Sports Safety for Kids

Sports Safety for Kids


Having children involved in sports – especially full-contact sports (but, what isn’t these days?) – can be a bit nerve-racking! And, if you’re a bit of a worrier, watching your child get bumped and jostled back and forth could be a very nail-biting experience for you. So, what’s a parent to do? You can’t tell your child they can’t play sports at all, can you? (You probably already tried that and it didn’t go over very well, huh?) Well, here’s a few things to set your mind at ease…

Anybody with kids knows that their safety is of utmost importance – especially when they’re running around on a field or court with other kids bumping into them. While most injuries sustained by children and teens are minor and recover just fine, there is always the chance that a serious injury could occur, possibly resulting in a lifetime of medical troubles.

There is greater risk of sports injuries in children than in adults because children’s bodies are still growing. Growth plates in bones and stretching muscles and tendons are more prone to injury than in the more fully-formed adult bodies.

So, what’s a caring, concerned parent to do without forbidding their children to play sports?

WebMD has the following recommendations for both parents and coaches:

Parents (and coaches) can take the following steps to help reduce the risk and severity of sports- and recreation-related injuries in their children:

  1. Grouping
    Try to group children according to weight, size, and skill rather than chronological age, particularly for contact sports. Sometimes children who are small for their age attempt to perform beyond their capacity in order to keep up with larger and stronger peers, resulting in an increased risk for injury. Find out how a particular sports program groups its participants. Some programs even take into account parents’ ratings of their child’s aggressiveness and competitiveness when forming leagues.
  2. Equipment
    Be sure all sports equipment and playing fields are safe and properly maintained. Over 200,000 injuries occur on playground equipment each year, and unsecured or defective equipment can increase the risk of harm.
  3. Gear
    Use properly-sized, safety-tested, and well-fitting protective gear when appropriate for a particular sport. Be sure that children understand the correct use of protective gear.
  4. Check-up
    Visit your pediatrician for a pre-season physical examination before beginning a sport.
  5. Listen
    Never push a child to play a sport if he/she feels uncomfortable or physically incapable of participating in the sport. Likewise, don’t push a child who is injured while playing to continue playing or “work through” the pain of an injury. Even if a child normally enjoys a particular sport, don’t insist on participation if he or she is very tired or unwell.
  6. Investigate
    Find out about the facilities and coaches at your sports facility. Certified athletic trainers are present at many facilities who have experience in preventing and recognizing sports injuries.
  7. Be Pro-active
    Always seek medical care when a child becomes injured or develops a persistent symptom that interferes with his or her ability to play.

Prevention is worth a pound of cure. Being a little extra cautious to prevent an injury is worlds better than suffering through trying to get an injury to mend. Using the above recommendations, it should be easier to double-check important aspects of safety for your child before releasing them out onto the field or court. You still may feel concerned, but that is just the natural worry of a good parent.

Do you have any personal experience or advice for other parents that you would like to share? If so, please feel free to comment below. Good suggestions of what to do and letting others know things that definitely did not work for you is always helpful. Please, however, be mindful not to bash any particular individual, association, or brand.

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