How to keep your children hydrated and cool this summer
Summer time is here that means school is out, the weather is warm, and more time is spent outside. Warmer temperatures and more outdoor activity can cause the body to lose more water than usual through sweating and other means.This is why it is important to learn about how to get and stay hydrated. Making sure one is properly hydrated can lessen the risks of dehydration and its side effects such as extreme thirst, dizziness, and confusion. While dehydration can affect any and everybody, in this article we will discuss how to keep children properly hydrated.
The first step is to have children drink plenty of fluids. Toddlers and young children between the ages of one to three, it is recommended they have about 32 ounces of fluids daily While cold sodas and sugary juices may seem more appealing in the hot temperatures, water is a better choice. Water helps to keep everything moving properly throughout the body and keeps body temperatures regulated. Age appropriate electrolyte drinks are also of great benefit to keep the body energized yet hydrated. If one wants to drink some juice, cutting it in half with water makes it hydrating and less sugary. In hot weather, drinking more than the recommended amounts helps as more water from the body is lost.
Another tip is to consume hydrating fruits and vegetables. Summer is a great time to consume fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are not only more available during the summer, they are also very nutritious and hydrating. Great summer fruits to enjoy are watermelon, other melons, grapes ,berries, plums and apricots. Vegetables that are hydrating are cucumber, celery, lettuce, tomato and cabbage. Serving these up as a snack and/or making them part of meals helps to keep the body hydrated while providing delicious nourishment at the same time. One can also make delicious home made popsicles with fruits for a special treat.
Cooling breaks during outside activity are also recommended. This helps to make sure that children don't overheat while joyfully playing outside. This can be done by taking a time out under a tree or other shaded area, or even coming indoors for a few moments. Cool off breaks should also be hydration breaks. Taking a few sips of water or sports drinks during a cooling break helps to keep children hydrated, and should be done at each break. Outside of any breaks, anytime a child feels hot or thirsty, they should take the time to cool down and/or hydrate.
Lastly, keep an eye on the weather. One should keep an eye on the weather to see if it is safe to be outside. When temperatures get extreme, one should either avoid outside activity, or only allow for very brief outside activity periods. The activity periods should not be intense and perhaps should include some type of water. For example running through a sprinkler to cool off yet get fresh air.
This should be done before the sun reaches its peak, whatever time that is in your particular time zone.
If it is just too hot, all activities should be kept indoors and fluid amounts should be increased as necessary.
The above tips are some of the ways children can be kept hydrated and cool in the summer months. Parents can also check with their child's pediatrician for more cooling and hydration tips.
- Dan Canfield