Sports are an integral part of life for Las Vegas youth but often the joys of activities such as bike riding, swimming and athletic sports can be overshadowed by unintentional injury.
The Safe Kids Clark County, the state’s oldest and largest nonprofit childhood injury prevention agency, believes educating the public is the best way to prevent unintentional injury, the No. 1 killer of America’s children between the ages of birth and 14 years.
Summer and into fall are great times for kids to get together and have fun. The parks are full and there are numerous activities to keep children busy, including baseball, soccer, riding bikes and skateboarding. Parents need to take the necessary precautions to keep their children injury-free by providing adult supervision.
Injuries have become more prevalent with the dangerous nature of activities without the proper safeguards. Nearly 28 million children ride bicycles and participate in other wheel-based activities between the ages of 5 through 14 annually. Unfortunately, more than 176,000 children are also treated each year in hospital emergency rooms for injuries related to skateboards, scooters and skates. This statistic also peaks in the fall season when a return to school means more bikes riding in increasingly congested streets.
“Through better adult supervision and taking the time to wear proper equipment we strive to reduce the number of injuries, if not prevent them from happening,” said Jeanne Cosgrove, executive director of the local Safe Kids. “Children spend a lot of time outdoors enjoying all sorts of activities year-round and suffer through a variety of injuries.”
Las Vegas temperatures in the summer time well exceed the 100-degree mark and children spend hours in the swimming pool. During the month of July childhood drownings and near-drownings tragically peak. Water safety is among the most important issues during the summer months and constant adult supervision and never leaving a child near or unattended in water is the key prevention message.
Children also spend much of their time playing sports, particularly when fall brings the start of football season. And children are susceptible to sports-related injury because they are still growing and gaining motor skills and cognitive skills. Twenty-one percent of all traumatic brain injuries among children are sports related.
Most injuries can be prevented. Poor conditioning leads to too many common injuries as does repeated motion in previous injuries. But the most important factor for preventing injuries and death is proper preparedness and supervision.
“Make sure your kids don’t just have the $100 sneakers; complement it with solid safety equipment like eye protection, knee and elbow pads, and, of course, helmets,” Cosgrove said.
For more information, call the Safe Kids hotline at 731-8666 or visit online at www.SafeKidsClarkCounty.org.