For thousands of years, humans have recognized the soul-calming effect of time spent in nature. But between the lure of screen time and frenzied schedules packed with organized sports and other activities, it can be difficult to get kids outside to just be.
Only 51 percent of preschool kids go out outside once a day to walk or play, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, which recommends outdoor playtime in its recent report titled “The Power of Play.” Even short periods of outdoor time can help kids get more active, reduce anxiety, improve mood and concentration, and sleep better at night.
Following recent tragedies in our community, Dr. Brooke Kwiecinski of UW Health answers some questions parents and others may have about youth suicide prevention.
An injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) can be frustrating for adults, but it’s often devastating for young athletes who are eager to rejoin their friends on the playing field. It’s becoming more common for active kids to tear this important ligament that controls the stability and mobility of the knee, and the recovery process can take up to a year or more.
“The highest risk category is kids who are going through growth quickly because their bodies have elongated quickly and their bodies act as levers,” explains Dan Enz, PT, SCS, LAT, a physical therapist with the UW Health Sports Rehabilitation Department. “And with teens, who are often more active in competition and playing sports year-round, their bodies are sometimes growing faster than they can control. That lever puts increased force through their knee and puts them at greater risk.”
As parents, we’ve likely experienced those moments of doubt – are we doing enough to help our kids succeed? And one area where that’s prevalent is youth sports. It’s a billion-dollar business in the U.S. Kids as young as 7 are in training camps, traveling the state (sometimes the country) on competitive teams, and parents often feel like if kids haven’t been training before the age of 9, there’s no point to trying a new sport because they’ll be too far behind.
But there’s another well-known stat – by the age of 13, approximately 70% of kids in the U.S. stop playing organized sports because it’s no longer fun.
Summer officially begins this week and that means it’s time to dust off those bikes and scooters, and dig all the summer gear out of the mystery bins in the garage.
It’s also a great time for a refresher on helmet safety. How do you know if your child’s helmet fits properly? Is there a shelf life for helmets? Are helmets with spikes safe?
The experts at the American Family Children’s Hospital Safety Center offer these tips for proper protection: