As the weather warms up and the weeks pass, your kids might be counting down the days until summer vacation with jittery anticipation.
Like other seasons, summer especially can require extra accommodations when leaving the house – sunscreen, hats to protect faces and heads – but one of the most important is carrying water in order to stay hydrated.
Kids’ bodies have a higher metabolism and do not cool off as efficiently as adults do. Not only that, children are typically caught up in activities or playing to even realize they’re thirsty until they’re already significantly dehydrated. This is why it’s important to get them in the habit of drinking fluids consistently.
Studies show that proper hydration can even begin with a morning meal or the night before if you are anticipating a hectic day ahead. A large glass of water with dinner or breakfast can be effective, but it’s also a commonality that kids prefer sweet and flavoured beverages over water, and drink up to 90 percent more when it is offered to them. If this seems to be the case with your child, stick with Gatorade and other drinks high in electrolytes – juices or soda can actually lead to a faster dehydration.
Infants, children, and pets can be the most susceptible to heat stroke, a condition where the body temperature rises to a dangerous level and can cause death or lasting damage if not treated. Here are the symptoms to keep an eye out for:
If your child exudes one or more of these obvious symptoms, seek shade or an air-conditioned room immediately. Once they are out of the sun and begin to rehydrate, contact a medical professional right away and they will probably require you to take your child to a nearby clinic or urgent care to be examined.
Severe hypothermia (heat-related illness), can be defined as a body temperature at 104 (40 celsius) or higher, which can be lethal. Less critical issues can be similar conditions like heat exhaustion or heat cramps; and while these are not considered a medical emergency, they can spiral into sun stroke if not treated.
Remember, all of this can be avoided if the proper precautions are taken. The AAP suggests 5 ounces of water every twenty minutes (just a couple sips) for an 88 pound child and 9 ounces for kids and teenagers up to 123 pounds. If this seems like a lot of water breaks, try offering a popsicle to your kid instead. Diet can also play a factor – fruits and vegetables are loaded with not only vitamins and minerals, but contain water as well. Eating foods high in water content can reduce the need for frequent (five times an hour) water breaks, although this does not mean drinking water throughout the day should cease being a habit!