Summer Safety Part 5: Children and Sports

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The final edition of our summer safety series will focus on participating in sports. Summer is a great time for children to get out, get active and play with other children. It fosters physical development, new motor skills, making new friends and learning teamwork. However, there are safety risks involved with physical sports, and parents should ensure the physical games their children play are age appropriate.

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Developing The Right Physical Skills Playing team sports, whether in a league or at home, is a great way for children to develop physical skills. According to the Canadian Paediatric Society, children learn motor functions at different ages and at different speeds. A general overview is that children learn physical skills like throwing, running and jumping between the ages of 3-to-5. By age 6, children learn how to perform two or more of these skills at the same time. It's the ability to combine these skills, such as running and catching a ball, that are required for most sports. Choose Your Child's Sport Carefully When choosing a sport for your child to participate in, make sure it is age-appropriate. This means checking that your child has developed the right physical skills to participate. The CPS site has a chart outlining the different stages of physical development for youths. If a child does not have a firm grasp on certain physical movements, he or she may get frustrated with the sport, and may no longer want to play the game. If younger children participate in sports with older children, they could be at risk for a severe injury. Putting Safety First In team sports, children may not be able to gauge their own speed, strength or accuracy of movement. A collision, miscalculation of movement, or other accident could lead to a concussion or spinal injury. If your child has been injured, the damage could affect their future development. Recovery measures and treatment can be expensive as well. To find out if you are receiving the right amount of financial resources to cover the costs of recovery, consult a personal injury lawyer.
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