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Safety Tips for Playing Youth Sports in the Summer to Avoid Heat-Related Illness

Safety Tips for Playing Youth Sports in the Summer to Avoid Heat-Related Illness
July 20, 2021

SUMMER SAFETY TIPS FOR YOUTH SPORTS

In the summer, kids’ outdoor activities usually increase, including outdoor summer sports. Whether it is an organized sport or just a fun pick-up game, it is important to be aware of the warmer temperatures, and the heat’s effect on your child’s exercise. Overly hot days can increase the risk of your child suffering a heat-related illness. With proper awareness and education, the risk of your child getting a heat-related illness substantially decreases. 

Some heat-related illnesses include heat stroke, heat exhaustion, or extreme dehydration. These conditions display clear warning signs, such as dizziness, nausea, heavy sweating, fluctuating pulse rates, and muscle cramps. When your child shows symptoms, take the necessary measures to rest, rehydrate, and cool down their body temperature. With awareness by both parents and coaches, combined with education for children, heat-related illness in youth sports can be prevented. Both Spear Greenfield and the Philadelphia Youth Basketball care about child health and safety, so below are some important tips to prevent heat-related illness.

  • TAKE A PRE-GAME COLD SHOWER.

    By doing this before a game starts, your child will be refreshed and have a cooler body temperature prior to playing.

  • STAY HYDRATED.

    Water is an essential fluid when playing sports on a hot day. Make sure your child constantly drinks water, even if they’re not necessarily thirsty. If physical activity lasts more than 60 minutes, consider having your child drink a sports drink. According to Penn Medicine, sports drinks have potassium and electrolytes that can rehydrate and replenish your body. Staying hydrated also avoids muscle cramping, which is an early sign of heat-related illness.

  • WEAR LIGHT AND BRIGHT CLOTHING.

    Avoid wearing dark colors, because they absorb the sun, which increases heat. Clothing with light colors will reflect the sun, keeping your child cooler. Cotton is the best fabric choice, because it is light-weight and will help your child stay dry.

  • APPLY SUNSCREEN.

    Playing outdoors with the sun shining for long periods of time can lead to sunburn. It does not take long for a substantial sunburn to develop, which can be painful. Sunscreen will help protect your child against a burn. Penn Medicine recommends using a waterproof sunscreen with an SPF of at least 50.

  • LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.

    According to the CDC, pacing a child’s physical activity is important, so start activities slow and pick up the pace gradually. If a child begins to feel dizzy, nauseous, or tired, give them a break from physical activity. Taking some time off for rest is the best way to avoid heat-related sickness or injury. Being alert and aware during sporting events is important for parents, coaches, and children, ensuring tired children are given time to rest. 

The tips above will minimize the risk of any heat-related illnesses or injury. Ensure to educate your children about the importance of keeping cool and hydrated during summer sports. Also speak with their coaches about safety protocols during games and practices run in intense heat. With awareness and education, your children will have a fun and safe summer playing outdoor sports!

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