Youth sports are generally fun for kids, but they do come with some risks. While the coach should focus on safety, you as the parent of a young athlete also play a role in making sure your child doesn’t get hurt.
Choose Sport Carefully
Your child’s safety starts with the sport you choose for him. Tackle football for young kids carriers a higher risk of an injury than a non-contact sport, for example. You might choose flag football instead of tackle football if it is an option to reduce your child’s injury risk.
The competitive level of the league you choose is also a consideration. If your child plays in a very competitive league, he is more likely to play aggressively and go against other aggressive players. He might have a longer season and practice more, which gives him more opportunities to get hurt. Choosing a recreational league may reduce your child’s risk of injury.
It’s always a good idea to get the stamp of approval from your child’s doctor before signing him up for sports. He should get a regular checkup every year anyway. Ask your child’s doctor if there is any reason he should refrain from certain sports.
Buy the Right Gear
Most sports require some sort of gear to participate. It might be as simple as a pair of shoes or some sort of padding. Always buy your child gear that fits properly. It’s tempting to buy the equipment a little large so it will last longer, but it’s not safe for him to wear gear that doesn’t fit well. The same goes for hand-me-down gear. Make sure the secondhand gear is in good shape and fits properly.
Warming up and staying in shape helps your child perform well on the field. He should also drink lots of water while playing a sport even in cool weather. He may not feel hot if he’s playing outdoor soccer in 40 degree weather, but he still needs to stay hydrated.
If your child does get injured while playing a sport, it’s important to give him enough time to recover. If he jumps back into the sport too soon, he might injure himself worse. It’s also a good idea to take a break if your child is overly tired or sick. If he isn’t up to par, he might not perform as well and could get injured.
Talk to the Coach
If you’re concerned about how the coach is handling the team, talk with him about it. Express your concerns for the young athletes. For example, let him know if he pushes the kids too hard in the heat without breaks. Or mention that you feel some of the moves he teaches the kids are too advanced for the age level.