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Michelle Cannon

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Cannon Realty & Associates

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June 11th, 2010

Protecting Your Family

Source: National Safe Kids Campaign

Injury doesn't have to keep your kids on the bench - simple safety precautions like proper conditioning and equipment can help your kids stay off the sidelines and in the game.

Consistency is the key. Most organized sports-related injuries occur during practice - unfortunately, a third of parents (34 percent) say their kids do not often take the same precautions for practices as for games. It's important that your kids take safety precautions whenever they play. SAFE KIDS has partnered with the National Athletic Trainers' Association to provide you with the following tips.

Before the game:
  • Before beginning a sport, all children should receive a general health exam and an orthopedic exam.
  • Find out all you can about the person who is responsible for your child's care while playing. Does the coach possess a state- or nationally approved certificate to coach this sport? Is she certified in CPR, and is a first aid kit available? Is a certified athletic trainer available to provide instruction and rehabilitation?
  • Children should be physically and psychologically conditioned for activities, instructed in basic skills, and matched with other kids of similar skill level, weight and maturity.
  • Check athletic grounds for hazards (rocks, holes, water, etc.). Also consider current and potential weather conditions (e.g. lightning).
  • Make sure your children always wear appropriate safety gear and equipment that fits properly. Protective gear is sport-specific and may include mouth guards, shin pads, helmets, elbow pads, knee pads, safety goggles, etc.
  • Ensure that children warm up and stretch before playing.
During the game:
  • Make sure your children are supervised by an adult at all times. All safety rules should be strictly enforced.
  • Dehydration in young athletes is a serious concern. Make sure your kids drink adequate liquids prior to, during and following athletic activities. Know the symptoms of dehydration: thirst, weakness, headaches, dark-colored urine or a slight decrease in body weight.
  • Kids should receive adequate rest breaks during practice and games. They should not be expected to play through an injury.
  • Parents and coaches should be role models by practicing good sportsmanship and playing by the rules.
  • Prepare for an emergency by providing your child's coach with important information: parents' names, addresses, phone numbers, and any medical conditions or allergies affecting the athlete.

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