As the spring sports season kicks off, parents of young athletes need to get ready, too, to help their kids avoid injury and be ready to respond if there is an accident on the field.
PM Pediatrics Senior Medical Advisor Dr. Christina Johns has the following tips for parents:
1. Prepare to play. After a winter stuck inside, get young bodies ready by heading to the park for an informal practice. Re-learning how to use muscles and reflexes that might have gotten rusty over the colder months will help kids avoid injury and excel on the field.
2. Pack your game bag. Injuries are rare, but they happen. Packing a small bag with Band-Aids, antiseptic ointment, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, insect repellent, gauze bandages, and water will be helpful if there is a minor injury on the field — and give parents peace of mind even if there’s not. Make sure your cellphone is charged, and you have things like your medical insurance card with you in case a trip to the hospital happens.
3. Remember your meds. From prescriptions to epi-pens, make sure you have the medications your child might need while you are at a game or traveling to and from competition. This is especially important when playing with travel teams that can keep you out of the house all day (and sometimes sitting in unplanned traffic jams).
4. Bring your documents, too. If you don’t normally carry it, bring along your health insurance card and a copy of the card of any children traveling with you. Storing information on your phone like relevant medical history including health conditions like asthma or allergies are also helpful. Healthcare apps can store this information, too.
5. Arrive early for the game. Nothing helps avoid injury more than properly warming up with the team. Even athletes as young as 5 years old need to stretch and prepare for competition. Don’t arrive two minutes before game time and expect your child to be ready to play. It’s also courteous to the coaches who have a whole team to look after.
6. Plan ahead. Try to not have your athlete “eat on the way” to the game. A healthy, balanced breakfast eaten two hours before play will boost energy and won’t cause any stomach aches.
Kids’ sports games are all about fun and skill-building. By making these simple preparations, parents can prepare for the unexpected and keep the focus on enjoying the game.