Tips for keeping kids hydrated

Children should drink plenty of water during summer activities.

Soccer, baseball, basketball, volleyball, and other sports are popular youth activities during the summertime. Staying hydrated during summer sports is very important. The best choice for hydration during these activities is water.

Sports drinks with electrolytes can be used in highly intense conditions when kids will need to keep going[A1] , such as in a soccer game. Other choices include diluted fruit juices or cold milk.

Energy drinks are not recommended for youth. Caffeine in high doses can lead to rapid heart beat and other symptoms such as headaches, upset stomach and disturbed sleep. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, caffeine-containing beverages, including soda, should be avoided for children.

If kids want a flavored beverage, try fruit “infused” water. They taste great and are virtually “calorie free and sugar free”. For example, slices of oranges, lemons, apples, etc. can be added to a pitcher of water. Chill in the refrigerator until cold, strain and pour into insulated water bottles. Keep the water bottles in a cooler on ice until ready to drink. Michigan State University Extension has a recipe for a mixed berry infused drink.

Fresh fruit is a great choice for an after sports snack. Try chunks of cold watermelon, sliced oranges, bananas, or fresh berries. Cut fruit should always be kept refrigerated or in a cooler on ice.

Keep water bottles clean. Wash with hot soapy water and rinse well and allow to dry. Do not share drink bottles with others to avoid spreading of germs.

If possible, keep drinks in a separate cooler away from other foods. Never use ice in beverages that has been used to keep foods such as raw meats cold. Keep your cooler clean to prevent molds and bacteria from having a place to multiply and possibly cause foodborne illness.

Keep youth hydrated during summertime sports with plenty of water to drink and have a safe fun summer.

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