Choosing the Best Baseball Safety Gear for Your Child

choose baseball safety gear

Your ideal Saturday afternoon with your child should include singing, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” not saying, “Take me to urgent care.” Whether your child will be lacing up for his or her first year of little league or preparing for an advanced season, it’s always the right time to ensure your child has the safest gear available to protect against injury. Below we outline the key factors to consider when choosing gloves, cleats, bats, and helmets for your little league all-star.

Fits Like a Glove

Start your baseball glove shopping by choosing a material. Synthetic leather does not require a break-in period and will better suit younger players. Genuine, oil-treated leather offers better game-day comfort and is the step-up choice for more advanced players. Make sure the glove fits snugly without being too tight or too loose. The key is to be like Goldilocks and find a glove that fits just right. It should also be stiff enough to offer some resistance, but flexible enough to provide control for both pitchers, catchers, and fielders. If your child’s glove is a few years old and has lost too much of its form and structure, it may be time for an upgrade.

Batter Up

Your future MVP will need a bat for use at home and possibly for practices and games.  Regardless of your child’s age or experience level, choosing the right bat is all about size. Youngsters between 3’ and 3’4’’ are well-suited for a 26-inch bat. Increase the bat size one inch for every four to five inches your child grows (yes, that may mean multiple purchases during those exciting growth spurt years). Make sure when measuring your child that you do so when he or she is wearing baseball cleats.

Lace ‘Em Up

Just like with running shoes, cleats make a significant impact on performance, safety, and minimizing the risk of injury. Once your child is playing competitively, you will want to select cleats that offer the flexibility to make quick, explosive movements (think stealing a base), superior traction, and proper support. To protect a player’s ankles, it’s all about the height of the shoe. As the name implies, high tops extend above ankle-height to provide extra support for too easily sprained ankles. If your child is looking to set a new speed record, you will want to consider low tops that enable faster lateral movements. 

Protecting Your Most Valuable Asset

The helmet will be the most critical safety item you will purchase for your player. It is vital to minimizing the risk of concussions and other head and neck injuries. To help you gauge your product purchase, know that typically the more money you spend on a helmet, the better quality product you’ll get in return. Higher-end helmets are usually made with high-impact padding and are often more comfortable. Just like with gloves, follow the Goldilocks rule when choosing a helmet. It should fit snugly, but not be too tight, and shouldn’t wobble around your child’s head—no matter their age.

A weekend of little league games should never end in an injury, but if it does, rely on the compassionate care experts at Nova Health. Click here to view Nova Health’s urgent care locations in Lane and Douglas Counties.

Should You Immunize Your Baby?

Should I Immunize my Baby?

As of June 24, the United States recorded 33  new Measles cases in one week. With a total of 1,077 cases documented so far this year, experts are now calling this the worst Measles outbreak since 1992. Concerns about the growing risk of Measles across the nation has resurfaced dialogue surrounding a decision every parent must face: Should I vaccinate my baby?

Health experts say the current Measles outbreak is spreading among adolescents whose parents chose not to immunize their children by issuing the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine during early developmental years. The recent trend of parents passing on the MMR vaccine is the result of concerns by some parents that the vaccine may cause Autism; however, no formal studies have ever confirmed a link between the two. Today, with the resurgence of a disease the U.S. declared eliminated in 2000 resurfacing with deadly consequences, parents of newborns and couples who are pregnant should educate themselves about the benefits of immunizations so they can talk to their doctors and make informed decisions regarding the best health protections for their babies.

Health Benefits of Childhood Immunizations

Prevention is always more effective than reactive treatments, which is why immunizations remain the most powerful defense against known, contagious diseases. Children can be vaccinated against fourteen known serious childhood diseases within the first two years of their lives. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these diseases include:

  • Diphtheria
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Pertussis (Whooping cough)
  • Pneumococcal disease
  • Polio
  • Rubella (German measles)
  • Tetanus (lockjaw)
  • Rotavirus
  • Varicella (chickenpox)

Certainly, every parent wants to protect their child and keep him or her safe for the entirety of the child’s life. From a communicable disease perspective, vaccinations are the best way to safeguard your child’s health. Here are four reasons why:

The 14 Diseases Listed Above Are Still a Threat

Yes, Polio still exists, even if it feels like no one has talked about the realities of the disease since the 1940s. While vaccines have limited the number of cases of the conditions listed above, strains still exist—including in other countries—and are still a threat unless a child receives appropriate vaccinations. As we see today with the current, Measles outbreak, it is only through consistent, mass immunization that we can keep these diseases contained.

Vaccines are Safe and Proven Effective

Despite the myths that may be circulating among some social circles or the social stratosphere regarding adverse risks of cognitive disabilities associated with vaccines, such rumors have never been validated. Currently, The United States has the safest vaccine supply in its history, which means it has never been safer to immunize your child.

Your Doctor Can Advise You of Any Known Risks

When it comes to making any decisions regarding the health and wellness of your child, your doctor will always be your best, more trusted health advocate. There may be some instances in which your doctor may not recommend vaccinating your child—such as cases of allergies, a weakened immune system, or recent medical treatments. Always consult and collaborate with your doctor to decide what course of treatment is best for your baby.

Vaccinations Mean Fewer Sick Days

Not every disease or communicable illness poses a risk of death, however, every illness does pose a risk of sick time and missed days of school that could be detrimental to your child’s development and education. Plus, unvaccinated children can pose health risks and contagion threats to other children to which they are exposed, which could result in a further spread of disease.

Talk to Your Doctor

Before making any decisions about your family’s immunization strategy, talk to your doctor about immunization benefits and risks and what’s best for your baby. By understanding the facts about immunizations, and knowing you have a health care expert committed to your family’s long-term wellbeing, you can make informed decisions that will give you comfort and confidence throughout your child’s development

Seven Tips to Sleep Better Starting Tonight

Seven Tips to Sleep Better Starting Tonight

If you’ve suffered through a miserable night’s sleep, then you know the importance of quality, uninterrupted Zzzs. The morning after insufficient sleep can leave you feeling mentally fuzzy, lethargic, and even give you a headache. Persistently lacking enough sleep can also lead to weight gain, reduced exercise performance, heart disease, or stroke. The average adult needs seven to eight hours of sleep every night. If you’re struggling to reach this minimum effective dosage, follow the tips below to regain your nights and improve your days.

  1. Be consistent. Make it a point to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day—even on weekends. Consistency helps to set your body’s internal clock and maximize sleep quality. Set your bedtime for the time of the evening when you naturally feel tired so that you’re not frustratingly tossing and turning for weeks while your body adjusts to your new schedule. You may need to gradually move up your bedtime to reach that critical eight-hour mark and get up early enough for work or to get your kids off to school on time.
  1. Increase your exposure to bright light. Daily exposure to natural sunlight or artificial bright light has been proven to help improve sleep for insomniacs. Bright light exposure during the day helps to keep your circadian rhythm—your body’s internal clock—healthy. A recent study found that two hours of bright light exposure during the day increase the amount of participants’ sleep by two hours, and sleep efficiency by 80 percent. If your busy schedule is keeping you indoors, make it a point to get outside every day, even if only for twenty minutes. Take one work phone call a day while walking outside, walk your dog around the block before dinner, or trade in your treadmill for your sidewalk. If the weather isn’t cooperating, make the switch to artificial bright-light bulbs.
  1. Set a routine. Your body will begin to naturally transition to sleep if you create a nighttime ritual that gradually slows down your body and mind. Consider a routine that includes pre-bedtime yoga, reading, or meditation. Limit your smartphone screen time, though. Using your phone stimulates your brain. Plus the light emitted from an LED screen interferes with your brain’s ability to produce the sleep hormone melatonin, which means scrolling through your Insta feed before bed may be making it harder to wind down and fall asleep. 
  1. Skip the late night latte. If you are a daily caffeine consumer, commit to cutting off the java drip at least six hours before bed. Caffeine stimulates your nervous system, making it more difficult to fall asleep. Studies have found that caffeine can remain in your bloodstream for six to eight hours, worsening sleep quality. If you have to have something warm in the evening, switch to decaf.
  1. Limit nap time. Naps are not meant to be second sleep shifts. If you nap for too many hours during the afternoon or early evening, it may be difficult to fall into a deep sleep at night. If you must nap, limit it to 15 to 20 minutes and rest in the early afternoon only.
  1. Exercise daily. It should be no surprise that exercise can make you tired; however, don’t feel like you need to run a 10K or power lift for 45 minutes to boost your sleep quality. Even light exercise can help you power down at the end of the day.
  1. Ask your doctor about taking a melatonin sleep aid. Often used to treat insomnia, melatonin supplements can help some people to fall asleep faster. A recent study found that 2 mg of melatonin before bed can improve sleep quality, help you sleep more quickly, and make you feel more energized the next morning. As with all supplements, never begin a new medication routine without first discussing with your doctor.

Sleeping better each night is within your control. By adopting some consistent routines and behaviors, and leading a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and healthy eating habits, you can kick your