Drinking fluids is an important part of participating in any sport or recreational activity. Staying well hydrated reduces your risk of sustaining
a heat related injury and can increase physical performance levels.
Children at young ages are more susceptible to heat stress, so parents must be diligent in maintaining and replacing fluids. Exercise increases the
body’s need for fluid. This can be further affected by environmental conditions, time and intensity of exercise, heat acclimatisation and personal
sweat rates. During summer in WA, particular care should be taken to replace fluids. Cool water is the best choice for children to stay hydrated
during sport and physical activity.
For youth participating in prolonged high intensity activity, such as long distance running, there are benefits to using sports drinks containing carbohydrate
and salt (electrolytes) replacements. High calorie sports drinks however, are generally unnecessary for most children participating in routine
physical activity on the sports field or in the school yard. A high intake of sports drinks can result in an increased risk of weight gain, as
well as tooth decay and erosion. Energy drinks containing high amounts of caffeine should NOT be used by any young athlete, even those of elite
Heat related injury
Long periods of high intensity exercise can put the body at risk of heat injury. The risk of heat injury is heightened by hot and humid weather. Signs
and symptoms of heat injury can include: fatigue, feeling hot, thirst, nausea, headache, dizziness, light headedness, confusion, collapsing, pale,
clammy skin or dry skin and irritability.
If a child is suspected of heat injury, remove them from play and administer the following first aid:
1.Lie down in the shade and raise legs
2.Loosen tight clothing
3.Cool by fanning or sponging with water
4.Apply cool or ice packs to neck, groin and armpits
5.Give cool water to drink if fully conscious
6.If the person does not recover quickly seek medical assistance.
For more information visit www.kidsafewa.com.au/sport-safety-play.