Yes, its summer time, the most awaited season for kids as they enjoy long summer holidays. These days even toddlers of my Lo’s age do join summer camp dancing, sensory play, ball games and the grown up kids undertake training for swimming, tennis, football and the list is endless. With the increasing pace of summer activities at every nook and corner of city, it’s our responsibility to make sure that our kids are well hydrated in scorching heat.
Each child irrespective to the amount of activities or care taken by parents are at high risk for dehydration and heat illness when exposed to sun, high temperatures and humidity. So before you send your kiddo to go out to play, follow these tips and guidelines to have happy and healthy summer holidays.
Know the Signs of Dehydration
The very first sign of dehydration include thirst, dry lips and tongue. And if the your kid is more dehydrated then he’ll often feel fatigue, lack of energy, feeling restless and sweat more than normal.
Tip to treat Dehydration
The main root cause of ‘Dehydration’ in kids is that they will not demand ‘water’ or liquids’ as and when they feel thirsty. It’s up to us as a parent or caretaker to keep their liquids fueled up every 2 hrs. Below are few tips to keep them hydrated;
1) To hydrate them does not mean to make them drink just water, you may include lemonades, juicy fruits likes watemelon/muskmelon, grapes. You can also prepare fruit barbeque, slush, fruit smoothies and milkshakes.
2) You may also include curd and jaggery in their diet. You can also make flavoured curds at home or even traditional sweets like mishti doi /shrikhand.
3) Tender coconut water works wonders with kids during sunny days. Ensure that they drink at least one glass of coconut water in a day.
4) In summer most of the time spent outdoors, playing in the heat which builds up their bodies to handle the heat. Allow for regular breaks and encourage them to drink plenty of fluids.
5) Make sure your child drinks plenty of cool, plain water or sports drinks to stay completely hydrated. Regular breaks to drink fluids should be scheduled, even if your child is not thirsty.
6) You may also include fruit ice-creams, ice Popsicles and fruit slushes
The issue with dehydration amongst kids is that kids wait to drink until they feel ‘REALLY’ thirsty. And by the time they realize dehydration has already started. Unfortunately, the thirst mechanism does not kick-in until a child has already lost about 2% of her body weight through sweat. If left untreated, dehydration can become worse and bring on heat exhaustion (dizziness, nausea, vomiting, headaches, weakness, and muscle pain), which can lead to life threatening heat stroke (nausea, body temperature of 104 degrees or higher, loose motions, vomiting, lack of sweating, shortness of breath, unconsciousness).
How to Treat Dehydration in kids:
1) Getting your child out of the sun and to a cool place is the first line of defense if heat exhaustion occurs.
2) Your child should take off excess clothing and bulky equipment, and drink plenty of chilled water.
3) Apply cool, wet towels / ice cold packs to the skin or have your child sit in a cool shower.
4) Also note that ‘Heat stroke’ is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical attention. So meanwhile please call family doctor or pediatrician.
Prevention is the Key!
A little prevention taken daily goes a long way for happy and healthy summer-time. Below are tips to prevent heat stroke in kids;
1) Keep them Hydrated
2) Regular fruit juice and soft drinks do NOT rehydrate the body because they don’t contain the right amounts of sugar and electrolytes.
3) Sports drinks can be used to keep your child hydrated. In fact, children will often drink more because of the taste. Please note that not all sport drinks are good for kids. Do not be fooled by fancy packaging and wording. Check the label and select a sports drink accordingly, there are lot many brands available in market for children friendly drinks, you can pick one from that too. As per food and nutrition guidelines 8 ounces of a sports drink should contain at least 100 milligrams of sodium and at least 28 milligrams of potassium. And of course, it should also be non-carbonated.
4) Use kids safe sunscreen lotions to prevent sunburns.
Have a happy and healthy holidays!!!