How Can You Ensure Your Child’s Safety When She Is Playing Recreational Sports?Feb 26 2019
Getting your child involved in recreational sports at an early age can be beneficial on many levels. It helps build individual growth and development and can encourage new friendships based on common interests and activities. Team-building exercises contribute to a strong group dynamic while giving your child an enhanced sense of belonging. Her confidence can grow as she learns new skills. If started at an early age and supported throughout a child’s formative years, recreational sports can also help establish and reinforce behaviors that incorporate regular physical activity.
There is often an acceptable level of risk that accompanies virtually any sport. In fact, the highest number of sports injuries occur in teenagers between 15 and 19 years of age. As a parent, you want to ensure that your child’s safety remains a priority no matter what her age, what activity she is involved in or at what level she may be playing. But while minor aches or sprains may be assumed to be part of the game, there are steps you can take to help lower the rate and severity of injuries.
Depending on the sport being played, and if it is a new activity for your child, it may be a good idea to check with your child’s doctor first. If you have any questions about existing health concerns, make note of them. Your doctor can make some recommendations, refer you to a specialist or offer some alternate suggestions.
It’s important that your child have access to the appropriate equipment for her chosen sport. The equipment should fit properly to minimize the risk of injury. Ensure that the team’s coach and coaching staff have emergency contact information on hand for more than one person, in the event that you cannot be reached right away. Advise them of any allergies or pre-existing medical conditions that your child may have. Ask which staff are trained to handle emergencies and who is certified in first aid and CPR. Everyone – including the adults – should know the rules of the game being played.
Proper warm-up before practices and games are important to helping reduce injury as is are proper cool down routines afterwards. And if an injury should occur, the coaching staff should call your child off the field for assessment and, if necessary, facilitate medical attention. The option of “playing through” an injury should never be encouraged, particularly if it involves the head, neck or vital organs.
With all recreational sports inherently carrying some type of risk, there are some that are more dangerous than others. For example, backyard trampolines and trampoline parks have grown in popularity in the past number of years but they can be extremely dangerous if not approached with care and caution.
In many activities – such as a skiing or cycling – a participant will typically be asked to sign a waiver or release form stating the facility and its organizing groups cannot be held responsible for willful negligence that may result in injury or death. In community-run or locally-based sporting activities, similar waivers are also often included as part of the sign-up process. Children cannot sign their own release forms: a parent or guardian must do so on their behalf.
It’s important to note that while these waivers are enforceable in court for those over the age of 19, they are not enforceable for minors meaning parents cannot sign away their child’s right to take legal action if deemed necessary. This puts the onus of responsibility on organizations to keep their equipment safe and to encourage the proper supervision of young children.
If you have questions about waivers, releases and sports injuries in young children, contact RDM Lawyers today.