Nutrition Articles

Help Your Kids Beat the Summer Heat

Prevent Dehydration and Heat Illness

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Prevention is the Key!
The good thing is that heat illnesses aren’t inevitable. A little prevention goes a long way:
  • Get Acclimated The first line of defense against dehydration in children is slowly getting them acclimated to the summer heat and humidity. Spending time outdoors, playing in the heat, riding bikes, running, jogging, playing ball, and doing yard work will build up their bodies to handle the heat. Allow for regular breaks and encourage them to drink plenty of fluids.
  • Drink Make sure your child drinks plenty of cool, plain water or sports drinks to stay completely hydrated. Regular breaks to drink fluids should be scheduled, even if your child is not thirsty. Regular fruit juice and soft drinks do NOT re-hydrate the body because they don't contain the right amounts of sugar and electrolytes.
  • What About Sports Drinks? Sports drinks can be used to keep your child hydrated. In fact, children will often drink more because of the taste. However NOT ALL SPORTS DRINKS ARE CREATED EQUAL. Do not be fooled by fancy packaging and wording. Check the label and select a sports drink that meets these guidelines for active children:
    • Eight ounces of a sports drink should contain at least 100 milligrams of sodium and at least 28 milligrams of potassium. It should also be non-carbonated.
How hot is too hot? 
A growing number of athletic programs are developing guidelines to determine when it is too hot to practice. In fact, many are restricting outdoor practice based on the heat index and temperature. Click here for the National Athletic Trainers’ Association’s (NATA) guide for parents and coaches.
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About The Author

Becky Hand Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. A certified health coach through the Cooper Institute with a master's degree in health education, she makes nutrition principles practical, easy-to-apply and fun. See all of Becky's articles.

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