The nice weather is upon us and the urge to push the kids outdoors for some quality fresh air and playtime is overwhelming. This time of year is full of possibilities, including the possibility of injuries. For a variety of reasons, emergency room visits increase as much as 15-20% for children and young adults in the spring and summer. Let’s take a look at some of those injuries and common causes and see if we can’t put a little more focus on safety.
Spring & Summertime Injuries:
With a sudden increase in outdoor activities, emergency room visits for this age group also increase. Typical injuries include:
- Wrist Fractures
- Ankle Fractures
- Repetitive Motion Injuries
- Stress Fractures
Children and young adults are growing. Where the bones are actively lengthening (a.k.a. wrists, ankles, etc.) the structure can be weakened and fracture easily.
What You Can Do Throughout The Year:
Being dormant and inactive throughout the long winter months is of particular concern not only for your overall health, but can be a large contributor to injury numbers. Muscles are cold and weakened, tendons are tight, and for growing children, still adjusting to their new size. One of the most important things you can do to prevent injury is to stay active, and keep your children active, throughout the year. Make sure they are moving and stretching indoors throughout the long winters. Make sure to switch it up, working in strength, cardio, and aerobic exercise year-round.
Once the Nice Weather is Upon You:
When the days get longer and the temperature finally reaches acceptable levels, take it slow. Try to gradually ease your kids back into the full swing of strenuous activities. Too much too fast is taxing on the body. A 30 mile bike ride or a marathon session of pitch and catch may sound like a perfect way to spend the first nice day of the year but doing too much too fast can be, simply put, too much. In addition to taking it slow to start, you can also make sure you take the usual precautions associated with outdoor safety such as:
- Bike Helmets
- Wrist Guards
- Knee Pads
- Shin Guards
A quick note about safety equipment: Please don’t merely dust it off and send it out with the kids. Make sure the equipment fits properly and is in good condition; kids can grow a lot in just a few months, so last year’s sizes may be too small this year.
In addition to all the things listed above, some outdoor activities are just not a good idea. Backyard trampolines are the cause of a surprising number of injuries and should probably, for peace of mind alone, be avoided. Ankle Injuries, wrist injuries, back injuries, and neck injuries abound, and those are just the most common. There are plenty of other fun things to do outside, the risk may not be worth the bounce.
For more information, or to talk or schedule an appointment with Dr. Beth Dollinger, click here to find her contact information listed in our provider directory.