Sports Safety: Better Safe than Sorry

Sports and other recreational activities are a huge part of our lives. Aside from being enjoyable, sports also help keep us fit. However, injuries and accidents sometimes happen – and when they do, they can be fatal. A sound knowledge in first aid can best help you in case of sport injuries.

Staying safe in sports can be easy by following accepted safety precautions for specific activities. Before engaging in any unfamiliar activity or sport, such as skiing, boating or driving, it is best to take a few lesions. Most sports-related injuries and accidents are due to inexperience. Also be sure that your safety equipment is in good working condition.

Bicycle Safety

Almost 500,000 bicycle-related injuries are recorded each year, and majority of these accidents occur within a mile from home. In 2008, 91 percent of bicycle-related mortalities involved riders who were not wearing helmets. Head and neck injuries are the most fatal injuries suffered by bicyclists.

Wearing helmet is advocated every time one rides a bicycle, including children who are still on training wheels. Make sure the helmet meets the strict safety standards set by safety organizations such as Snell, ANSI, ASTM, CSA, and others. Helmets should be of correct size and fits securely and comfortable. Each state has specific laws on wearing helmet.

Some important bike safety tips to remember:

  • Keep bicycles properly maintained: check brakes, gears, and wheels.
  • When driving at night, wear reflective clothing.
  • Avoid busy roads or those with no bicycle lanes (shoulder).
  • Use taillight or headlight.

Foot Safety

Using appropriate footwear is also essential in preventing injuries. Athletic shoes are designed to provide maximum support for certain movements and to perform particular function. For example, running shoes offer stability with its midsole cushion, while basketball shoes offer lateral support.

Safety for Walkers and Runners

If you walk, jog, or run, carefully plan your route and exercise in well-populate areas. As much as possible, avoid going alone and taking routes that are not easily accessed by pedestrian traffic. You may also need to wear reflective clothing if you must exercise outdoors after dark. Stay alert for cars pulling out of driveways and intersections.

Eye Safety

Use protective goggles when engaging in activities that could lead to eye injuries, such as racquet sports, fencing, lacrosse, and paintball, as well as using tools such as power saws or electric drills.

Swimming and Water Safety

If you do not know how to swim, make sure to wear appropriate flotation device if you are going in, on, or around the water. Many cases of drowning involve people who never intended to be in the water. Be careful when around bodies of water – rivers, lakes, beach and pools. In some cases, undercurrents can sweep you out.

Some important safety tips to remember:

  • Keep children under close supervision when in, on, or around water. Keep them within arm’s reach.
  • If you have backyard pool, make sure safety gates and fencing are in place. Make sure the fence is equipped with self-latching, self-closing gate that cannot be easily opened by a young child.
  • Make sure wading pools are empty and covered when not in use.
  • Keep toilet seat lids down when not in use.

If you do not know how to swim or would like to improve your skills, you can sign up for a swimming and water safety class from an accredited first aid training course provider.

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