It is that time of year again, summer! Kids are out of school and are heading off to camps, vacations, and summer sports. It is a great time to be outside for all types of activities. Here are a few tips for keeping your young athletes safe while they are out enjoying the summer sun:
With temperatures rising, it is important for your young athletes to stay hydrated when they are participating in sports activities. Water is probably the best fluid if your kids are willing to drink it. Sports drinks are best when activities are intense or are going over an hour. Hydration needs to occur before, during, and after activities and kids should be allowed adequate water breaks during practices and games. Even though kids may think it is gross, urine color is the best judge of hydration status. Pale yellow urine means great hydration!
Don’t forget to apply sunscreen as your kids head out on to the field or to the pool this summer. Sunscreen needs to have broad coverage for both UVA and UVB rays with an SPF of at least 30. It takes about an ounce (enough to fill a shot glass) of sunscreen to provide adequate coverage. Sunscreen should be applied 15 min before and reapplied at least every 2 hours. It should be applied sooner if your child is swimming or sweating excessively.
If your child can wear sunglasses while doing outdoor summer activities, have them do so. The skin around the eyes is thin and sensitive and sun exposure over time can lead to skin cancers.
If your child is riding anything with wheels (bikes or scooters), they need to be wearing a helmet. Helmets should be properly fitted so it doesn’t feel loose or tip back exposing the forehead. Riding a short distance doesn’t mean you don’t have to wear a helmet!
Even if your child doesn’t do a sport over the summer, they should continue some type of conditioning program if they plan to participate in the fall. Endurance and strength will decrease if your child remains inactive over the summer. They should continue running and doing other activities so they don’t dramatically increase activity once fall sports roll around.
Don’t spend all summer in the air conditioning! If your athlete is planning on playing a fall sport they need to get outside and get used to the hot weather. Athletes do much better if they gradually increase activity in the heat. It makes them less likely to get heat illness.
Summer is a time for sun and fun but a little bit of extra planning can help keep young athletes safe and make their transition back to sports in the fall much easier and injury free.