By Carol Trehearn
While most parents are afraid that their children will sustain some kind of injury during a sports-related activity, you can’t simply forbid your kids to play because they ‘might’ get hurt. It isn’t logical!
So what do you do, as a parent, knowing that injuries in very young children most likely will happen? The first thing you can do is go easy on yourself because statistically, very few children get through childhood without a few bumps and bruises.
However, what you can do is understand the risks involved in any activity and then be prepared to prevent accidents wherever possible and learn what to do in the event of an unforeseen injury.
Always Insist on Protective Gear
There are just some activities that require a responsible parent to provide adequate safety gear for their children. When riding bikes or skateboards, helmets are a must. Altogether too often a child will slam head-on into a tree or some obstacle, falling from their bike or board, which can lead to a serious head trauma if they don’t have a helmet designed to protect their delicate skulls.
When playing Tee Ball or other team sports, your child will be required to wear protective gear so never go without it. If you are not satisfied with team gear, purchase your own. Few coaches will forbid children from wearing authorized safety gear if it meets with Federal and local regulations.
Keep a List of Specialists on Hand
Knowing that it is inevitable that a child may get hurt during sports, the logical thing to do is keep a list of specialists on hand in case of ‘emergency.’ Too many parents wait until their child sustains a broken bone or gets a tooth knocked out before looking for specialists in their area.
If you live anywhere within the metropolitan New York vicinity, get references for orthopedic doctors, a NYC pediatric oral surgeon or even an ocular surgeon in the event of any severe injuries. Your family pediatrician may have referrals on hand so keep those numbers handy.
Teach Your Children the ‘Rules of the Road’
No, your little child is not going to be taking driving lessons any time soon but just as in driving a motor vehicle, there are ‘rules of the road’ when it comes to responsible sportsmanship. Never let a child go on the field or even out to play without reinforcing the rules of consideration for other players. This is something that has been lacking in our effort to win, win, win at all costs and fair sportsmanship can go a very long way in preventing accidents and injuries.
At this stage in a child’s life it is more important to teach socialization skills than it is to teach them how to be a star athlete. That will come later. Give them a strong foundation and you will see that the sky is the limit. A team player always goes farther than a loner so encourage your child to play nice with others.
There is much you can do as a parent to prevent injuries but in the event that one is sustained, it pays to have a list of specialists on hand so that you can act quickly if the need arises. Remember, you are your child’s ‘first coach’ so raise them up right and a great many injuries really can be prevented.