When Is Your Kids’ Injury an Emergency? (Video)

Responding appropriately to children’s sports injuries

mother comforting child with bloody nose

We all know kids are resilient but some sports injuries require more care than the typical bumps and bruises.

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I advise parents that if their child is injured, they should be seen immediately if the following are present:

  • Deformity
  • Swelling
  • Difficulty using an injured limb lasting longer than one would expect for a minor injury

Where do you take your child if he or she has these symptoms? This depends upon the severity of the injury.

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Here’s how to decide between the following options:

  • Emergency department. If your child has head or facial injuries, he or she should go straight to the nearest ED. Also, those with significant deformity of a body part should be seen in an ED.
  • Same-day emergency care. If pain is significant and the child can’t walk or use an injured limb, or if the child develops immediate joint swelling, make sure he or she is seen that day.
  • A scheduled doctor’s visit. If a child develops chronic, nagging pain despite rest, ice and use of anti-inflammatories and pain relievers, make an appointment with your pediatrician or family doctor.

Your doctor will monitor your child’s progress as he or she heals. In some cases, your child may be referred to a pediatric orthopaedic sports specialist. We come into the picture when surgery or other interventions may be needed to restore function, or when a fracture may affect a child’s or adolescent’s growth.

Newer, less invasive surgical techniques also are being developed for young athletes. In addition, ongoing research will enhance the understanding of injury risk and help to develop prevention strategies.

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In the meantime, teach your kids to have fun on the field and to let you and their coaches know of any injury or lingering pain. Responding appropriately is a big part of good recovery.

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