Whether your child is already participating in sports this summer or you’re getting them ready for the season ahead, you know that your top priority is to keep them safe out on the field or on the court.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 2.6 million children are taken to the ER every year as a result of sports- and recreation-related injuries. But there are steps you can take as a parent to help your child avoid these injuries. Here are five of the most important tips you can follow:
Start with a Physical
One of the best ways to ensure your child is prepared for their season is to meet with a primary care doctor or pediatrician for a physical.
Physicals are required for participation in many youth sports leagues already, but even if they’re not, these exams are essential because they’ll ensure that your child is healthy enough to play.
Keep an Eye on the Temperature
Outdoor sports provide a great opportunity for your child to get out of the house and get some sun. But during the summer, high temperatures and limited shade make dehydration, heat exhaustion, and other serious heat-related illnesses a real possibility.
Of course, you should ensure that your child applies sunscreen and drinks plenty of water. But you should also keep an eye on the temperature during practices and games, and encourage coaches to schedule those earlier or later to avoid the hottest time of the day. You can also help by having your child wear loose, lightweight, and light-colored clothing to reduce the impact of the heat.
Stress the Importance of Stretching
Although many kids are ready to get playing as soon as they arrive at practice or a game, stretching before physical activity begins is key to limiting injuries.
Stretching can help prevent muscle tears, strains, and sprains. And it’s up to parents and coaches to make a point of easing into more strenuous physical activity before anyone gets hurt.
Make Sure Their Coach is Prepared
Whether your child is playing baseball, softball, soccer, football, lacrosse, field hockey, or another sport, their coach should be prepared to handle any emergency situations.
It’s a good idea to find out if they’re certified in first aid and CPR, and they should always have a first aid kit available at every practice and game regardless. In addition, if your child is playing a contact sport such as football, their coaches should be able to identify concussion symptoms and know how to respond appropriately.
Set a Good Example
As a parent, you know that your children are always watching. They learn from what they see adults doing. That’s why it’s so important for you to set a good example for everyone participating in youth sports.
Good sportsmanship, playing by the rules, discouraging aggressive behavior, and using proper technique are all things that you should impart to your child. But overly hostile parental behavior is something that you should be especially cognizant of as well. Just remember, everyone should be there to have fun, make friends, and get some exercise.