If you’re wondering what the answer to this question is chances are your son or daughter is a cheerleader. As a safety conscious parent your first job is to learn the language of cheerleading. After which you need to understand the cheer tricks or stunts followed by getting an understanding of a safe cheerleading environment. That environment includes where they will be both for practice and for performing.
Studies are pointing our attention to stunts and surfaces. A recent article does a pretty good job of giving a quick synopsis to the focus points.
Stunts include: cradles, elevators, extensions, pyramids, single-based stunts, single-leg stunts, stunt-cradle combinations, transitions and miscellaneous partner and group stunts.
Environmental factors seeming to increase the chances for serious injuries include “Nearly 90 percent of the most serious fall-related injuries occurred while cheerleaders were performing on grass, artificial turf, traditional foam floors or wood floors, the study authors noted.”
If your child is a cheerleader then get busy learning the language of cheerleading; do it for the sake of your daughter’s or son's life. Talk to them about cheerleading and what stunts they intend to do. Ask if they know the most dangerous stunts and why. Set limits on what you will allow them to do; and don't budge on this point. Them being mad or disappointed with you is better than the alternative.
See also the Creston, Iowa’s Greater Regional Medical Center story and Kid’s Health Source: "National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research – 25th Annual Report: Fall 1982-Spring of 2007," August 2008.
Parents' Corner: The first clip focuses on the main concerns which is then followed by two videos about basic safety. This is your primer to protect your child. You might even ask them to sit with you to watch and talk.