Whenever children play actively, there’s always a chance of injury. But injury prevention involves just a few simple steps so that your child can enjoy physical activity safely.
Injury prevention for children
To keep children safe during physical activity and play, you can look at whether their body, environment and skills are safe for the activity.
Children can avoid most injuries by:
- doing activities they’re physically prepared and strong enough for. Activities that use your child’s own body weight in short bursts – like monkey bars or skipping – are great
- wearing appropriate safety gear – for example, a helmet, shin guards or mouth guard. This is especially important when playing with equipment like bikes or other wheeled toys
- drinking water before, during and after playing
- wearing sunscreen and hats during hot or sunny weather
- getting the right treatment if an injury does happen
- warming up and gently stretching before sport.
It’s also important for children to:
- play in areas that are free of hazards like broken equipment, uneven surfaces and sharp rubbish
- play sports that are suited to their size and ability
- not stay too long in cold water when swimming
- wear clothes that are suited to the environment.
You can also keep children safe by making sure they:
- do a variety of activities
- play sports modified or designed for kids
- practise the skills they need for activities like climbing, balancing and catching
- understand and follow the rules of any game or sport they’re playing.
Emotional injury prevention
Physical activity can improve a child’s self-esteem and reduce anxiety and stress. But feelings can get bruised and knocked about during physical activity too!
Here are ways to look after your child’s overall happiness and wellbeing when she’s involved in physical activity and sport.
- If your child doesn’t want to do a particular type of physical activity, it’s best not to force it. It can help to talk about the reasons he doesn’t want to do it, and help him think of other activities to try.
- If your child needs some help to build skills and confidence, look for a friend she can practise with at home.
- 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, coaches or parents.
- Ask other parents if they know about any coaches, teams and competitions that they feel are positive and fair to all children.
Praise your child’s efforts, point out personal bests, and notice when your child improves at something.
- Be a great role model in staying positive about your child’s physical activity and effort.