I believe scrapes, cuts, and bruises are marks of a fun childhood, but when my son started playing soccer, the bruises got bigger, and scarier. When should I insist on having something checked by the doctor?
When in doubt, don’t panic—but do doublecheck. Most injuries are minor but kids have softer bones. Repeated/sustained pressure on a ‘sore spot’ can develop into more serious problems, especially if kids ignore pain because they’re afraid of losing a game or disappointing a coach.
Hit on the eye
Poked by a stray elbow or tennis ball? Any signs of blood or blurred vision means a trip to the ER. Also ask him to move his eyeball from side to side, and up and down. Everything okay? Press an ice bag (or ice in a Ziploc bag or towel) against the eye for half an hour.
Hit on the head
Signs of concussion include confusion, slurring, headaches and blurred vision. Also watch out for head or neck pain. Now if he’s okay—for now—continue to observe for symptoms for 72 hours.
We instinctively break a fall by stretching our arm, sometimes landing (ouch) on our fingers or twisting our arm in the process.
Ask if he can bend and straighten his fingers, hand and arm. If he can’t, he needs to see a doctor—if he can, but it hurts, place an ice bag to control swelling. If the pain doesn’t go away after 24 hours, call your pediatrician.
Arm or elbow strain
What if your child didn’t have a ‘concrete’ accident but complains about a sore arm—and can’t move it or bend it as well as before? Repeated throwing or bending can strain muscles, especially if he skips the warm-ups! Rest the elbow (no more practices till the pain disappears!) and talk to the coach about teaching him proper stretching or strengthening exercises.
photo from the-parenting-magazine.com
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