Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Death Stats Actually Inform Healthy/Safe Behavior Efforts

When you watch the news often, the sensational stories can muddy your view of what's really happening in the world. That's why I took a look at death stats last night. I was wondering what truly threatens the health and safety of our children.

When I teach children and parent my own children, I want to be aware of those threats so that I can lead them in right ways.

For young children, 0-14, the leading causes of death are congenital abnormalities, injuries and accidents, and endocrine issues, flu, and pneumonia. Thus as a teacher, what's important is to make sure that you foster a safe environment at school and teach students about safety as well with the following emphases:
  • wear your seatbelt
  • learn water safety behavior and learn to swim
  • report unsafe, harmful, and violent conditions and get help
  • don't take irresponsible risks, know what is safe
  • don't play with fire
  • be smart with strangers, it's best to be with others most of the time
  • wash your hands often, eat well, sleep well, and take care of your bodies.
  • when sick, see a doctor and follow the doctor's orders
Also making it a requirement to have local doctors, law enforcement, and fire fighters meet with students each year will help in this regard.

For teens, and young adults 15-24, the major threats include traffic accidents, suicide, homicide, poisoning, accidents including drowning, endocrine issues, and surprising to me, leukemia. While I'm not a doctor and don't understand the causes of leukemia and endocrine issues well, the other areas of risk seem to be well connected with education. How can we help our teens and young adults to be safer?

First, why not share these stats with teens and young adults--let them know what the risks are and engage them in conversations about health and safety. Give them a chance to consider the result of unsafe behavior with regard to driving a car, drinking and driving, and other risky behavior. Also, as with the younger children, take some time to review water safety and provide swimming lessons. 

With suicide as the number two risk and homicide the number three risk for teens and young adults, it points to the fact that emotional health and safety are critical at this age. How do we make the time to support our teens and young adults, both in school and at home, with regard to their self concept, acceptance in society, contribution, and a positive sense of belonging? Where do we make space for these young people to find meaning, contribute, and belong? 

Sensational media stories can play with our sense of fear and importance when it comes to health and safety for the children we parent and the children we teach. The stats point us in the best directions when it comes to supporting safe and healthy environments and activities for kids. Don't you agree? 

If we look at risks for older people, most of those risks begin with unhealthy behavior as children and teens. Hence, it's also important to teach good nutrition, the dangers of smoking, and the positivity of healthy activity.