Preventing Sports Injuries in Children: What Parents Should Know

Despite some risks, sports have tremendous benefits for kids and should be encouraged. Through participating in sports, kids learn a myriad of positive behaviors. They learn new skills and how to enjoy being active now, and later in life, they have fun and learn teamwork and communication.  

With activity comes the potential for injury. There are some precautions parents can take so that their kids avoid sports injuries. Here are some tips that are essential for parents to know.  

Participate in Age Appropriate Athletics 

When helping your child find a sport to participate in, make sure that the sport is suitable for your child’s age, size, and skills. Too intense or demanding sports might be off-putting for kids and could sour their interest in sports. Match the child’s disposition to the sport to make it a positive experience.  

Younger kids should focus on learning how to play the sport, how to develop skills, understand the rules, and have a good time. Save the competition for when their motor skills are more developed. 

Take Time to Stretch 

Warming up before a sport gets the blood flowing. Muscles limber up and get ready for activity. Stretching before they begin means they can work on their range of motion and flexibility.  

Encouraging children to warm up thoroughly can avoid sprains, strains, and tears. 

Appropriate Equipment is Vital 

To ensure your child is safe when playing their sport, ensure they are properly fitted for the necessary gear. Safety gear such as helmets, pads, mouth and shin guards, pads, cups, and other protective gear is critical to avoid injury. 

Nourishment and Proper Hydration are Critical Ways to Prevent Sports Injuries 

Make sure your child is constantly hydrated. Encourage them to always have a full water bottle with them. Offer them drinks throughout their activity.  

Nutrition plays a key role in developing a strong body. Make sure your children have healthy snacks and meals available daily so that they remain energetic and up to the physical activity participating in a sport demands. 

Get Plenty of Rest 

Physical activity is important, as are rest and recovery afterward. Provide your children a quiet place to sleep and rest, so their muscles have proper downtime to recover. Encourage your child to take a break when they need it and to rest when necessary.  

Well-rested athletes perform better than those who are overtaxed.  

Education to Prevent Injuries 

Understanding proper technique is critical to not only excelling at a sport but also avoiding injury. Your child’s coach should instruct the children they coach on how to properly play a sport and how to avoid injury while doing so.  

Many injuries can be prevented through balance and strength work. Increasing strength, flexibility, and balance can reduce the health hazards that come along with participating in a sport.  

Overuse Injuries Can Complicate Sports Participation 

It is crucial to avoid overuse injuries. These occur when a participant in a sport is injured because of a required repetitive motion. Encourage your child to take breaks when necessary so that an overuse injury is avoided.  

It is also helpful when trying to avoid overuse injuries if your child plays more than one position or sport. A variety of movements, rather than a repetitive one, can be extremely helpful. 

Follow Your Child’s Lead 

Often, children are enthusiastic about a sport they have never played, but after giving it a try, their enthusiasm may wane. They may be overtraining, which can lead to burnout. Some signs of overtraining are:  

  • Fatigue 
  • Performance suffers 
  • The child becomes irritable 

A real risk of injury accompanies burnout. Listen to your child and take their lead. Sports participation paired with communication can go a long way to keep your child safe.  

If they mention to you that they are in pain or feel that there is an injury of some sort, listen to them and seek medical attention. It may be possible to catch an injury before it becomes too serious if it is addressed early. Delayed treatment can lead to more serious injuries. 

Be Ready in Case of an Emergency 

Having a charged phone nearby and a first aid kit on hand can ensure you are prepared for an emergency. Knowing where the closest medical facilities are can save time if the worst happens and you need an emergency room.   

Active kids sometimes get hurt. But you can avoid many injuries by practicing the above precautions. Ensure that your child is in the right sport for them, for their age, and that the coaching is adequate. Stretching, warm-ups, and proper techniques can help your child avoid the risk of injury. 

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