If your child participates in sports, even on a casual or recreational level, he or she is at a risk for injury. With some foresight and precaution, you can help your child avoid serious injuries while playing the game. Protective gear is important, and placing safety first is a must. Whether your child plays contact sports or rides a mountain bike, here are a few pointers to avoid injury.
1. Inspect Equipment Before Each Use
Inspecting equipment for faulty parts or damage should be a habit that is reinforced. Teach your child how to look over the equipment for signs of damage that may cause injury. For example, before riding a bicycle, you should ensure tires are properly inflated and inspect the rims for signs of damage. You may also need to adjust the seat for the child's height.
Gymnastic equipment should also be well maintained and inspected before use. When you notice damage, ensure the facility performs repairs before you allow your child to use the equipment. You should also inspect outdoor sports equipment such as basketball backboards, softball bases, and skateboards. To avoid injury, replace equipment that is worn or badly damaged.
2. Gear Up With Protective Devices
Shoulder and knee pads, as well as bike helmets and mouthguards are devices that can help protect your child from sports-related injuries. Your child should always use protective gear, even if only playing for short bursts at a time. Be sure the protective gear is a good fit and is designed for the size and weight of your child.
3. Warm Up and Take Breaks
Warming up before playing sports is as necessary for children as it is for adults. To avoid sprains and strains, your child should do some light stretching to warm the muscles before playing sports or exercising. In addition, dancing, walking lunges, or performing arm circles or pendulum swings may help.
Also, children have a tendency to push themselves to the max playing playing sports, and they may not be able to tell when their muscles are being overworked or strained. For this reason, you need to ensure your child takes breaks every now and then to allow muscles and tendons to recover. Doing so will help avoid repetitive stress injuries.
4. Consider Cross-Training for Your Child
If your child participates in only one sport consistently, he or she may be placing stress on one set of muscles. To avoid such injury, have your child try two or three different activities that utilize different muscles groups. For instance, if your child enjoys softball, have him or her try bike riding on alternative days. Mix it up to avoid repetitive motion injuries.
5. Condition the Body
If your child is interested in playing sports, be sure he or she is in good physical condition. Begin with a thorough check-up from your child's pediatrician. If your child is overweight, help him or her achieve a healthy weight by consuming the daily caloric intake as recommended by the doctor. Being physically first may help your child avoid injury while playing sports.
6. Recognize a Sports-Related Injury
It's important to recognize the symptoms of a sports-related injury. Knowing how to sport an injury right away can help initiate treatment early on which may prevent further damage. Look for decreased mobility to a joint, swelling, or pain. If you suspect your child has a broken bone, seek emergency treatment at once.
For more advanced diagnostics and treatment, schedule an appointment with Orthopaedic & Sports Specialists PC. Our doctors have experience in treating orthopaedic injuries in children and can help your child recover faster.