Heat Stress in Exercising Children
The intensity of activities that last 15 minutes or more should be reduced whenever high heat and humidity reach critical levels.
At the beginning of a strenuous exercise program or after traveling to a warmer climate, the intensity and duration of exercise should be limited initially and then gradually increased during a period of 10 to 14 days to accomplish acclimatization to the heat.
Before prolonged physical activity, the child should be well-hydrated. During the activity, periodic drinking should be enforced, for example, each 20 minutes, 5 oz. of cold tap water or a flavored sports drink for a child weighing 90 lbs., and 9 oz. for an adolescent weighing 130 lbs., even if the child does not feel thirsty.
Clothing should be light-colored and lightweight and limited to one layer of absorbent material to facilitate evaporation of sweat. Sweat-saturated shirts should be replaced by dry clothing.
Practices and games played in the heat should be shortened and more frequent water/hydration breaks should be instituted.
Don’t use scented soaps, perfumes or hair sprays on your child.
Avoid areas where insects nest or congregate, such as stagnant pools of water, uncovered foods and gardens where flowers are in bloom.
Avoid dressing your child in clothing with bright colors or flowery prints.
To remove a visible stinger from skin, gently back it out by scraping it off horizontally with a credit card or your fingernail.
Combination sunscreen/insect repellent products should be avoided because sunscreen needs to be reapplied every two hours, but the insect repellent should not be reapplied.
Use insect repellents containing DEET when need to prevent insect related diseases such as ticks which can transmit Lyme Disease, and mosquitoes which can transmit West Nile Virus and other viruses.
The current CDC and AAP recommendation for children over 2 months of age is to use 10- 30 percent DEET. DEET should not be used on children under 2 months of age.
The effectiveness is similar for 10-30% DEET but the duration of effect varies. Ten percent DEET provides protection for about 2 hours – 30% for about 5 hours – choose the lowest concentration that will provide required length of coverage.
The concentration of DEET varies significantly from product to product, so read the label of any product you purchase. Children should wash off repellents when back indoors.
As an alternative to DEET, Picaridin has become available in the U.S. in concentrations of 5-10%.
For more information on DEET: www.aapnews.org/cgi/content/full/e200399v1
The playground should have safety-tested mats or loose-fill materials (shredded rubber, sand, wood chips, or bark) maintained to a depth of at least 9 inches. The protective surface should be installed at least 6 feet (more for swings and slides) in all directions from the equipment.
Equipment should be carefully maintained. Open “s” hooks or protruding bolt ends can be hazardous.
Swing seats should be made of soft materials such as rubber, plastic or canvas.
Make sure children cannot reach any moving parts that might pinch or trap any body part.
Never attach—or allow children to attach—ropes, jump ropes, leashes, or similar items to play equipment; children can strangle on these.
Make sure metal slides are cool to prevent children’s legs from getting burned.
Do not allow children to play barefoot on the playground.
Parents should never purchase a home trampoline or allow children to use home trampolines.
Parents should supervise children on play equipment to make sure they are safe