Safe Sports For Kids
Playing sport can help with the development of your child's social skills, learning how to be part of a team, achieving goals, responsibility, gaining confidence, all help in the emotional growth of your child. It's also a great way of keeping them fit of course, and with child obesity rising year by year taking part in a sporting activity is a great way to make sure your child is getting the exercise they need.
When playing sport, your child's safety and well-being is of paramount importance. Knowing your child is being looked after in a healthy, safe, enjoyable environment gives you piece of mind.
To make sure your child is safe and you don't need to worry about them here's some pointers:
Your Child's Environment
- If your child joins a club go along and check out the environment. Chat to the people in charge, even the other children to see how much they enjoy it. Check that the coaches are able to deal with any emergencies.
- Check any equipment is well maintained and safe.
- Do the people in charge have facilities to treat injuries or accidents? Do they know first aid? Are they qualified?
- Check the playing or training areas are safe and free from any objects that could cause injury, glass, dog litter, etc.
- Make sure there is enough adult supervision.
- Have staff and volunteers been selected using a proper recruitment process?
- Are there appropriate staff available -i.e. female staff for girls?
- Adequate toilet and changing facilities are provided.
- Be sure of collection arrangements following matches or training sessions.
- Does the organisation have a child protection policy?
Equipment and Kit
- Every sport has its own requirements regarding kit and equipment. Whether it's a helmetfor skateboarding, a mouth guard for rugby, or shin pads for football, make sure you know what kit your child should have. If you are unsure ask the coaches or instructors.
- Make sure your child knows the reason they have to wear any protective equipment and how important it is to be worn.
InjuriesIn any contact sport injuries are going to take place. You can't prevent all accidents or injuries from happening, but you can take some precautions:
- The risk of strains and muscle injuries can be reduced by having a warm up.
- Appropriate levels of supervision are provided.
- Activities are organised and appropriate for all children.
- A warm down is provided.
- If an injury takes place proper assessment and treatment (first aid) is available. A qualified first aider should always be on hand.
- The activity should be stopped immediately if an injury occurs.
- If the child is unable to move, then leave them where they are.
- If professional medical help is needed then a way to contact emergency services must be available.
- If the child needs medical attention then it should be sought immediately.
Protecting Your ChildProtecting your child doesn't only mean that they should be safe from injury. You should act if there is any bullying, or name calling taking place. Sometimes this isn't only other children who are involved, adults and coaches sometimes overstep the mark and what they may see as encouragement can develop into bullying.
The subject of child abuse is a sensitive issue, but it does happen sometimes within a sporting environment. In many sports it is hard to avoid physical contact between coaching staff and the children. Injuries need to be assessed, children need encouragement, comforting, or protection skills and techniques need to be taught..
It's up to you as a parent, your child, and the sports staff to be aware of the guidelines on physical contact, so everyone is aware of what is appropriate and what is not.
- Physical contact should never take place out of sight of others.
- An explanation should always be given by the adult as to why contact needs to be made.
- Unless it's an emergency the child should always be asked for their permission for any contact to be made.
- Contact must not be made in any area near the buttocks, breasts or genitals.
One thing you shouldn't overlook is you child's enjoyment of the sport. Taking part in sport should be fun, so make sure you encourage and support them in their chosen activity, and take pleasure and enjoyment from watching them have fun.