Staying active helps children stay healthy, live well, and build strong bones and muscles. Outdoor play and participation in sports are important to your child’s healthy growth and development. Playing outdoors lets your child jump, run, climb, swing, balance, and roll. It also lets them be creative, practice skills, challenge themselves, and explore.
While these activities are good for your child’s overall health, they also have a risk of injury. Follow these tips to lower your child’s chance of getting hurt while they play sports or enjoy other outdoor activities:
To improve safety, check the places where your children play. Look for hazards. A hazard is something dangerous that may not be obvious to your child but that can cause serious injury. Examples of hazards include thin ice on a frozen lake, hard surfaces under play equipment, broken railings, or an uneven surface with holes on a soccer field.
A risk is different. A risk is a situation where your child can see the chance of an injury happening, think about the challenge, and decide what to do.
Your challenge is to reduce or remove the hazards and provide appropriate supervision while letting your child have the chance to explore, stay active, and have fun.
Wearing protective gear like the right helmet, a mouth guard, wrist guards, elbow pads, and knee pads can lower your child’s risk of an injury. No matter what the activity, make sure your child uses the right gear and equipment. The gear should fit well. Make sure your child wears it properly every time. As an adult, wear protective gear to lower your chance of injury and to be a role model for your child. Learn about fitting helmets for different activities.
Practice and training help your child learn how to do an activity and get better at it. They also help lower the chance that your child will get hurt. If your child doesn’t know how to do an activity, start slowly to develop their skills. Key skills include balance, strength, and agility (being able to move quickly and easily). Think about having your child take lessons to learn how to skate, ski, bike, or play sports. Get lessons from someone who knows how to teach the skills, like a trained coach or professional.
When your child plays an organized sport, their coaches should have training in how to prevent, see, and respond to injuries, including concussions. Coaches should also be supportive, caring, and positive role models. Find out about the coach’s background before your child joins an organized sports team.
Playgrounds and play spaces
Playgrounds can have hazards that can cause injury. Following some basic safety measures can help your child have fun and play safely.
Jumping on a trampoline can lead to serious injuries including broken bones, dislocations (when a bone moves out of its normal position), and injuries to the spine. Safety nets on trampolines can prevent falls but they do not prevent injuries related to jumping.
Alberta Health Services and the Canadian Paediatric Society recommend that children and youth not use trampolines at home, including cottages and summer homes.
Current as of: December 6, 2021
Author: Provincial Injury Prevention Program, Alberta Health Services
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.