Sports Safety for Children

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Keeping Kids Healthy

Sports are great for children. Sports can help a child's physical coordination, fitness, and self-esteem. Sports can also teach children about teamwork and self-discipline. But children are more likely get injured when playing a sport. This is because their body is still growing and their coordination is still developing.

Most childhood sports injuries occur when:

  • Kids don’t know what to do to stay safe when playing a sport
  • Kids don’t have the right equipment to play a sport – or don’t have any equipment at all
  • Kids aren’t in good physical shape to play the sport
  • These safety tips can help prevent sports injuries in children:
  • Children should wear the correct safety gear and equipment.
  • The playing field or court should be safe.
  • Team members and teams should be made up of children of similar size, skill level, and physical and emotional maturity.
  • Children should be physically fit and mentally prepared.
  • Children practicing a sport should be watched by an adult who enforces the safety rules.
  • Children should get enough fluids during and after sports.

Injury Statistics & Incidence Rates

According to the CDC, more than 2.5 million children and teens are treated for sports-related injuries in the emergency department each year. By far, the most common injuries are sprains and strains.

Obviously, some sports are more dangerous than others. For example, contact sports such as football can be expected to result in a higher number of injuries than a noncontact sport such as swimming. However, all types of sports have a potential for injury, whether from the trauma of contact with other players or from overuse or misuse of a body part. Although death from a sports injury is rare, brain injury is the leading cause of deaths that do occur after sports-related injuries.

Where and when

Playground, sports, and bicycle-related injuries occur most often among young children, between ages 5 and 14 years old.

The highest rates of injury occur in sports that involve contact and collisions. More severe injuries occur in individual sports and recreational activities. Most organized sports-related injuries occur during practice.

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