tools, and guidance for creating safe school settings and involving the community in supporting students of all ages.
  • StopBullying.gov
    StopBullying.gov provides information from various government agencies on how kids, teens, young adults, parents, educators, and others in the community can prevent or stop bullying.
  • Striving to Reduce Violence Everywhere (STRYVE)
    STRYVE, or Striving To Reduce Youth Violence Everywhere, is a national initiative led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prevent youth violence before it starts. STRYVE seeks to increase awareness that youth violence can and should be prevented and to promote the use of prevention strategies based on the best available evidence.
  • Students Against Destructive Decisions
    Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) is a peer leadership organization dedicated to preventing destructive decisions, particularly underage drinking, drug use, impaired driving, teen violence, teen depression, and suicide. The website offers ideas for educational campaigns, research, and statistics about issues important to teens.
  • Students Against Violence Everywhere
    This is an organization that gives students tools to learn crime prevention, conflict management skills, and the virtues of good citizenship, civility, and nonviolence.
  • Take a Stand. Lend a Hand. Stop Bullying Now Campaign
    Stop Bullying Now provides information and resources on how to identify and prevent bullying in schools. The site is produced by the Health Resources and Services Administration, part of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Research/Data Sources

  • Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) School Project
    Research has shown that proper environmental design can reduce crime and fear associated with criminal activity. An effectively designed environment can improve the overall quality of life. CDC researchers are studying how changes in the physical environment of schools can encourage pro-social behavior while reducing fear and violence.
  • Effectiveness of Universal School-Based Programs for Preventing Violence
    The Task Force on Community Preventive Services (Task Force) conducted a systematic review of published scientific evidence concerning the effectiveness of universal school-based programs to reduce or prevent violent behavior delivered to all children in classrooms in a grade or in a school. The results of this review provide strong evidence that these programs decrease rates of violence and aggressive behavior among school-aged children.
  • Indicators of School Crime and Safety
    CDC contributes to the Department of Education's annual report on school crime and student safety. This report provides the most recent data available from many independent sources.
  • School-Associated Violent Deaths Study
    In partnership with Departments of Education and Justice, CDC has conducted a national study of school-associated violent deaths since 1992. This ongoing study plays an important role in monitoring trends in lethal school violence, identifying risk factors, and assessing the effects of prevention efforts.
  • School Health Policies and Programs Study (SHPPS)
    SHPPS is a national survey conducted periodically to assess school health policies and programs at state, district, school, and classroom levels. SHPPS provides information on health education, programs, environmental strategies, and policies that schools, districts, and states use to address violence and suicide prevention.
  • Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS)
    CDC's YRBSS monitors health risk behaviors, including violence that contributes to the leading causes of death and disability among young people in the United States. The YRBSS includes national, state, and local school-based surveys of representative samples of 9th through 12th grade students.
 

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  • Page last reviewed: July 29, 2013
  • Page last updated: July 29, 2013
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