Do you remember your child’s first boo-boo? The first scraped knee or the accidental ding on the head that made your heart skip a beat like major surgery was in order?
For a new parent, the first few scrapes and bumps can be very stressful and scary. As your child grows up and becomes more active, you become a pro at bandaging up any wound faster than an NFL medic can get the quarterback back in the game. Their chance of getting injured during their outdoor playtime will only increase when they play a team sport.
According to the WFAA, one in three American children who play a team sport suffers injuries severe enough to require medical attention. But, most of the time these injuries are easily preventable. Looking for a few ways you can decrease the likelihood of your child suffering an injury? Luckily, there are a few sports medicine best practices you both can follow to prevent injuries from happening. Here are a few tips to keep your kids injury-free, according to SafeKids.org and StopSportsinjuries.org:
- Keep hydrated! Children require fluids (water, Gatorade, etc.) every 15 to 20 minutes of activity.
- Make sure conditions are safe to play. That not only includes the playing field/court, but also the weather conditions. Avoid high humidity and over 90-degree weather if possible, as children cannot tolerate harsh weather as well as adults.
- Properly warm-up each and every time. This means a jog with stretching. No bouncing while stretching either!
- Allow your child a rest day at least once a week. An “off-season” is important too. According to Safe Kids, 90% of parents underestimate the amount of rest time kids need. If your child insists on playing sports year-round, cross train with other sports that use different muscles.
- Begin new activities slowly. Trying too much all at once increases the risk for injury.
- Wear proper safety equipment and make sure it fits correctly.
- Get your child a physical exam before allowing them to participate in a sport to be sure there’s no underlying medical issue that would cause problems later down the road.
- Try to find the best coaches possible, especially when your child is beginning a new sport. Incorrect form in a sport can often lead to injury.
Whether your child is in an organized sports league, a camp or just playing games outside, it’s important to identify the risks of sports-related injuries. Letting your kids participate in sports can help both academically and socially, teaching them disciple, teamwork and leadership skills. It is very important for kids to stay active and learn healthy exercise habits early on.
Thanks to First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative, it’s easier than ever to find ways to keep active. Just remember to be safe, and take the small steps to ensuring your child stays injury-free all summer long!