Kickboxing is safe for children, as long as they are older than 8. If they are younger than that, they are often scared to punch. Moreover, they are often scared of getting hit, which impacts their performance in the program. Sparring can pose a danger for little ones. However, this danger is slim, as long as the children have the proper equipment and listen to their coach.
To ensure that a certain kickboxing program is safe, parents should observe the coach and see how he treats the students. If the children are wearing the proper equipment and the coach is patient with them, then the program is generally safe. It also helps if the coach emphasizes good sportsmanship. Furthermore, a good program has structure, or a set of rules that students must follow. A decent coach rewards those who follow the rules and disciplines those who do not follow the rules. This reinforces safe behavior.
Although kickboxing can encourage children to become less fearful, no parent should rush her child into a kickboxing program if he is too afraid. Karate may serve as a great alternative to kickboxing for children under 8, since karate programs for young children usually do not require contact.