Sports Safety for Kids
Playing sports is great for children and adults. It has both physical and psychological
benefits. Sports can increase physical coordination, fitness, and self-esteem. They
also teach important lessons about teamwork and self-discipline.
But children are at risk for sports
injuries. That's because their bodies are still growing and their coordination is
developing. Many children ages 14 and younger are treated for sports-related injuries
year. Half of all those injuries can be prevented with proper use of safety gear and
changes to the playing environment. Following sports rules can help prevent injuries,
Most sports injuries occur due to the following:
Lack of education and awareness
about safety precautions and possible injury
Inappropriate equipment or no
Poorly conditioned players
These are general safety precautions to help prevent sports injuries:
Wear the right safety gear and equipment.
Make sure the playing
environment is well-lit and appropriate for the sport .
Enforce safety rules.
Stay hydrated during and after
Take breaks while training and during games to prevent overuse injuries.
Safety gear and equipment
Safety gear should be
sport-specific. It may include such items as goggles, mouth guards, shin-elbow-knee
pads, and helmets. The safety gear should fit properly. Sports equipment (such as
baskets, and goals) should also be in good working condition. Any damage should be
repaired or the item should be replaced. The playing area should be free from debris
The sports physical
To make sure your child is
physically fit to play in a certain sport, get a sports physical. These physicals
reveal physical strengths and weaknesses. They can help determine which sports are
When is my child ready to participate in sports?
Starting a child in sports at too
young an age may not benefit the child physically. Children can start playing team
sports when they express strong interest and you feel they can handle it. Age and
shouldn't be the only measures used. Also consider their ability to understand the
concept of rules and teamwork. Keep in mind that no two children are alike. Some may
be ready physically or psychologically to take part in a team sport until they are
older. Base your decision on whether to allow the child to take part in a particular
sport based on the following:
Note: The American Academy of
Pediatrics recommends that late-developing teens not take part in contact sports until
their bodies have developmentally "caught up" to their peers' bodies.
The importance of hydration
Sweat lost during sports must be
replaced with equal amounts of fluids each hour of intense sports activity. Your child
should drink fluids before, during, and after each practice or game. To avoid stomach
cramps from drinking large amounts of fluids at once, drink about 1 cup of water (or
type of sports drink) every 15 to 20 minutes. Don't drink beverages with carbonation
The following are the most common symptoms of dehydration:
Headache or dizziness
Slight weight loss
If your child has signs of
dehydration, make sure your child gets fluids right away, as well as a snack. Some
symptoms of dehydration may be caused by other health problems. Always see a healthcare
provider for a diagnosis.