In Australia, many of our most vigorous outdoor sports are played during the winter time, and this is mainly due to how dangerous physical activity in the heat (for anyone, not just kids) can be.
Exercising in temperatures above 27 degrees, high humidity or excessive radiation from the sun can be dangerous, and we’ve put together everything you need to know about how to keep your kids safe this summer when enjoying some physical activity.
Why do we need to be more cautious with kids?
When enjoying some physical activity, the average human body can produce 15 to 20 times more heat than resting! Humans have several fantastic mechanisms that our bodies will put into action to help manage our body temperature. Unfortunately, kid’s mechanisms like sweating, radiating and generally managing harsh changes in temperature have not fully developed. This means that their bodies have trouble keeping them cool as the heat begins to rise inside and outside their body.
How would I know if my kid isn’t handling the heat?
There are several key indicators to look out for, and not all may be present at the one time:
- Appearing confused, dizzy or having difficulty concentrating
- Skill levels decrease
- Skin appears flushed OR unusually pale, sometimes feeling cold
- Nausea, vomiting or cramps
- High heart rate
All of these can also be an indication of dehydration, heat sickness or sun stroke.
I’m noticing these symptoms, what should I do?
If this occurs, it is important to begin gently cooling them down. Have them in the shade, topping up on fluids, in a comfortable position. A cool shower can also be used, but not a cold shower or ice bath. A sudden drop in temperature can be just as harmful to a child. Opting for room temperature water is also better, as the body can absorb it quickly. “Electrolyte drinks” can also be somewhat helpful, but are not recommended in large quantities due to the excessive sugar and artificial colours they are often filled with. If symptoms are persisting or worsening, seek support and advice from a health professional.
How can I prevent this from happening?
There several ways to minimise the impact of the heat on kids, and ensure they enjoy their participation safely:
- Shorten playing times, and have multiple subs to reduce active time
- Have a cool shaded area for kids to sit in, keep them out the sun where possible
- Minimise the chance of dehydration by ensuring water is readily available
- Taking off shoes, socks and hats after activity in the shade can help them cool down
- Get active in the morning or evening, to avoid the hottest parts of the day
If you’d like more information about physical activity options in summer, or how to minimise the chances of sickness or injury then contact the practice today on (02) 4721 7798, or email email@example.com. Our highly experienced physiotherapists are always happy to assist. However, speak to your local doctor if you have any major concerns of this nature.