As summer winds down and the leaves on the trees begin to glow with their changing colors, the change of seasons isn’t just about the natural world. For kids and teenagers, it’s about a return to education and the social atmosphere surrounding it. But as your clients’ employees prepare to send their children back to school, preparing backpacks and notebooks aren’t the only things they may be concerned with.
A return to school means a return to activity—and not just sitting in the classroom or the library. It’s a return to sports, music, theater, field trips, conference band and choir competitions, social gatherings and so much more. Because of this sudden and concentrated increase in activity, back-to-school season often means back to something else: accidents.
There are all types of accidents that kids may be worried about—sneezing in class, spilling water on their pants, dropping their books in the hallway—but the accidents your clients’ employees may be most worried about are of a physical nature. And with good reason.
School sports injuries—not just for student athletes
Consider sports, for example. In the United States, approximately 30 million children and teens participate in organized sports each year.1 An estimated 2 million high school athletes suffer some type of injury, with 30,000 requiring hospitalization. And younger children aren’t immune—3.5 million children ages 14 and younger receive medical treatment for sports injuries of their own.2 The majority of these injuries don’t even occur in competition with another school. In fact, a significant 62% of these injuries occur during practice.1
Students don’t need to play on a sports team to be affected. While today’s average child spends less than three years playing a sport, quitting by age 11,3 physical education is a required class in most schools, even in high school. So, just as injuries can happen in practice, they can happen in class. As a matter of fact, more than 40,000 children each year are injured so badly in gym class that they end up in the emergency room.4
“School safety” applies to accidents, too
But sports aren’t the only arena in which school accidents can happen. With 200,000 children treated in United States emergency departments for playground equipment-related injuries each year, even recess can lead to an unexpected accident—and the associated treatment costs.5,6
Accidents are just that—accidents—and even the safest environment can play host to them. Even if the children of your clients’ employees do nothing but walk to and from classes, accidents happen; a whopping 55% of all major school-related accidents are caused by falls, slips and trips.7 And these can and do happen anywhere. All it takes is one freshly mopped slick spot on the floor, and your clients’ employees can be trying to strike a balance between their child’s health and their family’s finances.
You can help support families who need accident insurance
As a broker, this is an area where you can help your clients support their employees, potentially even before the employees recognize their need. With the costs of even the most common injuries being nothing to sneeze at—the average cost of treating a broken arm is $2,500, and that’s without surgery8—providing an accident insurance option that offers supplemental coverage beyond the general health insurance plan your clients offer can help protect families when they need it the most. Aflac’s supplemental accident insurance can help your clients’ employees not just with the medical bills incurred from a school injury, but with other related costs such as gas to and from physical training appointments in their child’s recovery.
Supplemental accident insurance could be needed in record numbers as families enter the first “regular” school year after the disruption of COVID-19. Across the country, sports seasons were canceled, field trips went virtual, and in-person social events were eliminated. In response, kids and teens may try to be even more active than they were before—especially since, for some, this will be their first time back to school in person since early 2020.
Part of childhood involves learning limits. Kids and teens may seek to push themselves to their greatest capacity, especially now that they’ve seen how quickly the activities they once took for granted can vanish. With this renewed passion, accidents could easily happen. And the accidents tend to have a cost attached. But as a broker, you have the ability to help clients’ employees be ready to face them with confidence.
1 Stanford Children’s Health. “Sports Injury Statistics.” Published 2020. Accessed 5.25.2021.
2 Weinstein Legal. “Surprising Statistics about Injuries in High School Sports.” Published 4.17.2020. Accessed 5.25.2021.
3 Aspen Institute, Project Play. “Survey: Kids Quit Most Sports By Age 11.” Published 8.1.2019. Accessed 5.25.2021.
4 Injury Claim Coach. “Gym Class Incidents and Accidents: Proving School Liability.” Published 2.3.2019. Accessed 5.25.2021.
5 Biomed Central. “Playground equipment-related extremity fractures in children presenting to US emergency departments, 2006-2016.” Published 9.21.2020. Accessed 5.21.2021.
6 Healthgrades. “Common Illnesses and Injuries in Schools.” Published 4.26.2021. Accessed 5.21.2021.
7 Greenberg & Stein. “5 Common Accidents That Happen At School.” Published 5.8.2019. Accessed 5.21.2021.
8 CostHelper. “Broken Arm Cost.” Published 2021. Accessed 5.21.2021.
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