The health and safety of our children comes first. We make sure that our homes are safe and secure. We kiddie-proof the stairs and the electrical sockets. We make sure they are buckled up when in the car. Yet when they are out having fun and getting fit on the sports field, we may not be able to protect them from every injury, but we can limit the risks by taking a few preventative steps.

Description: Description: Growing pains

Growing pains

Keep your children well hydrated; pop an extra bottle of water into their lunchbox when they have sport later that day.

Children under the age of eight are not particularly well co-ordinated because their joints, muscles and bones are still developing, along with their visual, spatial and motor skills. Many youngsters also have a sense of fearlessness from that allows them to stretch their limits, be confident and adventurous. They throw themselves, hammer and tongs, into every tackle, swing and shot. This makes them more susceptible to injuries and accidents on the sports field.

Kid also grow and mature at different rates. According to Dr. Joseph Congeni, Head of Paediatric Sports Medicine at Akron Children's Hospital, growth spurts can aggravate stress injuries because there is an “imbalance between strength and flexibility”.

Dr. Congeni advises parents to take a “prevention is better than cure” approach. Make sure your children have the correct kit, such as sport-specific shoes and pads. When choosing a coach ask, if they have first aid and CPR training, If you have training in first aid, offer your services whenever you are at a match or practice. Make sure the playing surface is in good condition without holes where ankles can be twisted.

Keep your children well hydrated; pop an extra bottle of water into their lunchbox when they have sport late that day. Dehydration can lead to muscular cramps, vomiting and even fainting. This could easily be the cause of an accident on the sporting field.

Description: Description: Keep your children well hydrated

Keep your children well hydrated

Ironically, inactivity has become a prevalent cause of sports injuries in children. Dr. Andri Smuts, a physiotherapist at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria, explains that children are a lot less active nowadays. They spend more time sitting and playing video games than swinging from jungle gyms.

Physical activity strengthens bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons. It also improves balance and co-ordination as well as decreases the risk of injury when playing sport.

Parents should ensure children are active for at least an hour every day. Good exercise for a child does not mean an hour long spinning class. Kids get exercise just playing a game of catch or racing around a park. Instead of taking them to a movie on the weekend, take them for a bike ride or kick the ball around in the park.

 When it comes to keeping our kids safe on the sports field, remember it's up to you to ensure taking as many precautions as possible on for your child's safety.
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