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Whether your child is shooting a three to win the game, going for a touchdown against a rival team or hitting that grand slam, you don’t want them to be down for the count due to an injury or dehydration. Norton Children’s Prevention & Wellness offers sports safety information for children and families to help make sure kids have a winning shot at doing their best.
When a child’s active body loses more water than it is taking in, it can be at risk for dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion or even heatstroke. Even mild dehydration can affect how your child performs and can make them feel lethargic or irritable.
What can you do to prevent your child from getting overheated? Encourage them not to wait to drink water until they are thirsty. Encourage your athlete to drink plenty of water at least 30 minutes before their activity begins, and every 15 to 20 minutes during activity.
When your body is thirsty, it’s already low on fluids. Grab your water bottle and fill it up, the keep filling it up as needed so your body is ready to respond. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends:
Dehydration can start out mild in the form of heat cramps in the muscles. As dehydration progresses, the symptoms can become worse and life-threatening. Signs of dehydration:
Heatstroke happens when the body overheats, usually as a result of playing sports or exerting the body in high outdoor temperatures, such as during the summer months. The most severe form of heatstroke occurs when body temperature rises to 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Signs of heatstroke may include:
Call 911 immediately if you think the athlete is having a heatstroke, and make every effort to cool the athlete right away:
You can’t see a concussion, and sometimes the blow to the head doesn’t appear to be a significant one. Signs and symptoms of concussion can show up right after the impact or it may be days or weeks after the impact occurred. It is important to know steps a child can take to prevent a concussion from occurring and how to spot concussion in kids.
Concussion signs in athletes: