Children are much more prone to dehydration than adults because their bodies don’t cool down as efficiently. Taking a few simple precautions will protect your child and allow them to enjoy the fun safely.
It takes more than a full day to hydrate, so since we have clinics on Saturdays – make sure they’re getting enough fluids on Friday. That means lots of fruits, vegetables and healthy protein, and of course, six to eight glasses of water.
On clinic day, start out with a healthy breakfast. Some ideas are cereal and fruit or oatmeal and fruit. Just remember, don’t give your child too much fiber. While fiber does have water in it, it breaks down slowly and can cause bloating. Also make sure to have a low-fat protein such as eggs or turkey sausage. A glass of milk will be fine, but water or juice is much better for clinic days. They are easier on the stomach. Too much juice can cause bloating and cramping, so if your child wants more than one glass of juice-dilute it with water.
Additionally, The American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking the equivalent of a standard bottle of water (16.9 oz.) about 2 hours before vigorous exercise.
Did you know there are two types of fluid loss?
One type of fluid loss is “sensible” fluid loss. That is losing fluids through sweat and urine. A second type of fluid loss is “insensible” fluid loss, which is losing fluids through breathing. The water gets broken down into CO2, and you breathe it out, so during exercise your lungs blow out a lot of fluid you don’t see. Parents will say their kids aren’t sweating a lot and they haven’t had to use the bathroom, so they aren’t losing any fluids. Not true. They are actually losing a tremendous amount of fluids.
It is recommended that kids stop for a hydration break every 15 – 20 minutes. We have instituted mandatory water breaks and the kids I think are doing a good job of keeping on top of the water situation. But please remind them to drink water even if they do not feel thirsty.
After we have clinic, we offer the kids a sports drink (Gatorade). Studies have shown that after 60 – 90 minutes of activity the body has probably used up its readily available sources of energy and many benefit from a fluid that contains carbohydrates.
At anytime during a clinic, if a parent is concerned that their child is becoming dehydrated, they should contact a volunteer, staff, or coach and as that their child be moved to the shade and get some fluids.