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Maurice Buckley, CEO, NSAI (National Standards Authority of Ireland), says parents need to be aware of a number of issues.  “The start of a new school year can make many parents nervous as they will not be able to keep a close an eye on their children as they had during the summer holidays.  NSAI would like to take this opportunity to highlight a number of safety related standards that will help ensure you and your children have a safe return to school.”

Cycle safely!

If your child is cycling to and from school, make sure that they are wearing a bicycle helmet and a high visibility vest.   Check both items for the CE Mark, which shows that the products meet essential safety requirements set down in the European PPE Directive.  It is recommended that when cycling hi-visibility vests are worn at all times to ensure that motorists can see your child clearly.  Always wear an appropriate helmet when cycling, rollerblading or skateboarding to school. The WHO estimates that a helmet can reduce head trauma by up to 69% during a collision or fall.

School Run Safety:

77% of child fatalities in collisions (1996-2000) were due to a lack of or misuse of a child restraint car seat, according to the Road Safety Authority.  Make sure to choose the right child safety seat so that your child is safe while on the car trip to school; child seats are categorized by the weight of the child, not the child’s height.  Only child seats with an E mark and supplied with instructions for installation and instructions for use are acceptable.  The requirement for child seats is UN-ECE R44.04, so look for the E mark on car seats.

Sports Safety:

The return to school also means the return to team sports for many children.  NSAI developed the Irish Standards I.S. 356 and I.S. 357 in response to fatal accidents that occurred when people came in contact with goalposts that were defective, unstable or modified.  These standards have robust codes of practice in place for sporting teams and bodies to adhere to across all sports, including soccer, rugby, GAA and Camogie.

Toy Safety:

Those working in child care such as in crèches, playschools or schools should ensure that toys possess the CE Mark.  By law, the CE mark should be on all toys placed on the European Union market and it can also display the standard mark for toys, EN 71.  It shows that the toy meets the essential safety requirements of the European Toy Safety Directive. This allows you to be safe in the knowledge that the toy is flame retardant and that the design, construction and materials used in its composition are safe for your child to play with. 

Window blind safety:

As parents are becoming more aware of window blind safety in the home, child carers in crèches, playschools or schools should check that window blinds are in compliance with the Irish Standard I.S. EN 13120 ‘Internal blinds – Performance requirements including safety’.  This standard specifies the requirements for the construction, installation, operation and maintenance of internal window blinds.  Looped corded blinds can pose a potential hazard to young children and there have been a number of tragic deaths in Ireland involving cords and young children.  NSAI have useful tips on their website on how to make window blinds safe for young children'.

Maurice Buckley, CEO, said “Whether making the regular ‘school run’ or playing sport for the school team, consumers are protected by NSAI standards that ensure their safety and can help reduce injuries. By exercising caution and a little common-sense, families can enjoy a safe school year.”

For more information on safety and accident prevention, visit