Got active kids? Keep them safe on the playing field

Active kids

More than 38 million children and adolescents participate in sports in the United States, so there are bound to be some injuries. The most common types among children are sprains, muscle strains, bone or growth plate injuries, repetitive motion injuries, and heat-related illnesses.

Because children's bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments are still growing, they are more susceptible to injury. The most injuries are seen in bicycling, basketball, football, and roller sports, although injuries can happen in any sport.

Here's what you can do to limit potential injuries when your child participates in sports.

Stay hydrated. Make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids before, during, and after a sporting activity. This will help prevent dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. It is also important to recognize the signs of dehydration. Symptoms can include muscle cramping, faintness, dizziness, nausea, rapid heartbeat, collapse, emotional instability, or high body temperature. Kids at play generate more heat than adults but sweat less, making them more susceptible to dehydration.

Avoid overuse injuries. Sports overuse injuries can be very subtle and difficult to detect. Consider a pre-season program for your child to allow for gradual increase in intensity. This allows the body to rest, rebuild, recover, and avoid injury. Stretching prior to practice and games, after 10 minutes of jogging or light activity, is crucial to injury prevention. In addition, allow for rest with an off-season and one or two days off each week during a season.

Protect against concussions. Ensure your child wears the correct protective equipment for the sport and that it fits properly, is well maintained, and is worn consistently and correctly. Encourage your child to practice good sportsmanship and to follow the rules to ensure safe play. Recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion, which can include appearing dazed or stunned, loss of consciousness, and sensitivity to light or noise. See the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website for a full list of symptoms. If you believe your child has suffered a concussion, seek medical treatment right away.

For more tips on how to keep your active child safe, visit Safe Kids Worldwide.


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