Keeping Your Young Athlete Safe from Dehydration
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It is important to ensure your child is well hydrated when they participate in sports year long, but during the hot, humid summer months in Georgia hydration needs to be highlighted!
Dehydration occurs when a body loses more water than it takes in. During sports play and practice, this happens through sweating. Higher heat and humidity means a young athlete’s body has to work harder to cool itself down. At the end of a workout, all the water that was lost needs to be replaced. If kids don’t drink enough water while playing sports, they could be at risk for dehydration, heat exhaustion, or heatstroke.
Aside from preventing injury, hydration is key in maximizing an athlete’s performance and improving their ability to recover
In order to protect your athlete from dehydration, they need to be drinking enough water before, during and after activity. Encourage your child to drink water 30 minutes before participating in a game or practice.
While playing sports, ensure your child has water available at all times! Pack water bottles for practices and games. Every 15-20 minutes during activity, they should take a break and drink 5-9oz of water.
- A young athlete needs 5oz or about 10 gulps of water
- A teen needs 9oz or about 20 gulps of water
After activity concludes, hydration should be aimed at replacing any fluids lost during play. If your athlete was active for longer than 60 minutes, a sports drink can help balance fluid and electrolyte levels!
Tips for Hydration
- Have your athlete consume fluids throughout the day, not just during sports
- Let your child pick out their own water bottle so they’ll use it
- Limit sports activities at midday when the temperature is hottest
- Fruits and veggies make for a great snack because are nutritious AND they have high water content
- Light yellow urine, about the color of lemonade, means a child is hydrated
- Encourage your child to not wait until they are thirsty to drink fluids
This post was prepared by Safe Kids Georgia Intern, Bridgette Fox.
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