Helping Kids Play Safer

Statistics have shown that many children aren’t as active as they should be due to parent’s concerns of injury.

Although injuries can occur, parents can take comfort in the fact that up to half of all sporting injuries can be prevented.

And best of all, parents can play a part in preventing them!

Kids playing with a ball on the grass

Safety Tips For Children

To help parents prepare children for activity, Smartplay’s Safety Guidelines for Children and Young People in Sport and Recreation, offers these timely tips:

  • Teach children to warm up, stretch and cool down to help prevent injury. The warm up should include activities that use the same movement patterns as the activities to be performed during the session.
  • Warm up exercises should begin at a low intensity and gradually increase to the level required in the activity. Cooling down can be achieved by two to three minutes of light jogging or walking.
  • Make sure children are hydrated before, during and after activity. Children should drink at least two cups (500ml) of water or sports drinks an hour before activity, 150ml every 15 minutes during activity and enough to fully re-hydrate after activity.
  • To encourage hydration, provide children with their own drink bottle that they can regularly refill. For additional information about hydration for children, please see here.
  • Provide children with protective equipment. Make sure it is the right size, worn at all times, regularly checked and maintained, tried out before competition and used according to manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • Check the sporting environment to clear injury hazards.
  • Assess weather conditions. On hot days, provide children with light coloured and lightweight clothing, sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat. Discourage children from exercising in the middle of the day, when the day is at its hottest. On cold days, dress children in layers to trap heat and prevent heat loss.
  • Teach children sports safety. Show children the correct way to use sporting equipment, supervise them until they are confident and capable, check the playing area to remove hazards and inform teachers of any medical conditions children may have.
  • And remember, the best way to encourage children to practise sports safety is by practising it yourself!

By following this advice you will reduce your child’s risk of injury, keeping children active, happier and healthier.

And if you’d like some further information on how to modify sports to make them safer for younger players, you can read more here.

For more advice on keeping junior sport and recreation safe for children and young people download Smartplay’s Safety Guidelines for Children and Young People in Sport and Recreation at Sports Medicine Australia