After several months of being cooped up indoors due to the cold weather, kids of all ages love to spend time in the great outdoors during the summer! Playing basketball or baseball, riding bikes or scooters, rollerblading, jumping rope, running through the sprinkler or simply chasing one another through the backyard are everyday activities that seem harmless enough – and they usually are – but some injuries are almost inevitable when kids are involved. Scrapes, sprains, bruises and the like are fairly common during childhood.
Team sports and activities like those mentioned above are a great way for kids to stay active or get in shape, burn calories and interact with their friends, but injuries can happen to any child who participates in sports or simply “plays” regularly. If you’re a parent, here are some ways to help prevent and treat common injuries this summer.
Prevent Common Injuries
- Choose organized programs. Enroll your child in organized team sports’ programs, such as those through schools, clubs or recreation centers.
- Play safe. Ensure that your child has the proper safety gear for a particular sport, such as helmets or other protective clothing. Make sure that equipment is used and worn properly!
- Follow the rules. Learn and understand the rules and regulations of any athletic activity with your child. Knowing what to do and why can help your child become a better athlete and team player while also preventing injuries!
- Warm up; cool down. Remind your child to warm up and cool down before and after activities to help stretch and loosen muscles. Chiropractic care has been shown to help with sports and exercise related injuries.
- Stay hydrated. Always have water or sports drinks available and encourage your child to stay hydrated, especially when playing outdoors during hot weather.
Treat Common Injuries
If a life-threatening or very serious injury occurs while your child is playing this summer or at any other time of year, you should contact emergency medical professionals by calling 911, but here are ways to treat four less severe and common kids’ injuries at home.
- Bump on the head. As long as your child is conscious and responsive, apply an ice pack to reduce any swelling. Observe the child carefully and seek medical attention if he is dizzy or has a headache, his pupils change, he is vomiting, or he does not feel “normal” or “well.”
- Sprain or strain. Sports’ injury treatments will vary by injury, but if a sprain or strain is not severe, the RICE acronym is an easy way to remember what to do – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. If your child has injured his or her back, a chiropractor may also recommend other treatments.
- Minor cut/scrape. Apply pressure to stop bleeding. Clean with soap and warm water, pat it dry, apply antibiotic ointment and cover with a bandage.
- Nosebleed. Tilt the child’s head forward just a bit while pinching nostrils together for about 10 minutes. (Tilting the head backward could cause blood to be swallowed.) If the bleeding continues for more than 10 minutes or the child is vomiting, pale or sweaty, seek medical help.
Summertime is a wonderful time of year for children. Parents do their best to ensure that kids remain safe, but accidents and injuries can and do happen. The above-mentioned prevention and treatment tips will most likely come in handy.
Carrie Thompson works with CoreCare Back Institute in Roanoke and Danville, Virginia, and enjoys writing about family and children.