Summer is fast approaching and warm weather is just around the corner.  In fact we experienced some spring heat this past weekend.  As the weather gets hotter keeping our kids hydrated becomes a top priority.  When playing outside or in sporting events children acclimate to the heat but not as quickly as adults do.  Children also have a greater ratio of body surface area to mass, meaning that they have more skin surface area from which to gain or lose heat for each pound of body weight.  This is good except when it is hot and the outside temperature exceeds the skins temperature.   So in turn kids gain more heat from the outside temperature and are unable to get rid of it as quickly.  This is due to the fact that children have a lower rate of sweat loss than adults.   So what can you do as a parent to keep your kids safe this summer in heat?

  1. Expose your kids to the heat slowly.  The more days they spend outside playing in the heat the more their body will acclimate to it.  Increase the amount of time they spend playing in the heat each day and they will soon adjust.
  2. Make sure to keep your kids properly hydrated.  Water is always best.  Excessive amounts of juice and sports drinks only add unwanted calories and sugar.  Sports drinks however are very useful if your child is playing in a sporting event in a hot environment and a lot of running is involved.  If your child does like plain water, flavor with fresh fruit slices or make fruit ice cubes to place in the water.
  3. Proper hydration can be met in a variety of ways.  Think beyond water.  Below is a list of foods that you can include in your child’s diet throughout the day to make sure he/she is staying properly hydrated.

           20 Top Foods to keep you hydrated (greatest to least hydrating)


2.Iceberg Lettuce
3.Sweet Peppers
6.Canned mushrooms
8.Honeydew melon
15.Pasta Sauce
17.Cooked Cream of wheat
18.Canned plums
19.Mandarin oranges
20.Cottage Cheese

  1. Studies show that kids will drink more when the beverage is cold.  So be prepared and have ready to drink sippy cupsor bottles filled with water that are easily accessible to your child. Put them in an easy to reach place in the refrigerator or carry a small cooler in your car during the summer months.

Play it safe this summer and keeps your kids cool and hydrated.

Katie Valdes MS RD CSSD

Images from Flickr Creative Commons: Water Fountain Drink, Hot Summer,  Kids Playing, Drink of Water

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