7 Tips to Prevent Dehydration in Children
Know the weather conditions, and plan accordingly. Know the heat index: It's the combination of high air temperatures and humidity that's most dangerous. Exercising in a relative humidity of 35% and an air temperature of 95°F may cause heat illness. Even dry climates can have high humidity if the sprinkler systems run before early morning practices. Avoid practice sessions during the hottest time of the day. Schedule the hardest workouts for early morning or late afternoon/evening.
Make your athletes wear proper clothing. Lightweight, light-colored clothing is best. Ventilated shorts and t-shirts let heat dissipate. For sports that use heavy equipment and pads, let young athletes practice in lighter clothes for a week to acclimate their bodies. Then put on the bulky gear.
Watch them closely. Watch your athletes before, during, and after practice for any signs of dehydration or other problems. Pay special attention to athletes who eagerly compete at or above their capabilities.
If a child looks sick, take him or her off the field. Monitor the child closely while the child rests and drinks fluid. Remember that even though kids with moderate heat injuries may look fine 15 minutes after giving them something to drink and allowing them to cool down, they are still dehydrated. Have them take the day off, and keep an eye on them when they go back to practice the next day.
Have an emergency plan. Train all support staff in first aid. Make sure each staff member knows what to do during an emergency.