Staying safe on foot

By • Published: April 25th, 2011
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Ever watched a pack of kids at the park? Then you will have observed one thing about the smaller set. They really like to run. They chase each other across the soccer field. They bound down the hallway after the family pooch. They scamper across the playground …

They fall down and break their little legs … Yep, it’s all fun and games until someone fractures a tibia.

And, as it turns out, children seem to be injuring themselves while running more and more. A new study from the Nationwide Children’s Hospital showed that the number of running-related injuries in kids jumped 34 percent between 1994 and 2007.

So what gives? Have children gotten clumsier? All kidding aside, the study doesn’t explain why more children are getting injured when they hit the pavement. But one thing is certain: A dose of prevention can always help.

Here are a few tips to help your pint-sized runner stay on his or her feet. First, have the right equipment. When it comes to running, that means shoes suited to running. For example, running in glittery mary janes outside on a wet sidewalk? Bad idea. Taking off in running shoes that fit properly? Much better idea.

Most smaller children incurred their injuries while running at school. So here’s one common sense tip for tots: Encourage your children to watch where they are going. All it takes is one backpack or untended Elmo doll underfoot for disaster to occur.

Also, make sure your child does different types of activities and works different muscles, rather than, say, throwing a ball the same way over and over. Varying exercise and play should help prevent overuse injuries, which can be problematic for athletes, no matter what their size.

And perhaps the simplest suggestion of all? Kids, listen to your mothers. Before you venture out, make sure those shoes are tied!