It’s that time of year again to dust off the bats and gloves.

As winter turns into spring and temperatures increase, so does the amount of time that children spend outdoors playing spring sports.  This means that the number of injuries to children can also increase.

 Each year, more than 30 million children participate in sports in the United States.  More than 3.5 million children ages 14 and under are treated for sports injuries.  While collision and contact sports are associated with higher rates of injury, injuries from individual sports tend to be more severe. 

 In team sports, such as baseball/softball, track and field, and also soccer, most injuries (62%) occur during practices, not games.  The most common types of sport-related injuries in children are sprains, muscle strains, bone or growth plate injuries, repetitive motion injuries and heat-related illness.  Although the spring temperatures don’t get as warm as summer, it is still very important to make sure your child remains hydrated.

 When we think of sports injuries, we tend to think of dramatic tackles of falls, such as plays you often see on highlight reels on ESPN, but young athletes are also at risk of injuries.  Be sure to remind your child that if their coach recommends certain warm-ups, it is not a punishment; they are simply trying to help them become a better athlete and keep them safe. 

 Below are some recommendations to think about when preparing yourself and your child for spring activities:

  •  The start of the season is a good time to assure that last years gear still fits.
  • Before signing up for a sport, have your child get a general physical exam
  • Be sure to have them wear the appropriate protective gear for the activity.
  • Remind them to also do their warm-ups and cool-downs.  This is especially important not only before the activity, but also after so that your child does not cramp up.
  • Make sure responsible adults know and enforce the safety rules of the sport, are present to provide supervision, and are trained in first aid and CPR.
  • Talk to you child about “playing through” an injury, remind them that they should not do this and get immediate help from a coach or trainer. 
  • If your child is playing outside, have them wear a sunscreen that is SPF 15 or higher.
  • Follow the rules. In most sports, the rules are based not only on sportsmanship, but also safety.

 Last but not least, make sure to keep your child hydrated.  Drinking plenty of water or electrolyte sports drinks before and during the activity will greatly help to avoid dehydration.  A child can lose up to a quart of sweat during two hours of exercise, and kids get overheated more easily than adults, and are not able to cool down as fast.

 For more information regarding spring sports safety or other unintentional injury prevention, visit our website www.safekidsgf.org.  We also have helmets, knee pads, elbow pads and other various safety gear available at our Safe Kids store at a reduced price.  If you are interested in purchasing please contact polsen@altru.org.

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About safekids

Safe Kids Grand Forks is an injury prevention coalition who has as their mission to prevent unintentional injuries to children under the age of 10. Safe Kids Grand Forks is one of over 600 state and local coalitions affilicated with Safe Kids Worldwide in Washington, D.C. Altru Health System is the lead agency for SKGF and our goal is to collaborate and coordinate activivies of all entities in the community who have childhood injury prevention on their agenda. Together, we are keeping the children of our community and region safe!!

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