- Gearup. It’s extremely important that your child has all the correct protectivegear (shin guards for soccer, helmets for baseball or softball orhockey, or eye protection for basketball or racquetball, etc.). Make sure everything fits correctly as well, and have your children try on gear before you buy it.
- Bemindful of head bumps. There are around 300,000 headinjuries that are reported each year in young athletes. A child with aconcussion (even a mild one) should be evaluatedimmediately by a doctor and stay out of the sport until completely recovered. You want toavoid the risk of second impact syndrome (SIS), in which a secondinjury occurs to the brain before the first one is healed.
- Keep a level playing field. Ask your coach or sports organization togroup your child in with other kids his size and level ofdevelopment. Grade-schoolers can often vary in size and ability, anda child who is smaller and less skilled at a sport than other kids onthe playing field faces a greater risk of injury.
- Make sure that safety rules are enforced. If the coaches or refereeare not condeming unsafe behavior, you should talk with the coach about your concerns. If he or she doesn’t list, you have every right topull your child out of the game.
- Water, water and more water. Be sure children are given frequent andrepeated breaks to drink water. It’s also a good idea to keep themcool by misting them with a water spray bottle. Sports drinks with electrolites can also be beneficial.
- Resting Days. Many doctors recommend limiting sports activityto five or less days a week, with at least two days off for rest.
- Stretch. Make sureyour kids are stretching after practice and games. They are much moreprone to injury and straining muscles if they don’t.
- Sunscreen.If your child is involved in an outdoors sport, have them wearsunscreen all the time, even if it’s cloudy outside.
For more specific sports injuryprevention, check out this great resource, StopSportsInjuries.org!