There’s a reason why sunshine is associated with happiness. It makes people feel good, and kids love to run around on warm, sunny days.
And for youth sports, bright, sunny days are ideal for outdoor games like baseball, softball, rugby, lacrosse, football, and soccer. Anyone who has been disappointed by a game being canceled because of rain or a snow blizzard can tell you that.
Also, your child will reap the amazing medical benefits of being out in the sun as sunshine activates the production of vitamin D in the body. Vitamin D is vital for building strong teeth and bones. However, too much exposure to the sun can be a problem.
The sun’s rays can be harsh on certain days and cause sunburn. Heat and humidity can cause heat exhaustion which involves symptoms like weakness, dizziness, and nausea. And heatstroke can cause fainting.
It is crucial to keep our kids well protected from the sun on those hot and sunny game days. Here’s how:
The sun is harshest during the midday which is between 10 am to 3 pm.
The sunscreen you choose should provide adequate protection. On a regular play day, SPF 15 is usually enough. But since SPF refers to the length of time a person can remain in the sun before they start to burn, SPF 30 and up is best for young athletes because their games can last up to a little under an hour.
SPF 30 will suffice for children aged 4 and up and should be applied before the child goes out. It’s ideal that it would be reapplied every couple of hours.
Your child likely wears a uniform, and there’s not much you can do about that. So make sure that you apply sunscreen on all of your kid’s skin that is exposed to the sun’s rays.
You child will need to increase their fluid intake on hot days. Make sure they are drinking plenty of water. You may not be there to ensure that they do particularly if they are in the dug-out, sitting on the sidelines, or in the field. This is why it’s important to remind them pre-game how important it is to drink water before, during and after the game to stay hydrated.
Explain the effects of dehydration and how they can recognize the symptoms. Tell them how dehydration can affect their sports performance. For younger kids, explain that not drinking enough water will make them sick and they may lose out the chance to play more.
After the game, get them to the shade and make sure they drink plenty of water.