New 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. Safety should also be on everyone’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
Walk 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 aged 0-12 years in the United States. Learn how to keep children safe by using an age- and size-appropriate restraint system.
Teen Driver Safety
Teen drivers are nearly three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal crash. Crash risk is particularly high during a teen’s first year of driving. Learn about strategies that help a new driver arrive at school safely, including Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) systems and Parent-Teen Driving Agreements.
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.
Youth violence can take different forms, such as fighting, bullying, threats with weapons, and gang-related violence. It is a leading cause of death and injuries of young people between the ages of 10 and 24 in the United States.
Sexual violence begins early in life. Eighty percent of female victims experienced their first rape before the age of 25 and about 40 percent 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.
Suicide is a serious public health problem that affects all age groups, including youth . It is the second leading cause of death among youth and young adults between the ages of 10 and 24 , with nearly 6,000 lives lost among this group, each year.
A Comprehensive Technical Package for the Prevention of Youth Violence and Associated Risk Behaviors[4.09 MB]
This technical package is a collection of strategies that represents the best available evidence to prevent or reduce public health problems like youth violence.
School Health Index
School Health Index (SHI) is a self-assessment and planning tool that enables school administrators to identify strengths and weaknesses of health and safety policies and programs, develop an action plan for improving student health and safety, and to involve teachers, parents, students, and the community in improving school services.
Safety During Sports and Physical Activity
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, such as making sure that surfaces under equipment are safe, soft, and well-maintained.
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, in school sports activities, 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.
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.
National Organizations for Youth Safety
The National Organization for Youth Safety (NOYS) is a coalition comprised 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.
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.
Safe Kids Worldwide
This is 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.
StopBullying.gov is the federal government’s one-stop-shop for information about bullying, including what bullying is (and isn’t), state laws on bullying and cyber-bullying, the warning signs for bullying, and how to prevent bullying by engaging the community. Free, downloadable resources are available for kids, teens, parents, educators, and others in the community and are also available in Spanish.
Striving to Reduce Violence Everywhere (STRYVE)
STRYVE, or Striving To Reduce Youth Violence Everywhere, is a national initiative led by 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.
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.
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.
Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS)
CDC’s YRBSS monitors health risk behaviors that contribute 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.
Keep children safe. While our nation’s schools are expected to be, and usually are, safe havens for learning, unintentional injuries and even violence can occur, disrupting the educational process and negatively affecting the school and surrounding community.