Baseball and Softball
Each year, more than 100,000 children ages 5 to 14 are treated in hospital emergency rooms for baseball- or softball-related injuries. Three to four children die from baseball injuries each year.
Baseball- and softball-related injuries involve the head more than any other part of the body. Protective equipment, safe playing environments and playing by the rules help to prevent injuries from occurring while teaching your child safe ways to have fun.
Review the following safety recommendations with your child, and teach them how to have fun and be safe on baseball and softball fields.
- Have your child use the appropriate safety gear including batting helmets, catcher’s gear, athletic supporters/ cups and protective eyewear for children with glasses or contacts.
- Inspect playing equipment (bats, balls and gloves) to make sure it is in good condition.
- Encourage your child to wear cleats to reduce slips and falls.
- Make sure they are aware of the injury potential when sliding into a base.
Playing the Game Correctly
- Teach your young player how to play correctly, especially when batting and pitching.
- Have your child play with other children of the same skill level, physical maturity and weight.
- Teach your child appropriate techniques for stretching and strengthening.
- Make sure your child learns proper throwing techniques such as: releasing the ball out in front of the body after the arm passes the head, using a smooth throwing motion and keeping their eyes on the target.
- Your child should not play if they are experiencing persistent pain or loss of motion.
- Keep your child hydrated. Make water available before, during and after all games and practices – especially on hot days. Although water is preferred, sports drinks and juices are good alternatives. Avoid drinks containing caffeine because they can further dehydrate the body.
- Make sure there is adult supervision.
- Inform the coach of any medical conditions your child may have.
- Make sure a person certified in CPR and first aid is present at all games and practices.
- Have your child wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. It also should be sweat and water-resistant and reapplied every two to four hours.
- Be familiar with RICE – Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate. This is effective for most minor sprains and strains associated with athletic injury.
- Clear the playing field of garbage and debris, and make sure there are no holes or stumps in the infield or outfield.