Children can avoid most activity-related injuries by:
- wearing appropriate safety gear, such as a helmet, shin guards or a mouth guard, particularly when playing with bikes or other wheeled toys
- playing in areas that are free of hazards
- doing activities that are gentle and varied – this is especially important for young children, so that developing bones, joints and muscles aren’t strained
- playing against other children of similar size and age when playing competitive sports
- having a break after doing half an hour of physical activity
- not staying too long in cold water when swimming
- drinking water before, during and after playing
- wearing sunscreen and hats during hot weather
- getting the right treatment if an injury does occur
- playing ‘modified’ sports designed for kids.
You can teach your child the correct technique for skills such as throwing and catching. Your child will also need to follow and understand the rules of any sport being played – you can help with this too.
It’s also important to look after your child’s self-esteem. It can get bruised and knocked about during physical activity too!
- If your child doesn’t want to do a particular type of physical activity, it’s best not to force it. Try to find a more enjoyable activity for your child.
- Physical activity is meant to be about fun, rather than criticism, abuse or shouting. Try to keep your child away from any of these, whether from other players, spectators, a coach or parents.
Praise your child’s efforts, point out personal bests, and notice when your child improves at something.