“If your children don’t like to drink a lot of water or other fluids that can help hydrate their body, then you may have cause for concern,” says David Barry, M.D., a specialist in Pediatrics at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic – Humble. “Excessive heat and humidity can pose special problems for student athletes, and children have a very high risk of dehydration and heat-related illness.”
According to Dr. Barry, heat injuries can generally be prevented by weighing your child’s environmental conditions and level of hydration. “You can give your children extra fluids before practice, especially on extremely hot and humid days,” the doctor notes.
Children should drink plenty of fluids before starting practice and continue to drink during practice. “According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a 90-pound child should get about 4 to 6 ounces of fluid every 15 minutes,” says Dr. Barry. “Weigh your children without clothes before and after exercise to help you determine how much fluid they need. Your children should weigh about the same before and after any activity.”
Dr. Barry notes that water is fine for rehydration, but flavored sports drinks can replace electrolytes that may help stimulate children to drink more.
Parents can work with their child’s coach, band director or drill team leader to adjust practice and to ensure frequent breaks for hydration and cooling down. “School officials typically limit activities in the heat of the day, with most activities held early in the morning or after 6 p.m. when the weather is not as hot,” adds Dr. Barry.