Archery For Kids: Safe or Dangerous?

If you’ve got a son or daughter expressing an interest in archery, you may be wondering about whether or not the activity is safe. After all, bows and arrows aren’t toys—they’re weapons, and they’ve been used for thousands of years in military ventures and hunting excursions. They’re designed to be lethal, and it’s common sense to be concerned about your child’s safety and well-being.

So is archery safe? The answer might surprise you.

According to the Archery Trade Association, an organization for manufacturers, retailers, distributors, sales representatives and others working in the archery and bowhunting industry, not only is archery safe, but in terms of injuries-per-thousand-participants, archery is one of the safest sports in the world, ranking just below golf and fishing, and just above badminton and table tennis.

The organization made some surprising discoveries about the rate of injuries according to the type of sporting event, and foundation that for every 1,000 participants, the following number of injuries occurred:

Basketball:          22.54 injuries per thousand participants

Football:              21.77 injuries per thousand participants

Soccer:                 13.78 injuries per thousand participants

Cheerleading:    10.33 injuries per thousand participants

Softball:               10.04 injuries per thousand participants

Baseball:             9.46 injuries per thousand participants

Gymnastics:       7.15 injuries per thousand participants

Volleyball:           3.53 injuries per thousand participants

Inline Skating:    1.91 injuries per thousand participants

Ice Skating:         1.82 injuries per thousand participants

Golf:                     1.15 injuries per thousand participants

Fishing:                1.14 injuries per thousand participants

Tennis:                 1.10 injuries per thousand participants

Archery:              0.45 injuries per thousand participants

Bowling:              0.32 injuries per thousand participants

Badminton:        0.27 injuries per thousand participants

Table Tennis:     0.10 injuries per thousand participants

In other words, it’s statistically safer to let your child pick up a bow and arrow than a chipping wedge and a golf ball!

According to the National Safety Council, 94% of the archery injuries reported don’t actually occur when target shooting, and instead when bowhunters cut their fingers on broadheads (the razor-sharp tips used on arrows when hunting).

So how can parents and caregivers keep their kids safe when using a bow and arrow? Matthew Murphy, owner of The Complete Guide to Archery (https://www.completeguidetoarchery.com), explains, “Supervision is the first and most important thing to remember. Most archery ranges require kids to take an intro class and a safety test before shooting at targets, and supervise them closely while they’re shooting, so that’s definitely the safest place for them. Injuries are rare, but when we do hear about them, it’s usually when someone is shooting at home in the backyard or in an unsafe environment.”

Mr. Murphy also advises to make sure that equipment is well-maintained and working properly, and that proper safety gear is worn at all times. “The most common archery injury is a slap on the wrist from a bowstring, which can result in a really nasty bruise, so children should always wear arm guards as protection. That’s the most important thing—and, of course, to only aim at the target.”

For more information on archery safety, visit https://georgiawildlife.com/archery/rules.

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