Children love the outdoors. When they’re outside, they have more space to play, run around, ride their bikes, and play any games they can think of. While some children love the thought of playing under the rain, some love it even more when the weather is warm and the sun is up. The ground is less muddy and they won’t have to worry about their feet or shoes getting wet. However, one thing parents should be wary about regarding their kids playing outdoors is dehydration.
It’s the children that are more susceptible to dehydration because they’re the ones who love to be exposed outdoors more often. Moreover, just like adults, children’s bodies can’t adjust to hot temperatures quickly. During physical activity, their bodies produce more heat but less sweat. Thus, their bodies can’t get rid of heat properly, leading to dehydration.
Is Your Child Drinking Enough Fluids?
While kids prefer to play outdoors under the sun, they aren’t fond of drinking enough fluids, specifically water. They’re busy playing and having fun at the moment. Some parents have a hard time convincing their kids to pause at their play and have a break to replenish their lost fluids or change their clothes. This instance can put kids more at risk to dehydration and other severe health issues caused by heat.
Thus, it’s crucial for parents to always supervise their children, especially during their playtime outdoors. This way, you can monitor your child to see if they’re sweating a lot. Then you can have their water bottles readily available when needed.
Additionally, suppose your kid has a habit of drinking only a small amount of water every time they replenish. In that case, you can prepare child-friendly energy drinks. Or you can visit dripdrop.com and get an oral rehydration solution which you can mix in your kid’s drink and assist their body’s rehydration faster.
As a guide, here are five tips to keep your children from experiencing dehydration, especially during their playtime.
- Know Your Child’s Physical Condition First
Not all children have the same physical constitution. Some kids can tolerate heat longer, while some can’t handle the heat of the sun for more than five minutes. This happens mostly to kids who aren’t used to doing physical activities outdoors or aren’t physically fit to engage in intense games that require strength and endurance. For instance, it’s best for children who are overweight to start at a slow pace instead of letting them play directly under the sun.
When dehydration is 3% greater than your child’s body weight, it can put your child at risk of severe heat-related illness like heat stroke. So, in starting them slowly, you can bring your child to a few minutes of walking under the sun during the early morning hours when the heat is safe and manageable. Soon, as your child gets accustomed to the heat, you can let them play in the cool afternoon hours but make sure you still supervise them and observe how much heat their bodies can handle.
- Let Them Adapt To Heat
Did you know that letting your child adapt to heat can actually help prevent dehydration? When your child’s body is starting to do well under the sun’s heat, the more their body will sweat and their blood volume increases. Then you can coax your kids to drink more liquids.
When introducing your child to heat, you can start by letting them play under the sun for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Then, as days and weeks progress, you can lengthen their exposure from 30 minutes to an hour. However, make sure you still supervise your kids so you can observe how long they can endure the heat and how much heat they can tolerate.
- Prepare Them Plenty Of Water
Some of you may think that the best time to rehydrate your kids is after their outdoor playtime. However, it’s recommended that you hydrate them even before they go outdoors under the sun. This ensures that your child’s body is well-replenished with fluids and makes sure they don’t feel any thirst even after 20 minutes of running around under the sun.
To do this, prepare your kids with plenty of water so they can directly drink it whenever they need it. If your kids are playing outdoors away from home, make sure you have at least two to three water bottles in hand.
Additionally, don’t forget to call your kids for a few minutes of break time from their games so you can let them replenish with water. If your child is a young athlete and is participating in a sport that requires to be played under the sun (e.g., soccer, baseball, badminton, and others), you can prepare them sports drinks as these fit better for heavier and more intense physical activities. Lastly, make sure you let your kids drink plenty of water after their outdoor activities.
- Be Mindful Of The Weather Conditions
Aside from preparing your child’s water bottles, it’s also recommended as a parent that you’re aware and mindful of the everyday weather conditions. Even as simple as knowing today’s air temperature can help you decide whether you can let your child play outdoors or not. Keep in mind that some days are hotter than others, and hotter temperatures may mean a harsher and more dangerous situation for your child’s skin and overall health.
Knowing the heat index can also help you figure out which time is the hottest hour of the day. In this way, you can schedule your child’s outdoor playtime in the cooler and safer hours and prevent them from experiencing dehydration.
- Let Them Wear Proper Clothing
Your child’s clothing during playtime can affect their health. Avoid making your kids wear thick clothing as this will only accumulate more heat in their bodies, dehydrating them faster. The best clothing during playtime is lightweight, ventilated, and light-colored clothing. You can go for shorts or lightweight t-shirts as these will let their bodies breathe.
Moreover, don’t forget the sunscreen as it’s part of your kid’s safety under the sun. Once their playtime is over, make sure you quickly change their sweaty clothes with dry ones to prevent sweat from drying up on their skin and cause sickness.
The Bottom Line
Dehydration may sound like a common phenomenon in the human body. However, it’s not something that can be taken lightly, especially with children. When overlooked, dehydration can worsen throughout the day and can lead to more severe health symptoms like fatigue, dizziness, nausea, dry lips and tongue, and more. So, make sure you keep these tips in mind to prevent your kids from getting dehydrated while they’re having their enjoyable moments outdoors.