Sporty Kids – 10 Ways To Play It Safer

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According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), three million kids are injured playing sports each year. Most of these injuries occur as a result of falls, being struck by an object, collisions, and overexertion. Even the mildest of injuries can spoil your child’s fun during sports season, so keep these ideas in mind to keep the athletes in your family safe and healthy.

1. Buy New Protective Gear and Shoes.

As parents we frequently worry about our kids’ safety, but unfortunately, we don’t always worry about the right things. Helmets, for example – they save lives! According to the AAP, cycling, skateboarding and skating are responsible for the majority of sports-related head injuries, so kids’ tender noggins need protection.

Buy proper mouth guards, protective guards, and the right shoes (FYI: soccer cleats won’t work for baseball). It’s important to buy these items new. Shoes from last season may be worn down and uneven on the bottom which can cause an ankle to twist. Don’t chance it.

2. Talk to a Physician About Previous Injuries.

Most team sports require a physical examination anyway, so do take the time to get the green light from your physician and discuss previous injuries. Your child may be advised to tape the injured area or wear a supportive brace during games. Make sure to follow medical recommendations to prevent re-injury.

3. Explain and Reinforce Proper Rest.

This is especially critical during summer vacation when kids and parents alike tend to keep late hours. Proper sleep aids in preparing your child for a camp, game or match. A well-rested brain makes it easier for your child to concentrate (helping to avoid injury), and good sleep is necessary for the body to repair cells and recover from exertion.

4. Say No to Bare Feet.

Warm weather may be all about barefootin’ it, but sports is not! Uneven surfaces and getting kicked or stomped on can spell bad news for little feet. Talk with your kids about how it won’t be any fun to be stuck inside with an awkward cast or bandage  just because they were too busy to tie on shoes.

5. Prioritize Safer Practices.

The AAP reports that 60% of all organized sports-related injuries occur during practice! Make sure you talk to your child about wearing proper protective gear and the need to concentrate at practice just as much as during a game.

6. Scope Out Unsafe Playing Fields.

Dips, divots, holes, and uneven surfaces have “sprain” written all over them. Coaches may get busy with players and administrative duties, so if possible, parents should take time to walk the field and report any potential issues.

7. Stretching and Warm-ups Are More Important Than You Think.

Talk to your child about how to avoid muscle strain. Light jogging, stretches, and warm-up exercises warm the body’s tissues and keep them flexible. Warming up also clears the mind, aids focus, and mentally prepares players for the game.

8. Confirm That First-aid Kits Are Accessible.

Again, coaches are often burdened with excessive responsibility and details, and this is a concrete area where parents can pitch in. Kids and sports are too dangerous a combo to ever be without a first-aid kit.

9. Hydrate.

Hydration during practices and games is critical, so go ahead and be the parent who always has an extra bottle of water on hand – it’s important.

10. Seek Immediate Treatment For Injuries.

Time is often of the essence where sports injuries are concerned. Even if the injury appears to be an ankle sprain, see a physician to help avoid future issues such as instability or arthritis.

Michele Ranard
About Michele Ranard

Michele Ranard has a husband, two children, and a master’s in counseling.

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