Prather Pediatric and Allergy Center - Ask Doctor Brent

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Title: Physical Fitness For Your Children - Basic Safety Tips

Category: Child Care


From just playing in the back yard to organized league sports most parents would agree this is a healthy thing for our growing children.

Participation in sports helps children in many ways. The exercise of course is good for their health. Learning to interact with other children in sport is a good way to learn to get along with others in the world. Finally, it is a great way for a child to build up his self-image and pour his tremendous energies into healthy activities. Pediatricians can play an important role in your child's sports program, whether it is organized or just playing in the swimming pool or backfield lot.

Each child has certain strengths and weaknesses and may need guidance with regard to which sports are best for them as well as which sports may become a problem because of certain physical disabilities. An annual physical exam may verify this as well as providing guidance from your doctor.

Good common sense measures are always in order in any childhood sport such as proper helmets for baseball, football, and bike riding. Proper padding is also very important for contact sports particularly football. Proper supervision is vitally important for water sports. For young children, proper flotation devices are vital. So many sports injuries could be prevented simply by wearing proper protective equipment and providing adequate supervision.

For most children highly competitive sports at a young age are probably not in their best interest. Good healthy fun and low pressure team sports are best for the majority of our children. A great way to spend family time is to engage in a fun physical activity (sport) as a family, such as backyard softball, or swimming together or just simply walking or riding bikes together. Encourage your child in sports by actively participating yourself and remember, always check out the safety of whatever sport your child may be involved in. For questions or uncertainties consult your pediatrician or sports medicine specialist.