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5 Ways to Prevent Childhood Sports-Related Injuries

Sports-Related Injuries
If your child participates in sports, then there is a potential for some type of injury - minor or serious. As a concerned parent, you will want to take every precaution to reduce this risk. Fortunately, you can take several measures to help your child stay safe as he or she enjoys favorite physical activities. This guide lists four ways to help your child avoid injuries while playing sports.

1. Be Sure the Field and Equipment Are Maintained

As a parent, you should check your child's playing equipment before he or she uses it. Inspect the gear for signs of warping or damage. Be sure there are no loose pieces that might fall off or cause injury.

In addition, coaches and playground supervisors need to inspect the playing area regularly. Objects or obstructions should be removed. You should also tell your child to be on the lookout for anything that should not be on the field or playground. If something seems wrong, then tell your child he or she must report it to the supervisor or coach at once.

2. Stay Informed and Educate Your Child

Parents, coaches, and supervisors should be educated about proper safety rules for sports. Although a coach will explain safety rules to the players, parents should make sure their children understand these and other safe playing tips as well. As a parent, stay informed and be sure your child is educated on safety while participating in sports.

Don't be shy about directing questions to your child's coach and supervisors. For example, the coach should know if adult supervision is provided at all playing times. Do the supervisors or coach have hands-on training in first aid and CPR? As a parent, you have the right to ask and be well informed on all safety measures.

3. Insist on Protective Safety Gear

To avoid injury, protective gear should be worn at all times during sports participation. If your child is playing snow sports, then goggles can protect him or her from being hit in the eye from flying objects and wind damage. A helmet that meets safety regulations is also a must.

Wrist guards, knee and elbow pads, and shin guards are also needed for some sports, such as soccer and skating. Baseball, football, and hockey players should be wearing mouth guards to protect teeth and gums from injury. If your child is involved in water sports, then a life jacket or vest should be worn.

4. Have Your Child Warm Up Before Playing

Warming up the muscles before playing sports or performing physical activities is important. Failure to do so may result in sprains and strains from overuse of muscles. Warming up by performing some simple stretching or gentle exercises will increase the heart rate gradually and help loosen tight muscles and gradually warm them up.

Typically, coaches will instruct and supervise during warm-up sessions. If your child is playing independently, then be sure he or she does warm-up exercises and stretches prior to playing sports.

Last but not least, be sure your child is wearing comfortable shoes. Shoes should provide proper support and traction, as well as fit properly.

5. Avoid Dehydration 

If your child is playing sports outdoors, the temperature and environment may influence his or her safety. For instance, playing outdoors on a hot and humid day will require your child to stay well hydrated. Even when playing indoors in a comfortable environment, staying hydrated is vital. Dehydration may lead to heat-related muscle cramps and illness.

Tell your child to drink plenty of fluids before and after the game, as well as during breaks or timeouts. Also, your child should wear moisture-wicking clothing that is lightweight and airy.

If your child experiences a sports-related injury or illness that does not respond to self-care, then don't delay in seeking medical attention. See a physician for evaluation and treatment.