Summers are filled with various sports for our children. They can choose to play soccer, baseball, softball, and in late summer, football. There is a challenge, during this time of the year, to ensure the safety of children playing sports by keeping them cool. One of the greatest dangers for children during these activities is becoming overheated and collapsing. What can be done to ensure children do not suffer from this heat stroke? Let’s consider some of the most important things that parents can do to protect their children.
1. Keep them hydrated. Children do not have the drive to make sure that they are getting enough fluids while they are playing sports. Therefore, parents and coaches must be responsible for making sure that plenty of fluids are provided, and that the kids are actually drinking the fluids. Teams or parents should provide water bottles for each child participating so that they can ensure the children have enough to keep them hydrated. Another good option is Gatorade, which will replenish more than just water. Such a sports drink will replenish the electrolytes that are necessary to make sure that muscles continue to work as they need to without cramping.
2. Keep them covered with a light fabric in a light color. Children are, of course, smaller than adults. Children tend have their body temperature raise at a higher rate than adults under similar conditions. Therefore, it is important to pay close attention to the children, and not simply judge their condition based on how the adults feel. One way to make sure they are kept cooler is to have them dressed in lighter colored uniforms. Light colors reflect more sunlight, and therefore deflect much of the heat. Lighter weight fabrics can also be very helpful in keeping children cool. In times past, most uniforms, even for summer sports, were made from heavy weight fabrics such as wool. However, today there are many alternatives for a lighter weight fabric, which will also facilitate perspiration being carried away from the skin and the fabric itself.
3. Apply sunscreen. Any time kids are out in the sun, they need to have all exposed skin covered with sunscreen. This will keep them from getting sun burned, which will cause them to both overheat and dehydrate. Keeping them from this first stage of damage will certainly make the battle easier as the day progresses.
4. Provide cool, wet towels. Children that are not participating in the field of play can be cooled off by wet towels. This is an inexpensive way to ensure that the kids are not getting overheated. Each child that comes from the field of play can wipe their faces, and necks with these cool towels to lower their temperatures. Pouring water over the head can also help with this procedure.
5. Proper snacks. Most kids are given some kind of snack either after the game, or between matches. The proper snacks can help to keep kids cool. Fruit that is kept cool before serving can serve the purpose of both cooling the kids off, and re-hydrating them after playing the game. Watermelon, cantaloupe, and other melons are a great choice. Grapes and apples are also good options for fulfilling these requirements.
Summer is a dangerous time of year for children. We as parents need to make sure that they are cared for. They can collapse in a moment from heat stroke, if we are not observant. Parents must provide what is needed to ensure the safety of their own children. Make sure that coaches and assistants are giving the young athletes under their care all that is necessary to keep them cool and functioning healthily.