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Learn how to keep your student athlete safe during the sports season.

Youth sports are a source of passion and excitement for many kids and teens. As your child strives to be his or her best, help them avoid sports injuries. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, 1.35 million kids visited the ER with sports injuries in 2012. Use these tips to teach your young athlete how to enjoy sports without getting hurt.

Never allow your child to play with an existing injury
Allowing your child to continue practicing or playing after an injury is a recipe for further injury. Have your child’s doctor evaluate the injuries. Stick to the recommended follow up, which may including icing or elevating the injury.

Encourage good warm up techniques
Even if your child’s coach doesn’t structure warm up time into practices or games, make sure your child has a good warm-up routine. Teach basic stretches and encourage more specialized routines as your child progresses into specific sports.

Stress the importance of hydration
Make sure your child gets enough to drink during practices and games. Avoid too many sugary sports drinks. Water is the best option for children when it comes to avoiding dehydration while playing sports.

Use the right equipment
Your child should always wear the proper equipment when playing youth sports. Make sure equipment fits well. If you purchase used equipment, ask your child’s coach to inspect it for fit and durability. Not sure what equipment you need? The Youth Sports Safety Alliance shares further resources for specific youth sports and related injuries.

Keep your young athlete healthy and strong. Learn more about kids' health at North Hills Hospital. To find a doctor to speak with, please call 1-855-5NHILLS for a physician referral.

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