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Emotional Educators

How to help children with an external fixator

Coping with a child with an external fixator can seem like a daunting task for both the parents and yourselves as educators. The important thing is to make children feel happy and comfortable.

A child with an external fixator is usually off school for the first two weeks of the treatment. After this period of time most children can attend school with the frame on.

If a child in your care requires a wheelchair post op, the school will need to have ramps for easy access. The child won’t be able to move as freely as they could before their orthopedic surgery.

If the child is only using crutches, he/she should be able to move around school quite well. There isn’t any danger to the child or others if the frame is knocked, however assisting the child from class to class may be helpful in preventing such instances.

Initially, leniency on the proposed school uniform could be beneficial. Due to the width of the rings on a fixation device, shorts and baggy trousers or tracksuit bottoms are recommended in order to give the fixation device as much room as possible to avoid rubbing, which could cause irritation or move the frame from position. Although special footwear can be created to fit around metal wear when external fixators are applied around the foot and ankles, most children will be able to wear normal footwear once the orthopedic surgeon allows it. Until then we would recommend leniency with this also.

Openly discussing treatment, emotions and worries, recovery and future goals with a child that has just had orthopedic surgery is highly encouraged. If you think that a child is not coping very well with his/her treatment plan, it is important to let a parent know so a specialist can be made aware and the child’s specific issues can be addressed and corrected.

 

Categories
Physical Educators

Common sports injuries in children

Common sports injuries in kids and teens are classified into 3 types: acute injuries, overuse injuries, and reinjuries.

Acute injury in children

Acute injuries in children are usually associated with some kind of trauma.

In young children, acute sports injuries can include minor bruises, sprains, and strains.

Teenagers are more likely to sustain more severe injuries, including broken bones and torn ligaments, concussions, skull fractures, spinal cord injuries and eye injuries – scratched corneas, detached retinas and blood in the eyes.

Overuse injuries in sports

Overuse injuries in sports are generally caused by repetitive actions that put too much stress on the bones and muscles. Although this can happen in adults too, they’re more problematic in young kids because they can affect growth.

Common types of overuse injuries include:

  • Knee overuse injuries: pain in the front of the knee under the kneecap. The knee will most likely be sore and swollen due to tendon or cartilage inflammation. The cause is usually muscle tightness in the hamstrings or quadriceps, the major muscle groups around the thigh.
  • Swimmer’s shoulder: inflammation or swelling of the shoulder caused by the repeated stress of the overhead motions used when swimming or throwing a ball. The pain usually begins intermittently but may become continuous pain in the back of the shoulder.
  • Shin splints: characterized by pain and discomfort on the front of the lower parts of the legs. Shin splints are often caused by repeated running on a hard surface or overtraining.
  • Spondylolysis: lower back pain that results from constant overextension, which puts stress on the bones of the lower back. It is commonly seen in kids who play soccer and football, or practice gymnastics, wrestling and diving.
  • Tennis elbow (or “Golfers elbow”) depending on the involved ligament: caused by repetitive throwing, it can result in pain and tenderness in the elbow. The ability to flex and extend the arm could be affected, but the pain typically happens after the follow-through of the throw. Besides pain, pitchers sometimes complain of loss of velocity or decreased endurance when playing.

Reinjury

Reinjury can happen when an athlete returns to a sport before a previous injury has properly healed. Doing so places excess stress upon the injury and forces the body to compensate for the weakness, which can put the athlete at greater risk for injuring another part of the body.

You can avoid reinjury by giving it time to completely heal. Once the doctor has approved a return to the sport, make sure that a child in your care properly warms up and cools down before and after any exercise. Try re-entering the sport gradually. Explain that easing back into the game at a sensible pace is better than returning to the hospital!

Categories
Physical Safety Educators

Preventing children sports injuries

Sports are a great way for children to burn off excess energy, practice teamwork and communication skills, and stretch their limits, but any sport carries the potential for injury.

Younger children have undeveloped coordination and can have slower reaction times than adults because they are still growing. As they grow, the potential for injury increases due to the amount of force they are able to apply when participating in sports.

Following these simple rules can help reduce children sports injuries:

Use of proper sports equipment

Make sure any safety gear used is the correct size and that all sports equipment carries your country’s official standards accreditation.

Adult supervision

A qualified adult or coach with the correct training and qualifications should always supervise any sport. Be sure you can clearly see children while they are playing sports.

Proper preparation

Drinking plenty of water and warming up is important before playing any sport. Teaching children to properly warm up at a young age can help reduce sports injuries throughout their life.

Categories
Physical Educators

What are the signs of a concussion?

A concussion is an injury to the brain that results in temporary loss of normal brain function. Concussions happen when someone receives a blow to the head and/or the brain is shaken excessively. Symptoms of concussion may include:

  • headache or a feeling of pressure in the head;
  • temporary loss of consciousness;
  • confusion or feeling of “brain fog”;
  • amnesia surrounding the traumatic event;
  • dizziness or “seeing stars”;
  • ringing in the ears;
  • nausea;
  • vomit.

Concussion in kids is a serious event and must be treated with the utmost care, seeking a medical professional’s advice immediately.

Sports related concussions

Sports related concussions in kids are quite common. All sports carry a certain amount of risk, but some of them present greater risks, including:

  • Mountain biking
  • Football
  • Ice hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Rollerblading
  • Rugby
  • Soccer
  • Snowboarding

Nothing can prevent a concussion, but wearing the correct safety gear helps protect against severe head trauma. Repeated concussions in kids can lead to lasting brain damage. In addition to wearing the correct equipment, awareness of symptoms and aftercare is very important.

Categories
Physical Safety Educators

Playing safely to prevent playground injuries

Letting your child run around outside in the fresh air is great for their growth and development. Playgrounds are great fun, but it is very important to check that the area and equipment are safe for your child.

Every year, more than 220,000 kids under age 14 are treated in the hospital for playground injuries. Although minor bumps, bruises or cuts occur on playgrounds often, some other more severe injuries – broken bones, concussions, dislocations and internal organ injuries – are the most common playground injuries that require a doctor’s immediate care.

Parents and educators can make the playground safer for kids, including adult supervision, ensuring that equipment is free of potential hazards and steering children to age-appropriate play areas.

Here are a few other tips on how to prevent playground injuries.

Supervise children while playing

Kids can be fearless and often don’t know yet what their limits are. Supervise them at all times. Supervision won’t prevent all injuries, so if first aid is needed, administered it right away.

Safety of the children’s playground

Always check that playground surfaces are clean and clear of any obstructions before letting a child play.

Regarding surfaces, some things need to be considered: safer surfaces include wood chips, mulch, sand, pea gravel. Rubber mats made of compliant materials can also provide a safe surface to play. Rubber mats can provide the best access for people in wheelchairs.

Design and spacing of children’s playgrounds

Children’s playground equipment should be appropriate for the age of the user.

Play areas for younger children should be separated from those meant for older kids with signs to locate each area clearly. Children shouldn’t play in an area not designed for them.

Here are some things to look for when assessing children’s playground equipment:

  • swings, seesaws, and other equipment with moving parts should be located in an area separate from the rest of the playground and swings should be limited to 2 per bay;
  • baby swings with full bucket seats should have their own bay;
  • swings should be spaced at least 24 inches apart and 30 inches between a swing and the support frame;
  • guardrails and protective barriers should be in place for elevated surfaces, including platforms and ramps;
  • climbing nets should have openings that are either too small to allow a child’s body through or large enough to prevent entrapment of the head;
  • look out for ‘pinch points’ on playground equipment with moving parts, anything that a child could get their limbs caught in.

Maintenance and inspection tips for a playground

  • There should be no broken equipment, wooden equipment should not be cracking or splintering, and metal equipment should not be rusted
  • The fence surrounding a public playground should be in good condition to prevent kids from running into surrounding traffic or busy areas
  • Surface materials on the playground should be maintained to minimize tripping hazards
  • Children’s playground equipment should be made of durable materials that won’t fall apart or be damaged by the weather
  • Check for objects like loose screws/bolts that stick out on equipment and could cut a child or cause clothing to become entangled
  • Check for debris in sandboxes and be sure that the sand is free of bugs. Sandboxes should be covered overnight to prevent contamination from animals
  • Keep the area the way you would like to find it. Pick up trash, use the equipment properly, and report any problems to the organization that is responsible for maintenance of the playground.

Teaching kids about playground safety to prevent injuries

Children’s playgrounds can be a great place for kids to socialize with their friends when supervised correctly. Follow these safety tips to ensure children you are supervising play safely and avoid injuries.

Teach children to:

  • never push or play too rough when using playground equipment;
  • use the equipment correctly – slide feet first, don’t climb outside guardrails, no standing on swings;
  • land on both feet if they are going to jump off equipment or slide;
  • playground surfaces may be slippery when wet;
  • during summer, check all playground surfaces (especially metal) as they can get very hot from the sun;
  • wear sunscreen, even on cloudy days, to avoid sunburn;
  • avoid clothes with drawstrings or long ties as these can become trapped and can cause injuries.
Categories
Physical Safety Educators

Safe cycling to prevent injuries

Riding bikes is not only fun but also a great way for children to exercise. Bike safety is very important. 6 percent of fatal injuries and 6 percent of non-fatal injuries occur during the journey to or from school. The most common types of injuries are bruises and scrapes, followed by bone fractures involving upper extremities (36%) and lower limbs (25%), and head and neck (15%).

Here are a few tips regarding helmet basics, safe clothing, bike safety and bike maintenance.

 

Kids bike helmet basics to reduce head injury

The single most effective safety device available to reduce head injury – including the risk of permanent brain damage – and death from bicycling is a helmet. All of us – not just children – should wear a bike helmet when cycling, regardless of age or skill level.

  • Any bike helmets made before 1999 must be replaced
  • When purchasing new kid bike helmets, make sure they have the correct safety stickers attached for your country
  • Picking bright or fluorescent colors that are visible to drivers and other cyclists is a great idea
  • Look for a helmet that’s light, well-built and well ventilated
  • Ask a bike shop for help finding a helmet that is the correct size for your child and fitted properly
  • If the kids bike helmet is dropped or damaged it must be replaced

 

Ware safe bike clothing to reduce injuries

  • Bright colors over dark colors – Fluorescent or brightly colored bike riding clothes will help kids be visible on the road
  • Reflective is best – Wear something that reflects light like reflective tape or hi-vis vests
  • Be breathable – Lightweight bike riding clothes will help avoid overheating
  • Prevent avoidable accidents – Trousers should not be too loose fitting and all loose straps should be tied up. Anything that can get caught up in the chain while riding should be secured
  • Correct footwear – Choose shoes that grip the bike’s pedals and never ride barefoot

 

What should I teach children about bike riding safety?

  • Stop at all stop signs and obey traffic lights just as you would if you were in a car. Stop for pedestrians, stop at red lights and be especially careful at intersections and junctions.
  • Always check in both directions when setting off on your bike, regardless of where you are.
  • Never ride against traffic.
  • Don’t cycle too closely to parked cars – doors can open suddenly and cause injury.
  • Use bike lanes or designated bike routes if you can – not the sidewalk or path!
  • Avoid riding in the dark if you can help it, as people won’t be able to see you. If you have to, make sure you are wearing reflective bike clothing and a light.
  • Be sure to walk a bike across busy roads using the crossings and follow traffic signals.
  • Always ride single file on the street when in a group – this helps cars pass safely.
  • Never share the seat with a friend or ride on the handlebars – this is not safe at all!
  • Never wear headphones while cycling – you need to hear what’s going on around you at all times.
  • Never stand up while riding your bike.

Always use the correct hand signal and look behind you before changing lanes:

Left turn: hold your left arm straight out from your side and ride forward slowly

Stop: bend your elbow, pointing your arm downward in an upside down “L” shape and
come to a stop

Right turn: hold your right arm straight out from your side and ride forward slowly.

How to maintain a bike:

Be sure to always check:

  • Brakes – check for worn out cables and pads and replace them
  • Chain – keep your chain grime free and be sure to lubricate it regularly to avoid rust
  • Handlebars – adjust for height of children to prevent accidents or injuries
  • Seat – keep the seat level and adjust the height as needed, making sure that the child can reach the pedals comfortably when sitting
  • Tires – check the correct pressure on the side of the tire before setting off. If it is too low it can be too difficult to ride; moreover, it can cause damage to the bike wheels
  • Bike bell – check if it works correctly
Categories
Children Teenagers Videos Children Parents Videos Educators Educators Videos Teenagers Videos Parents

Why Do I Need Surgery?

Bone fractures, regeneration and healing; growth plates (epiphysis); length discrepancy and bone deformity; the role of the orthopaedic surgeon

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The Human Skeleton

The basic of the human skeleton, its main functions and skeletal development.

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Children Teenagers Parents Activities Children Educators Activities Educators Activities Parents

The Kids Box

The decision to have surgery is a big one for a child. Our goal is to provide tools – apps, comic strips, kids box with games and coloring books – to amuse and entertain your kid, particularly in the early post-operative phase, when he/she is not allowed to walk yet. We know it is very important for children to stay active and be positive when in the hospital and back home after hospital discharge. Our “Kids box” also has an educational goal: while playing and having fun, your child will understand something more about the orthopedic fixator applied on his/her limb. Kids will learn how to live with the fixation device and how to take care of it. They discover which kind of movement is suggested and what is better to do for their health and faster healing. While relaxing, the youngest children will learn how the human body works, what a bone is made of and how to feel comfortable with their new medical device. They will also learn how to communicate when they feel stressed or uneasy.

Memory Game

This game is designed to keep your child busy when not allowed to walk.
Cut out the cards and start to play.
Players: 1 or 2.
Goal: Collect the most matching pairs.

1. Shuffle the cards.
2. Lay out all the cards face down in rows, on the table or floor.
3. Decide who will go first.
4. The first player chooses a card and turns it over. If the two cards are a matching pair, then the player takes the two cards and starts a stack. The player is awarded another turn for making a match and goes again. If the cards are not a match, they are turned back over and it is now the next players turn.
5. The game continues in this way until all the cards are played. The player with the most matching pairs is the winner.

Memory Game Download link:
Download

Your Dancing Skeleton

Use this game to teach your child the name of the bones and the functions of the different body parts.

Cut out along the dotted lines. Glue or staple or use paper fasteners to put the skeleton back together.

Alternatively, you can use it as a competition game, to keep your child busy. If you have a board game at home with dice, use the dice to play the skeleton game.

1. Make several copies of this sheet.
2. Cut out the pieces and place them in the middle of the table.
3. Decide who will go first.
4. The first player rolls and then play continues clockwise:
a. For a 6, take a skull.
b. For a 5, take a body.
c. For a 4, take a humerus or a forearm.
d. For a 3, take a femur or a tibia.
e. For a 2, take a hand.
f. For a 1, take a foot.

5. First player to complete the skeleton is the winner.

Your Dancing Skeleton Download link:
Download

Complete the picture

Describe to your child how the limb will change after the treatment and what he or she will be able to do differently.

Draw and color the missing part of the body and the background scenery.

Complete the picture Download link:
Download

Which one doesn’t belong?

Use this picture to check out with your child what is needed for the daily pin-site care.

Circle the items that are not useful in cleaning the fixator of the baby raccoon.

Which one doesn’t belong? Download link:
Download

How Does It Feel?

Use this set of cards as a simple puzzle of facial expressions. Teach your child to label and communicate emotions and feelings.

Cut out along the dotted lines. Piece together the cards to put the face back together. How does the animal feel?

How Does It Feel? Download link:
Download

Categories
Children Teenagers Activities Children Parents Educators Activities Educators Activities Parents

How Does It Feel?

Use this set of cards as a simple puzzle of facial expressions. Teach your child to label and communicate emotions and feelings.

Cut out along the dotted lines. Piece together the cards to put the face back together. How does the animal feel?

How Does It Feel? Download link:
Download

Categories
Children Teenagers Parents Activities Children Educators Activities Educators Activities Parents

Complete the picture

Describe to your child how the limb will change after the treatment and what he or she will be able to do differently.

Draw and color the missing part of the body and the background scenery.

Complete the picture Download link:
Download

Categories
Children Teenagers Parents Activities Children Educators Activities Educators Activities Parents

Your Dancing Skeleton

Use this game to teach your child the name of the bones and the functions of the different body parts.

Cut out along the dotted lines. Glue or staple or use paper fasteners to put the skeleton back together.

Alternatively, you can use it as a competition game, to keep your child busy. If you have a board game at home with dice, use the dice to play the skeleton game.

1. Make several copies of this sheet.
2. Cut out the pieces and place them in the middle of the table.
3. Decide who will go first.
4. The first player rolls and then play continues clockwise:
a. For a 6, take a skull.
b. For a 5, take a body.
c. For a 4, take a humerus or a forearm.
d. For a 3, take a femur or a tibia.
e. For a 2, take a hand.
f. For a 1, take a foot.

5. First player to complete the skeleton is the winner.

Your Dancing Skeleton Download link:
Download

Categories
Children Teenagers Activities Children Parents Educators Activities Educators Activities Parents

Memory Game

This game is designed to keep your child busy when not allowed to walk.
Cut out the cards and start to play.
Players: 1 or 2.
Goal: Collect the most matching pairs.

1. Shuffle the cards.
2. Lay out all the cards face down in rows, on the table or floor.
3. Decide who will go first.
4. The first player chooses a card and turns it over. If the two cards are a matching pair, then the player takes the two cards and starts a stack. The player is awarded another turn for making a match and goes again. If the cards are not a match, they are turned back over and it is now the next players turn.
5. The game continues in this way until all the cards are played. The player with the most matching pairs is the winner.

Memory Game Download link:
Download