Poll: Parents Downplay Kids' Sports Injuries
Apr. 20, 2011 - Parents today know more about kids' sports injuries than parents a decade ago - but many don't seem too concerned about preventing them.
A survey sponsored by Safe Kids USA found that 86 percent of parents thought that injuries came with playing sports. Although parents did express concern about preventing serious problems like concussions and dehydration, they minimized other commonplace injuries such as sprains, pulled muscles, and broken bones.
About 10 percent of U.S. kids who play sports each year are treated for sports-related injuries, the CDC says. About half of those injuries could be prevented.
Yet, according to the survey, only about 9 percent of fathers said sports injuries could be prevented. About 17 percent of mothers said so.
The survey polled 751 parents who had at least one child age 5 to 14 playing a sport. About 25 percent more kids are playing two or more sports today than 10 years ago. Children spend nearly 7.5 hours a week participating in sports, with boys spending about 20 percent more time than girls, and teens spending more time than preteens.
Parents seem to be more savvy about sports injuries than a decade ago, with 61 percent recognizing that more injuries occur during practices than in games. Children, coaches, and parents are also more likely to take several precautions to minimize injuries.
Still, the number of young athletes who sustain multiple injuries in team sports has increased to nearly 1.5 times the 2000 levels, the survey found. The rise can be blamed on higher rates of injuries among 10- to 14-year-old girls. Girls in this age group are now being injured at a rate equal to boys of the same age.
"This is an area that bears much more research," says Angela Mickalide, at Safe Kids Worldwide. "We really must do more to stop this trend."
With summer - and hot weather- nearing, Safe Kids USA reminds parents and coaches to keep kids hydrated.
"It's very important that parents and coaches don't wait until a child says they're thirsty," says Tanya Chin Ross, at Safe Kids USA. Young athletes should drink several ounces of water or sports drink every 30 minutes.
Despite your best efforts, your child may get hurt while playing sports. Never let a child play through pain - always stop the activity. Take the child to a doctor for an obvious fracture or joint dislocation, prolonged swelling, or chronic or severe pain.
If your child suffers a sprain or strain, try RICE:
- Rest. Reduce or stop using the injured area for at least 48 hours.
- Ice. Put a cold pack, ice bag, or plastic bag filled with crushed ice on the injured area for 20 minutes at a time, four to eight times a day.
- Compression. Elastic wraps, air casts, or splints can be used to compress an injured ankle, knee, or wrist and reduce swelling.
- Elevation. Keep the injured area elevated above heart level to help decrease swelling.
If pain continues or the condition doesn't improve, seek medical attention.
Always talk with your health care provider to find out more information.