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Being A Good Sport: Tips For Keeping Kids Safe During Practice And On The Field:

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

With children back in school that also means kids back in extracurricular activities. From choir to drama club, ballet, cheerleading, and sports, we can look forward to another season of kids in the gym, out on the track, and in the field. While parents and experts agree that this is perhaps one of the safest ways to keep kids busy during the school year and beyond, professionals point out some of the “hidden” dangers and what you need to know.

· Ask questions about the coach’s qualifications. Make sure he/she is trained in CPR.

· Experts recommend that ball fields have breakaway bases. These allow the top of the base to break away from the bottom when slid into, and helps prevent the potential for major hurts, broken bones or torn ligaments.

· Keep in mind that younger children should train with lighter weight equipment including baseballs and softballs.

· Protective helmets, such as batting helmets, should be worn at all times, including when running or standing in the on-deck circle.

· Fields should be equipped with padded goal posts.

· Soccer “heading” drills should be conducted with beach balls.

· Set an example by wearing protective gear (and making sure the whole family does the same) when hiking, biking, riding scooters, or skating.

· Regularly observe your child’s practices.

Scooter Safety: Some older kids may opt to ride their scooters to school, especially for the first few months in the pleasant and temperate weather. Make sure they follow the following safety advice.

· Wear protective gear including helmet, elbow and kneepads.

· Avoid riding in the street or near traffic. Ride ONLY on sidewalks and designated paths.

· Make sure steering column and handlebars are securely locked in place.

Playing Field Protection: Some of the most serious injuries occur on the playing field. In fact, statistics show that the leading cause of children’s injuries leading to fatality (in sports) is getting hit in the chest with the ball….and some experts agree that having a portable defibrillator easily accessible and available is essential to saving lives.

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