Doctor or Dr. Mom?
One of the more difficult decisions you may have to make as a parent is whether to rush your child to the emergency room when he or she is injured. Its often hard to judge since children have varying levels of tolerance to pain. You have to evaluate each child individually.

In case of an on-the-playing-field injury:

Be prepared to act quickly. There should always be someone a coach or parent present who knows first aid and CPR.

For minor sprains and strains, use the R-I-C-E technique: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

In cases of loss of consciousness or a serious head or eye injury, you should take your child to the nearest hospital emergency department.

Ongoing Pain

You can generally ignore your childs initial complaints of soreness after a practice or game. However, if this soreness lasts more than a day or two you should have your child checked by a professional, preferably a sports-medicine specialist. Prompt diagnosis and treatment of overuse injuries are crucial to keep them from becoming a chronic problem. When in doubt, seek help.

More Sports:

Sports Injury Prevention Chart

Playing It Safe: How to Keep Your Young Athlete Injury-Free

Playing it Safe: Resources

What Makes a Great Coach: A Parent's Primer on Finding a Sports Mentor with the Right Stuff

From United Parenting Publications, April 2002.