Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
By: Don C. Keenan
In the summer heat, parents must make sure their kids are safe during sporting activities.
Children's bodies do not regulate heat as efficiently as adults do. Also, children are not as coordinated as adults and have a slower reaction time, making sports more dangerous for them.
Consider that nearly 40 percent of all sports-related injuries treated in emergency rooms involve children ages 5 to 14 years old.
When the heat is on, so to speak, here are some important safety tips that parents, caregivers, coaches, camp instructors, etc., need to keep in mind while overseeing sports:
1. Make sure first aid is available: This rule rings true during both practices and games. In the summer, first aid must include cold water and ice. In the event of a heat stroke, there is only a 20 minute window during which you can cool the affected person's body before permanent damage begins to set in.
2. All coaches should be CPR certified: A study conducted by the National SAFE KIDS Campaign found that 41 percent of children's coaches are not certified. This important course should be required for your child's coach; inquire before the sport starts as to whether they - or at least one adult overseeing practices and games - is certified.
3. Make sure your child is properly hydrated before, during and after the game: Two-thirds of children arrive at sports practices already significantly dehydrated, according to the American College of Sports Management. Each year, an average of 300 people die from heat-related illnesses and dehydration can increase the risk of heat illness. Dan Marino, the spokesman for "Defeat the Heat," a campaign against dehydration, advises everyone to follow his ABC's of hydration:
Always drink before during and after activity.
Bring the right fluids (for any activity longer than an hour, sports drinks are best.
Consider fluids part of essential safety equipment for sports.
4. Make sure the coaches know any health conditions your child has, and any medications your child is currently taking (or is allergic to): This is important because some medications can drastically impact a child's hydration levels, or in the event of a medical emergency, the coach should be aware of any important health factors that could affect your child.
Don Keenan is the founder of the Keenan's Kids Foundation and author of the nationally acclaimed kid's safety book, 365 Ways to Keep Kids Safe, available at www.balloonpress.com or www.myspace.com/365waystokeepkidssafe. All book proceeds benefit the Keenan's Kids Foundation, www.keenanskidsfoundation.com.