When your kid loves to play sports, it’s tough to keep him or her off the field (or the ice or the court, depending on which sport is their favorite). As a parent, though, it’s just as difficult not to worry about injuries. Though Everyday Health reports that overall injury rates have decreased over the years, there will always be strains, sprains, breaks, bumps and bruises when kids and sports are in the mix. Injuries from overuse tend to be the most common sports dangers, but when both you and your child know what to be aware of, there’s a chance of minimizing injuries in general.

Most sports articles on the subject list football as the most dangerous of sports, specifically among sports for kids. The rate of injury is disturbing: Total Pro Sports reveals that kids playing football are over twice as likely to be injured as kids playing basketball, the next most dangerous sport. Even suited up with all that padding and protection, football players still sustain significant injuries. In Everyday Health’s list of sports that are most dangerous, Dr. Frederick Mueller pointed the finger at extreme practice conditions and a man-up culture that encourages players to keep playing even when they’re not feeling well. In addition to suiting up, pads and all, whenever they’ll be participating in football practices and games, encourage your football kids to drink plenty of water before, during and after to decrease the chances of dehydration. Discourage them from taking the opposing team head-on, to avoid head and neck injuries from helmet-to-helmet crashes and let them know it’s OK to sit it out on the sidelines if they’re not feeling 100 percent.

Those tips are useful guidelines for almost all sports activities that kids participate in. Wearing the proper protective equipment for every sport will give your kids the best chances of avoiding injury. Staying hydrated, whether it’s during a tennis match, on the ski hill or when biking, is vital to reduce chances of heat stroke and dehydration. Point out to your kids that if they’re not feeling their best, they won’t be able to give the game everything they’ve got, so admitting when they’re not feeling well isn’t a fail. Also talk to them about knowing their limits and not sacrificing their bodies and health to sports. Playing smart doesn’t mean that they can’t play aggressively or enjoy the game, it just means looking out for the protection and wellbeing of themselves.

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