With the summer coming to a close in many places and the school year about to start up again, many children will begin participating in fall or winter sports in the coming months. 

While summer is a time for children to spend running around outside and playing in the water, the type of physical activity required for sports is different. Because of this, it’s important that both you and your children have been properly prepared so that your kids can have an enjoyable sports season while also keeping themselves safe and healthy along the way. 

To help ensure that this happens, here are three tips for keeping your kids safe while playing sports. 

Wear The Right Gear

One of the most obvious ways for you to ensure that your kids will be safe and well protected while playing in their chosen sport, according to WebMD.com, is to have them fitted with the proper gear. Without the right gear for their sport, either with it missing or ill-fitting, your child is much more likely to sustain a sports injury than if he or she was properly outfitted and protected.

When your child is wearing the right gear, from pads and braces to helmets or eye protection, you’ll help keep him or her safe from sports injuries such as bruises, concussion, corneal abrasions, shin splints, pulled or strained muscles and so much more. 

Teach The Importance Of Warming Up And Cooling Down

For many people who play sports, children included, a lot of the injuries that are sustained happen as a result of improper warming up or cooling down when starting or finishing play. But for your children, this likely isn’t something they’re familiar with or will think to do on their own. Because of this, you’ve got to teach your child the importance of warming up and cooling down.

According to the editors of Reader’s Digest, you should teach your kids the proper stretches or exercises to warm up with muscles, tendons, ligaments, and heart before they start playing their sport. And once their practice or game is over, taking a few minutes to slow their heart rate and breathing back down, as well as stretch their muscles once more, can help them avoid injury. 

Don’t Play Through The Pain

As teen or adult athletes, you might have heard the phrase, “play through the pain.” In your mind, this might mean pushing past your limits to reach your full potential. But for kids, who take things much more literally, they might take this phrase to mean playing even if they are feeling actual pain.

To keep your kids safe and healthy in sports, Dr. Mary L. Gavin, a contributor to KidsHealth.org, it’s wise to teach your kids how to recognize when something feels wrong in their bodies and when to take a break. Additionally, if your child is sick or injured, make sure you encourage them to rest and recover so they don’t make themselves worse. 

If you have kids who will be starting a sports season soon, consider using the tips mentioned above to help keep them safe and healthy all season long.