Nine Tips for Preventing Injuries in Kids and Teens

As summer approaches, your kids may soon head off to a summer or day camp, increase their time outside, or join a team sport. Keep them safe with these tips for preventing injuries in kids and teens.

May 24, 2017 | HF Healthy Living Team

Preventing injuries in kids and teens is important, especially if they play sports. Find out everything you need to know about how to protect your kids and teens now.

Injuries for Kids and Teens Are Different

Unlike adults, kids and teens still have growing bodies—including bones, muscles, and ligaments—which can make injuries more serious and negatively impact their strength and coordination.

Children may be especially prone to injury because their growth plates are still developing. Growth plates are the areas at the ends of long bones with tissue and cartilage. An injury to these growth plates could result in abnormal bone growth.

Types of Injuries in Kids and Teens

Sudden injuries, such as a twisted ankle, a fall, a sprain, or a broken bone, are known as acute injuries. For these injuries, kids and teens should see a provider right away.

To help with immediate swelling and discomfort before you get to the provider, you can apply the RICE method:

Apply ice
Wrap with a compression bandage
Elevate the injury

Injuries that occur gradually or after repeated use, often when the body doesn’t have enough time to recover, are called overuse injuries. Overuse injuries can occur in the elbows, knees, back, feet, shins, neck, and more.

Unlike acute injuries, overuse injuries may not show obvious signs. Look for swelling or for pain that has no immediate cause or that worsens during or after the activity.

As with acute injuries, if you suspect your child or teen of having an overuse injury, take him or her to the provider right away.

Prevent Injuries in Kids and Teens
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Tips for Preventing Injuries in Kids and Teens

  • Talk. Ask your kid or teen to be open with you and to tell you when something doesn’t feel right. If your kid or teen feels pain, he or she should not “play through it.”
  • Warm up! Encourage your kid or teen to get those muscles moving by stretching before and after playing to help with flexibility.
  • Wear the right protective gear. All gear should fit properly in order to do its job.
  • Take a rest. No human being is meant to play hard without a break. Encourage your kid or teen to take rest periods during practice and games and to take a day or two off each week to allow the body time to recuperate. Your child should also get a good night’s sleep.
  • Play safely. Your kid or teen should play by the rules of the game, and use proper technique, to help ensure safety.
  • Drink water. Encourage kids and teens to stay hydrated while playing so they can be at their best.
  • Eat a balanced diet. Your kid or teen should eat lean proteins, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and healthy snacks.
  • Get a checkup. Your kid or teen should see his or her provider on a yearly basis, or more frequently depending on age.
  • Take care of emotional stress. Don’t forget that your kid or teen can experience nerves or anxiety if he or she is an athlete or competitor. Remember to reward effort and not just outcomes.

Are your kids not exercising enough? Try these quick, easy exercises with them now!


© 2017 HF Management Services, LLC

Healthfirst is the brand name used for products and services provided by one or more of the Healthfirst group of affiliated companies.

This health information or program is for educational purposes only and not intended to treat, diagnose, or act as a substitute for medical advice from your provider. Consult your healthcare provider and always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions.

“A Guide to Safety for Young Athletes,” American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Accessed March 27, 2017.

“10 Tips for Preventing Sports Injuries in Kids and Teens,” Johns Hopkins Medicine. Accessed March 27, 2017.

“2017 Sports Injury Prevention Tip Sheet,” American Academy of Pediatrics. March 16, 2017.

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