More American children are competing in sports than ever before. Sports help children and adolescents keep their bodies fit and feel good about themselves. However, there are some important injury prevention tips that can help parents promote a safe, optimal sports experience for their child.
All sports have a risk of injury. Generally, the more contact in a sport, the greater the risk of injury. However, most injuries in young athletes are due to overuse.
Most injuries occur to ligaments (connect bones together), tendons (connect muscles to bones) and muscles. Only about 5 percent of sports injuries involve broken bones. However, the areas where bones grow in children are at more risk of injury during the rapid phases of growth. In a growing child, point tenderness over a bone should be evaluated further by a medical provider even if there is minimal swelling or limitation in motion.
Most frequent sports injuries are sprains (injuries to ligaments) and strains (injuries to muscles), caused when an abnormal stress is placed on tendons, joints, bones and muscle. Contact your pediatrician if you have additional questions or concerns.
To reduce the risk of injury:
- Time off. Plan to have at least 1 day off per week from a particular sport to allow the body to recover.
- Wear the right gear. Players should wear appropriate and properly fit protective equipment such as pads (neck, shoulder, elbow, chest, knee, shin), helmets, mouthpieces, face guards, protective cups, and/or eyewear. Young athletes should not assume that protective gear will protect them from performing more dangerous or risky activities.
- Strengthen muscles. Conditioning exercises before games and during practice strengthens muscles used in play.
- Increase flexibility. Stretching exercises before and after games or practice can increase flexibility.
- Use the proper technique. This should be reinforced during the playing season.
- Take breaks. Rest periods during practice and games can reduce injuries and prevent heat illness.
- Play safe. Strict rules against headfirst sliding (baseball and softball), spearing (football), and body checking (ice hockey) should be enforced. Stop the activity if there is pain.
- Avoid heat injury by drinking plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise or play; decrease or stop practices or competitions during high heat/humidity periods; wear light clothing.
Sports-Related Emotional Stress
The pressure to win can cause significant emotional stress for a child. Sadly, many coaches and parents consider winning the most important aspect of sports. Young athletes should be judged on effort, sportsmanship and hard work. They should be rewarded for trying hard and for improving their skills rather than punished or criticized for losing a game or competition. The main goal should be to have fun and learn lifelong physical activity skills.
American Academy of Pediatrics 2012
Posted on Apr 18, 2013 in News
Below are some resources for coping with tragedy in relation to the sad events that occurred at the Boston Marathon.
Join Autism Speaks in celebrating World Autism Awareness Day on April 2 and Light It Up Blue to help shine a light on autism. Whether it’s your front porch or your local city hall, an office party or a banquet, the whole world is going blue to increase awareness about autism.
Light It Up Blue, in its fourth year, is a unique global initiative to help raise awareness about the growing public health concern that is autism. Iconic landmarks around the world will Light It Up Blue to show their support.
Join us now and help shine a light on autism.
Posted on Mar 28, 2013 in Provider's Blog
Planning a trip? Traveling with children can be a delight and a challenge. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has the following tips for safe and stress-free family travel.
Traveling by Airplane
- Allow your family extra time to get through security – especially when traveling with younger children.
- Have children wear shoes and outer layers of clothing that are easy to take off for security screening.
- Strollers can be brought through airport security and gate-checked to make travel with small children easier.
- Talk to your children about the security screening process before coming to the airport. Let them know that bags (backpack, dolls, etc.) must be put in the X ray machine and will come out the other end and be returned to them.
- Discuss the fact that it’s against the law to make threats such as; “I have a bomb in my bag.” Threats made jokingly (even by a child) can delay the entire family and could result in fines.
- Arrange to have a car seat at your destination or bring your own along. Airlines will typically allow families to bring a child’s car seat as an extra luggage item with no additional luggage expense.
- When traveling on an airplane, a child is best protected when properly restrained in a car safety seat appropriate for the age, weight and height of the child until the child weighs more than 40 lbs. and can use the aircraft seat belt.
- The car safety seat should have a label noting that it is FAA-approved. Belt-positioning booster seats cannot be used on airplanes, but they can be checked as luggage (usually without baggage fees) for use in rental cars and taxis.
- Although the FAA allows children under age 2 to be held on an adult’s lap, the AAP recommends that families explore options to ensure that each child has her own seat. If it is not feasible to purchase a ticket for a small child, try to select a flight that is likely to have empty seats.
- Pack a bag of toys and snacks to keep your child occupied during the flight.
- In order to decrease ear pain during descent, encourage your infant to nurse or suck on a bottle. Older children can try chewing gum or drinking liquids with a straw.
- Wash hands frequently, and consider bringing hand-washing gel to prevent illnesses during travel.
- Consult your pediatrician before flying with a newborn or infant who has chronic heart or lung problems or with upper or lower respiratory symptoms.
- Consult your pediatrician if flying within 2 weeks of an episode of an ear infection or ear surgery.