With the oncoming of sunshine and warm temperatures, your children will be heading out the door more often to play outside. From sports to pick-up games to simply playing on the playground, doctors see more child injuries during the spring and summer months than at any other time.
According to research from the National Program for Playground Safety, over 200,000 kids are injured while playing on a playground. This amount of child injuries seen during the spring and summer don’t even account for sports injuries. Every year, emergency Departments see more than 2.6 million children younger than the age of 19 for sports-related injuries. By knowing the causes of child injuries and learning how to prevent them, you can help you your child keep injury-free and playing all summer long.
Most Common Child Injuries
The most common types of sports-related child injuries include sprains, strains, and overuse injuries. Ankle sprains are particularly common for children, as are strains. Overuse injuries such as stress fractures and tendinitis are painful and hard to detect. However, they are usually noticed by the constant complaints of pain. Rest, ice, elevation, and many times physical therapy are all treatments that can help rehabilitate such injuries.
Other than sports-related injuries, children can also be injured simply by playing outdoors. Falling off monkey bars can result in a broken bone or a sprain. Strains, fractures, and tendonitis can occur from improper footwear. Furthermore, head injuries can occur from falls or collisions.
Common Causes Of Child Injuries
Children can injure themselves just about anywhere. However, during the spring and summer, the majority of injuries come from playing outside.
- Outdoor Equipment like trampolines and playgrounds, especially monkey bars, account for many child injuries during the warmer months. It’s common to see a child fall off monkey bars or get a foot stuck in the slide. This doesn’t necessarily always result in an injury, but the risk is definitely higher – as with any accident or fall.
- Ball sports like baseball, soccer, and softball always present injury risk to the head and shoulders. Even just pick-up games can still result in an injury. Many times, kids don’t have to belong to a sports team to sustain a sports-related injury.
- Improper gear is another major cause of child injuries. From wearing gear that doesn’t fit right to improper footwear and no helmet, lack of proper gear leads many parents and their child to the ER to be treated for concussions, sprains, and other injuries.
With bumps, bruises, and growing pains, it’s difficult to know when a child’s complaint about pain is an injury brewing. Moreover, it’s even more difficult to prevent those bumps, bruises, and pains. It may be impossible to prevent every injury from occurring, but there are some things that can be done to mitigate the risk and determine when to take your child in.
- Properly warm up. Warming up, stretching, and cooling down are three of the most important ways to prevent injuries. This is especially if the child is transitioning from middle school to high school sports, which are more demanding. It’s even more important to stick to rigid warm up and cool down routine to accommodate tougher physical activity and a changing body.
- Wear the right gear. From helmets to the right pads to even the right footwear, wearing the right gear means protection and injury-prevention. This gear may not need to be top-of-the-line, but it does need to follow the sports safety guidelines for the sports. Coaches are great resources when it comes to the right gear – type and fit. Therefore, it’s important to heed their advice. Furthermore, child athletes aren’t the only ones in need of the right gear, but any child who rides a bike, goes roller blading, or plays outside should have the right helmet, pads, and footwear to prevent injury.
- Ice first. If your child is experiencing pain, it will be beneficial to first ice the affected area and rest. However, if after a few days, the pain is still prevalent, it’s a good idea to have a doctor take a look at it. This excludes traumatic injuries such as head injuries or a broken bone or torn ligament. You should always take your son or daughter in to be seen by a doctor if they’ve sustained a traumatic injury.