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Playing sports is a great way for children to make friends, practice teamwork and learn the value of hard work and dedication. Sports can also be an easy way for children to get injured, however, especially in contact sports such as football or soccer. Keep the game play fun by always practicing these five ways to prevent your kids from getting injured.

1. Make Sure Your Child Has the Proper Equipment

Children should have all the pieces necessary for safe play. They should wear helmets, pads, and cups when needed. Furthermore, all equipment should fit well and be in great condition. Shoes that are too big can cause kids to fall. Helmets that have cracks will not protect a child’s head.

2. Make Sure the Coaches are Qualified

While anyone can tell children to run, jump, and pass a ball, only a trained and knowledgeable coach can help kids do so safely. Inexperienced coaches might push kids too hard or not recognize developing sports injuries. Most organized sports have at least one trainer knowledgeable in sports injury prevention.

3. Have Your Child Complete Warm Up and Cool Down Exercises

While warm up and cool down exercises are not nearly as much fun as playing the game, these exercises are crucial for preventing sports injuries. Muscles that have not been properly warmed up can snap or sprain. If the coach does not have players warm up and cool down, make sure your child does so at home before and after games.

4. Teach Your Child to Follow the Safety Rules of the Sport

Children and teenagers often have the tendency to think they are invincible. While you do not have to lecture them about all the accidents that could happen, you do need to insist that they play safely. Even when played competitively, all sports have certain rules players must follow to prevent injuring themselves or others.

5. Know What Symptoms to Look Out For

Lastly, you should know the symptoms of common injuries for your child’s sports. While the coach should be trained to notice injuries as well, no one sees your child as often or cares about your child as much as you do. By keeping an eye out for potential injuries, you can have them treated before they have a chance to get worse.

If you want your child to have a healthy back, legs and arms, emphasize the importance of sports safety. It only takes one bad injury to leave your child incapable of playing sports again.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents of sporting kids.