Baseball Safety Tips For Parents

Happy-Mother-And-Her-ChildrenBaseball season is in full swing for many children. We want to give our parents some great tips and information from about baseball safety and keeping your children safe and injury free.

Why Baseball Safety Is Important

Baseball is by no means a dangerous sport. But it can present a very real risk of injuries from things like wild pitches, batted balls, and collisions in the field.

At the high school level, some pitchers can throw fastballs that reach 80-plus miles per hour, speedy enough to cause painful welts, broken bones, even concussions. Excessive pitching and improper throwing mechanics can lead to major league arm problems, and base runners and fielders frequently collide while running at top speed.

Gear Guidelines

As with all sports, wearing and using the right gear can go a long way toward preventing injuries. The amount of equipment required for baseball isn’t on par with football or hockey, but it is every bit as important. Players need to be sure they always have all the gear required by their league.

Most leagues will insist on the following:

Batting helmets must be worn whenever a player is at bat, waiting to bat, or running the bases. Some leagues may even require pitchers to wear them. Helmets should always fit properly and be worn correctly. If the helmet has a chin strap, it should be fastened, and if the helmet has an eye shield or other face guard, this should be in good condition, securely attached to the helmet.

A catcher should always wear a helmet, face mask, throat guard, full length chest protector, athletic supporter with a cup, shin guards and a catcher’s mitt whenever they are catching pitches, whether it’s in the game, in the bullpen or during warm-ups.

Baseball spikes should have molded plastic cleats rather than metal ones. Most youth leagues don’t allow spikes with metal cleats.

Some leagues have guidelines dictating what kind of bat a player can use. Some aluminum bats may be banned for hitting batted balls too hard. Be sure to check the league’s policy before choosing a bat.

All players should wear athletic supporters; most, particularly pitchers and infielders, should wear protective cups. Rules regarding which players must wear cups vary from league to league.

Additional gear that some players like includes sliding pants, which are meant to go under baseball pants to protect against scrapes and cuts; batting gloves, which can keep hands from getting sore while hitting; shin and foot guards, which are designed to protect against balls fouled straight down; and mouth guards.

Before Starting the Game

Ideally, kids should get plenty of exercise before the season begins and be in the best shape possible before swinging a bat for the first time. This will not only lower the risk of injury, but it will also make them better ballplayers.

Just as with any other sport, warming up and stretching before a baseball game is very important. However, remember that in baseball, kids should pay particular attention to their throwing arm. Most will require plenty of warm-up before they can safely attempt a long, hard throw.

Different players have different preferences when it comes to warming up their arms. Some like to make short throws, while others prefer to start with long, easy tosses. Regardless of how a player chooses to warm up, the idea is to start with soft throws meant to stretch muscles and loosen up joints. As the arm warms up, the intensity of throws should be gradually increased until the player is throwing as he or she would during a game situation.

Make sure that all bats, balls, and other equipment used during warm-ups are safely put away before play begins, and always inspect the playing field for holes and debris, especially broken glass.

During Game Play

Painful collisions can and do occur in baseball. With attention focused on the ball, it’s easy to lose track of where people are. If there’s any doubt as to who should field a ball, one player should call for it as loudly as he or she can to let the others know to back away. Players should practice doing this with teammates to get used to listening for each other’s voices.

While batting, it’s important for kids to stand confidently in the batter’s box and not be afraid of the ball. That being said, baseballs are hard objects. Getting hit with a pitch hurts. Kids should know how to safely get out of the way if a pitch is headed toward them. The best way to do this is to duck and turn away from the pitcher, exposing the back and rear end to the pitch instead of the face and midsection.

On the base paths, players should practice running the bases with their heads up, looking out for other players and batted balls. They should also know how to slide correctly. Many leagues make it illegal for kids to slide headfirst, as this can lead to head injuries and facial cuts.

A Few Other Reminders

  • Make sure a responsible adult is on hand anytime a baseball game is played, whether it’s a parent, coach, or umpire. In the event someone gets seriously hurt, an adult should be around to take an injured player to the emergency room.
  • Make sure first aid is readily available.
  • Steroids or human growth hormones aren’t just illegal — they’re dangerous.

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