How Can I Keep My Child Safe in This Heat?
Exercising or playing in the summer in Florida can put your child at risk for heat
exhaustion, heat cramps, or even heat stroke.
Most kids are inside in the air conditioning most of the day and have not become used to the heat and humidity. As you become acclimated, you begin to sweat more quickly and the type of sweat your body makes changes.
In the few weeks before your sport or band practices begin, kids should be out practicing at about the same time of the day and in the same conditions they will be playing.
When it is hot and humid with little wind, the body has a much harder time cooling. On these days, more water breaks and rest periods are needed particularly early in the season before the athletes are conditioned. Also, children are at greater risk than adults and may not recognize the early signs of heat related illness.
Try a misting bottle or pour water over your head and back.
HYDRATE EARLY AND OFTEN
Dehydration begins even before the athlete feels thirsty. To prevent dehydration
drink 16 oz of water 1 hour before exercise and 4-6 oz every 15 min while
CHECK YOUR WEIGHT
To see if you are keeping up with amount of fluids you need, weigh yourself before and after practice. Replace every pound of weight lost with 16 02 of water.
For exercise that lasts longer than 1 hour switch over to sports drinks
such as Gatorade or PowerAde.
Heat exhaustion is due to not drinking enough fluids. Watch for: progressive
weakness, intense thirst, nausea, vomiting. Stress to young athletes to tell their
coach if these signs develop. Treat heat exhaustion by actively cooling the body.
Pour water on the body and direct fans onto the body to increase heat loss.
Heat cramps occur suddenly with brief, excruciating cramps in the muscles after
they have been subjected to extreme exercise. Cramps tend to occur after the
work is done, on relaxing, or on taking a cool shower. Typically, these athletes are
well conditioned, can produce sweat in large quantities and have had plenty of
water, but not enough salt replacement. Drinking sports beverages will help
prevent heat cramps.
Heat stroke is a life threatening emergency. The skin is hot and dry because the
body is not longer able to sweat. There is a sense of impending doom, confusion,
weakness, and loss of consciousness.
CHILDREN AT HIGHEST RISK FOR HEAT RELATED ILLNESS
Some children are particularly prone to problems from the heat and should be
given special attention at the start of the training season. They need rest periods
in the shade and more water breaks. Pay careful attention to early signs of illness.
- Children who are not accustomed to the heat
- Children who are exercising hard in high heat and humidity
- Children who are not physically fit
- Obese children as they cannot get rid of body heat very well
REMEMBER THAT CHILDREN ACCLIMATE SLOWLY AND THAT MOST
ADVERSE REACTIONS OCCUR DURING THE FIRST FEW DAYS OF THE