Depending where you are, spring might just be in full swing – or you may have already had your first sweltering day of the summer season.
Before it’s hot everywhere, we wanted to share some thoughts for helping kids to brave the heat. In many places, temperatures can be quite warm – which can pose some challenges for kids engaging in sports and other outdoor activities.
Here’s a very informative piece
from WebMD about keeping kids safe in hot weather. As it explains, children aren’t able as adults to adjust to heat. Since they produce more heat during activity and sweat less than adults, dehydration is a real risk for them. That risk is even higher when kids are having a great time, because they have a harder time than adults realizing when they need to rest for a bit and replenish fluids.
Here are some important guidelines for ensuring that kids stay healthy while they enjoy the outdoors this summer.
- Smart scheduling. Try to arrange activities in the cooler hours of the day – particularly for kids who aren’t as accustomed to exercise.
- Taper up. Let kids’ bodies get used to the heat by gradually allowing them to be outside and active for longer amounts of time.
- Hydrate. Provide plenty of water or sports drinks – being mindful that the latter are pretty high in sugar, so should be limited to times of exercise. Encourage them to drink a few sips even if they aren’t thirsty.
- Build in breaks. Get kids used to the idea of regular breaks for rest and hydration – every 20 minutes or so.
- Plan for the weather. The heat index is a great way to know when temperatures get dangerous. Exercising in temperatures above 95 degrees when the humidity is above 35 percent can be dangerous for kids and for adults.
- Dress cool. Go for lightweight, light-colored clothes. For sports where gear is required, add gear gradually, to give young athletes time to adjust.
- Watch closely. Be alert for kids who look sick, and remove them from activity. Provide rest and drinks. And if they are still dehydrated, give them a day off from outdoor activity.