Now, here's the lowdown on what your child will need when he or she decides on a specific sport:
Basketball: Each year, there are more than 41,000 sports-related and recreational eye injuries, most commonly among baseball and basketball players, which is why the AAP recommends that basketball players wear sports goggles with shatterproof polycarbonate lenses. The AAPD recommends mouth guards to protect against broken, lost, or chipped teeth, bruised or cut lips, and jaw injuries.
Softball/baseball: "A batting helmet is essential," Maharam says. "Shin guards at the plate to protect from low pitches and batting gloves to prevent blisters can also help." The AAP recommends a polycarbonate face guard or other certified safe protection attached to the helmet for batting and base running and sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses for fielding. The AAPD recommends mouth guards.
Ice skating, rollerskating, or inline skating: "For any type of skating, your child needs properly sized skates that fit like a shoe with a thumbnail's width from the end of the toe to the end of the skate," Maharam says. "Rollerbladers must wear a helmet, knee pads, wrist guards, and hip pads." The AAPD recommends mouth guards.
Soccer: "Knee pads and shin guards are important for soccer players," Maharam says. "Some people say helmets are a good idea because the constant heading of the ball may cause mild brain injury." The AAP recommends sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses, and the AAPD recommends mouth guards.
Football: "Football players should be protected from top to bottom -- starting with a helmet with a polycarbonate shield and ending with hip padding," Maharam says. The AAPD recommends mouth guards.
Biking: "All bikers need helmets; it's the law," Maharam says, though laws differ from state to state. "They should also have an appropriately sized bike with padding on the center bar." Bicycle helmets have been shown to reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85% and the risk of brain injury by as much as 88%, according to the National Safe Kids Campaign. About 75% of bicycle-related fatalities among children could be prevented with a bicycle helmet. The AAPD recommends that all bikers be fitted for a mouth guard.