Safe Kids, Unicorns and Other Mythical Creatures

In honor of Safe Kids Week, and in support of the upcoming Safe Kids Facebook webcast on sports injury prevention, I agreed to write a post about preventing injuries in children. Because I am the World's Leading Authority on Sports Related Injury Prevention.

My husband is an athlete and aspires to have little athlete minions running around our home so I do the best that I can to keep our kids active and and athletic even though I am incapable of standing upright for more than five minutes without falling over sideways because I have all the balance of an egg and as much coordination as cooked pasta. But I write a mean line of code. Shut up.

However, in my now thirteen ohmygodkillmenow years of raising children, I have learned that there is one universal, undeniable truth...everything will break your children. Everything. There is nothing safe. All you can do is bubble wrap your kids and hope for the best.

Bubble Wrap

*Bubble wrap the outside, people. OUTSIDE.

Don't believe me? Let's walk through a few different types of sports and see what we find:

Swimming: I started the children in swimming at a young age because my husband was a swimmer, so naturally, he wants his kids to be swimmers but naturally, he doesn't want them to know that he wants it because men are confusing and I give up.

So we gave our kids the gift of water and this what water gave us back.
Yes, my son cracked his head open on water.
Yes, my child cracked his head open on water. It's a gift. We also got a hematoma on the frontal lobe of a skull and a toe with a disconcerting amount of skin that just refuses to ever grow back for our effort. Pool: 3 Us: 0

Gymnastics: They call it Tumbling to lure you into some false sense of security, like it's sweet and polka dotted and made of unicorns and Jujubes when really it is lurking in a dark alley waiting to jump you with a crow bar and rubber cement.

*You're welcome for not showing you the pre-stitches picture with the brain matter hanging out of the side of his head.

And if the gym doesn't succeed at poking holes in their heads, it'll just attempt to rip those cute little heads clean off. Gym: 2 Us: 0

Playgrounds: Get your kids outside! Go to the park! Slide down the slide! Break an EYESOCKET.

And if that doesn't do it for you, you could just walk around the slide, smack your foot against the side of it and break that, instead. The playground gods giveth; the playground gods taketh away.

Broken Foot

Or you could just let gravity take care of everything for you and spend several hours catching vomit after they fall from the 'mom, look how HIGH I climbed' part of the jungle gym. Because that's good family fun for everyone. Playgrounds: 3 Us: 0

Gravity in General: With every step you take you are snubbing your nose at 9.80665 m/s2 of gravitational pressure. That's, like, a lot. And eventually, gravity is going to snub you back. It'll probably be when your neighbor decides to play that 'toss your kid in the air and catch' him game, except he's only really good at one part. Or maybe when you take your kid out to play and he rips half his face off because his Buzz Lightyear costume broke after he jumped off a giant embankment, so even though he pushed the ba-woo button, he no fa-wy. Nature: ∞ Us: 0

Playing with balls:


And that's all I'm going to say about that. Balls: 3 Us: Depends greatly on whom you ask.

So I guess my point is this: If you can't keep them safe, learn to use a camera. If you can't use a camera, learn to keep them safe. If you want to learn to keep them safe, you can visit Safe Kids or join in their sports injury webcast on May 2nd, on Facebook. It'll be hosted by:

  • Dr. Angela Mickalide, CHES, Director of Research and Programs, Safe Kids Worldwide

  • Dr. Douglas Casa, Director of Athletic Training Education, University of Connecticut

  • Dr. Gerard Gioia, Chief, Division of Pediatric Neuropsychology and Safe Concussion Outcome, Recovery & Education (SCORE) Program at Children's National Medical Center

  • Steve Young, former NFL Star Quarterback and On-air Talent ESPN

They'll be talking about preparation through pre-participation exams, the importance of hydration, concussion awareness (possession-style vomit is your first clue) and acute and overuse injury prevention (which, sadly, I learned about the hard way.)