Chances are, this summer your kids will spend a lot of time running around—playing baseball, tag, and games on the playground. While exercise is great for kids, it’s important to play safely. New estimates say that one in 10 kids get medical treatment for a sport injury every year.
So here are a few safety tips from Sujal Desai, D.O., an orthopedic surgeon at Little Company of Mary.
1. If your kids play organized sports, put them with a trained coach and an athletic trainer, who can detect injuries early and, if need be, refer children to the proper doctor.
2. Make sure kids warm up and cool down.
3. Be sure they drink plenty of water, especially during the hot summer months.
4. Have kids use the proper protective gear for their sport, such as protective pads protect arms and legs during contact sports like football.
5. Provide kids with calcium-rich food and drinks, which helps bones harden and become strong. Examples include milk and other dairy products such as low-fat cheese or frozen yogurt.
Sports and exercise is actually a great way to strengthen children’s bones. Bones grow both in length and density throughout childhood, normally increasing by 50 percent during adolescence. Bone mass typically peaks between the ages of 16 to 25 years, and remains relatively constant before a gradual decline throughout adulthood.
If your child is unfortunate enough to receive an injury, for muscles and tendons, the best immediate treatment is RICE: rest, ice, compression and elevation. See your child’s doctor or a pediatric sports medicine specialist if you suspect a broken bone, dislocated joint or long-lasting, severe swelling or pain—especially if your child can’t walk, Dr. Desai says. Medications, casts and splints, and sometimes surgery may be needed.
Sujal Desai, D.O., Orthopedic Surgeon and specialist in Sports Medicine
2850 West 95th St., Suite 406
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