Spring fever? More like spring fractures and stubbed toes!
As a recent article from The Wall Street Journal put it, “Spring is the season for broken bones, bruises, bumps and sprains.”
Ask any experienced parent, and they’ll tell you minor injuries blow in with the first warm winds. After a winter cooped up indoors, children want to move!
Why do kids have more accidents when it’s warm?
Some children are adjusting to their new bodies after growth spurts, and are understandably clumsy. Others simply become more active as they spend more time outside, whether playing school sports or casual neighborhood games.
Adolescents are especially susceptible to injuries because they have areas of cartilage that are softer than fully-formed and hardened bone. Pre-teens’ muscles also become temporarily less flexible as they stretch to their maximum to keep up with rapid bone growth.
Because of the effects of growth spurts, most playtime accidents occur in children between 8 and 13 years old. Some injuries are due to children’s basic enthusiasm, however; these generally include fractures, ankle and wrist sprains, mild concussions and bruises.
What can parents do to keep their children safe?
Parents can try and limit kids’ risk by providing them with proper safety gear. Helmets for bike-riders and elbow/knee pads for skateboarders are a must!
Soccer players might need cleats to avoid falls while running, and even non-sporty kids should wear tennis shoes or rubber-toed sandals instead of flip flops to avoid toe injuries while out and about.
It’s also always a good idea to keep kids well-hydrated and topped up on sunscreen. (A thorough application of SPF 30 every two hours is good rule of thumb.)
For kids who play sports– if possible – give them access to a gym over the winter season. Often, it is springtime re-training after months on the couch that overworks a muscle group and leads to injury.
Children need to play outside when they can
If all this talk of childhood accidents has you down, the bright side is that kids heal much faster than adults. “A wrist fracture in a 9- or 10-year old, for example, usually heals in four to six weeks and rarely requires surgery,” reports The Wall Street Journal.
An adult might need surgery and 12 weeks to recover from the exact same injury. Since children are already growing new bones – and have better blood circulation – they bounce back both thoroughly and speedily.
Doctors are quick to point out that the benefits of regular exercise far outweigh the risk of injury. That’s not to mention the positive social boost kids get from playing with their peers!
Broken forearms are among the most common springtime pediatric injuries seen in urgent care clinics, likely because children tend to block falls with an outstretched arm. If your kiddo takes a tumble while enjoying the warm weather, visit your local MedPost Urgent Care if there is any question whether a fracture is present or not.
It’s also worth noting that MedPost offers sports and camp physicals seven days a week, with no appointment required. So, in case you haven’t checked that off your list yet, you’re welcome!
— Jennie Saia, Contributing Editor