Sports are a big part of many kids’ lives. Playing on a team helps them stay active, it encourages a healthy lifestyle and social skills. But along with all of these perks, it can also put them in harm’s way. Even activities, like bike riding or roller blading, are not without significant risk. Serious eye injuries, tooth loss and other painful head and facial injuries in athletic kids are quite common. Millions of children get injured every year participating in sports and other recreational activities. Luckily, there are way to prevent injury so that kids can play safely.
Mouth guards – Dentists see many children with sports-related injuries to the face each year. A lot of permanent teeth are knocked out or displaced. The best way to keep your teeth safe while playing sports is to wear a mouth guard that has been fitted properly by a dentist. Cheaper guards are available over-the-counter, but they may not fit correctly or offer the same protection. This will protect your mouth effectively from damage and will be a lot more cost-effective then having to replace missing teeth.
Face shields – Masks or face shields should be worn during all contact sports, particularly hockey or baseball, where a hard ball or puck gets thrown with considerable force. The mask should be light on the face with plenty of ventilation. It should not impair vision.
Helmets – A sturdy helmet will provide protection from any impact to the head. One that is well made will absorb shock during a collision or a fall. They are designed to be crack-resistant and tough on the outside, yet cushioned and comfortable on the inside. When choosing the right one for you, be sure that there is enough ventilation and padding inside.
Eye gear – Children should always wear some type of protective eye covering. A hard blow to the eye can result in serious impairment, like loss of an eye, damage to the socket or a loss of vision. Eye injuries are very preventable with the right equipment. It is recommended that protective eye gear be made of polycarbonate, a light plastic that can take a strong impact without shattering.
Pads – Knee, elbow and wrist guards provide additional crash protection to the child wearing them and perhaps the one who may be receiving the blow. A padded elbow in the eye while playing a contact sport may be less damaging to both parties. It is a good idea to encourage your child to wear protective padding while playing sports and for other activities that involve risk, like riding a bike or skate boarding.
So the best ways for children to protect their faces is to wear protective gear every time, and wear it correctly. Parents should encourage coaches and schools to enforce mandatory rules governing the use of helmets, mouth guards, protective eye wear and face shields. Kids don’t have to end up hurt.