If they are old enough to be playing organized sports

September 02 [Fri], 2011, 17:51

I'm a huge advocate of involvement in sports and active play as a great way to start your children off on the right foot in life, but I would also be blind or lying to say there are no risks involved. There are, of course, risks involved, but that is part of life. Your child can be injured in many different ways when they choose to engage in hard physical activity, but by making sure they are playing smart and playing safe, you can minimize the risks while still allowing them to get all the benefits.

Here are some safe playing habits to keep in mind, whether they are playing on an organized team or having fun in the backyard.

1. Provide Water

As you know, water is essential for the human body to not only thrive but survive, and this becomes even truer when playing physical sports or being active outside your home. At home, make sure the children have plenty of water available, and talk to them about how good it is for them. At games, make sure the coaches are providing plenty of water. Bring plenty of water on family outings, like hiking trips. Dehydration is a serious threat, especially on hot days.

2. Find Out if the Coach is Qualified

If they are old enough to be playing organized sports, find out what qualifications the coach has and if they are really suited to caring for your children. A coach should be schooled in proper coaching and physical training strategies, and they should have certifications in CPR and first aid.

3. Stop When They Get Hurt

American society has long been obsessed with the "no pain, no gain" philosophy; unfortunately, it's this type of thinking that often turns a temporary injury into a long-term one. With children, it's often that they are just having too much fun and have too much adrenaline going to stop. Be aware when your child get hurts, and if they are experiencing pain, it may be time to stop. It's okay to play through a simple bruise or small scratch, but it is not always easy to tell the difference.

4. Prevent Overplaying

These days, it's good to see children who still want to get outside and have some fun rather than sit on the couch and play video games like many of their peers, but overplaying can also be a risk, so beware. Sometimes, as much as you love to see them get exercise and have a good time, you need to step outside and call it a day. The vast majority of injuries in high school sports, for instance, are due to overtraining.

By no means do I want to discourage you from allowing your kids to be active in sports―I just think it's important to keep an eye on what's going on and instill some safe habits and mindsets.
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