It is now almost spring, and summer is right around the corner. And that means a lot of kids are going to head outside whenever they can, and a lot of them will be getting involved with some local sports leagues.
As your kids get out there and start running, dancing, playing and competing, it’s unfortunately possible that some injuries are going to occur. Most of them will be incidental, but others might be pretty serious.
One study suggested that 3.5 million young athletes get injured each year. Another report estimated that about one million of those will be serious injuries that need some kind of care or treatment. These injuries could be everything from muscle pulls and ankle sprains as well as serious concussions. It could even be broken or lost teeth.
In an effort to reduce these types of accidents and injuries, the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation (NYSSF) has declared that April should be National Youth Sports Safety Month. This has been happening annually for many years, now, and it’s a great opportunity to talk about safety a little more and make sure that this season is all about fun and not about trips to the emergency room.
Every sport presents different risks, so it’s important to educate yourself on them so you can prevent the most likely injuries. (There are plenty of great resources that address each sport individually.)
Injury prevention is critical to make sure this season is fun and safe for everyone.
Start by Understanding Sources of Injuries
Each different sport has the potential to cause different types of injuries. However, there are some common sources between all of them that regularly lead to accidents and injuries, including:
- Lack of pre-game warmup
- Lack of the right safety equipment or improperly fitted equipment
- Unsafe playing areas
- Playing with pre-existing injuries
- Unsuitable temperatures
- Teaming up by age instead of size
Tips for Keeping Your Kids Safe
Don’t let the possibility of injury prevent your children from getting out and getting involved. In fact, most sports injuries are preventable, if you’re properly prepared. The following are a few tips to help keep your kids in the game and staying safe.
- Always have a water bottle on hand, at practices and games, so the kids stay nice and hydrated.
- Make sure they stretch out before practices and games to help avoid muscle tears or sprains.
- Protect their teeth with a reliable mouth guard.
- Don’t assume it’s “just practice,” and therefore safe. Some studies suggest that more than half of sports injuries happen during practice.
- Talk with your little athletes about how they can protect themselves and teach them the importance of warmups, eating well, hydrating, and resting when necessary.
- Talk about what to do if they get injured. Let them know it’s okay to stop playing immediately and get help.
Sports injuries are serious. Don’t assume they can just “walk it off.” If something does happen, get it looked at as soon as possible.
Protecting Their Teeth
A comfortable, fitted mouth guard that doesn’t irritate gums or soft tissues is a critical component to protect your children’s teeth while they’re out on the field. This is a simple appliance that prevents a lot of pain and dental damage, which means they won’t need a lot of restorative procedures later on.
Sports guards are designed to cover more of the gums than regular bite guards (like the kind you might get if you regularly grind your teeth at night). And since they’re a little thicker, they’re able to absorb sudden impacts and protect the teeth.
There are a lot of guards you can buy at the store, but they aren’t usually as comfortable as those that are made specifically for your child by a pediatric dentist who specializes in it.
Make the Most of National Youth Sports Safety Month
April is a great month to bring up all these potential problems and learn how to deal with them. Whether you’re getting all the protective equipment your child needs to prevent injuries or increasing warm up times and healthy routines, there’s a lot you can do to make this season safe and fun.
Out Of This World Dentistry serves Draper, South Jordan, West Jordan and surrounding areas.