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Proper Hydration

Good nutrition is important for children. Sometimes, the most important nutrient that children need is water, especially when they're physically active. When children are physically active, their muscles generate heat, thereby increasing their body temperature. As their body temperature rises, their cooling mechanism--sweat--kicks in. When sweat evaporates, the body is cooled. Unfortunately, children get hotter than adults do during physical activity, and their bodies' cooling systems are not as efficient as adults'. If fluids aren't replaced, children can become overheated.

We usually think about dehydration in the Summer months when temperatures shorten the time it takes for children to become overheated.  But keeping children well hydrated is just as important in Winter months. Additional clothing worn in the cooler weather makes it difficult for sweat to evaporate, so the body does not cool as quickly. It does not matter if it's January or July: thirst is not an indicator that fluids are needed.

Therefore, children must be encouraged to drink fluids even when they don't feel thirsty.

Managers and Coaches should schedule drink breaks every 15 to 30 minutes during practice on hot days and should encourage players to drink between innings.

During any activity, water is an excellent fluid to keep the body well hydrated.It's economical too! Offering flavored fluids like sports drinks or fruit juices can help encourage children to drink. Sports drinks should contain between 6 and 8 percent carbohydrates (15 to 18 grams of carbohydrates per cup) or less. If the carbohydrate levels are higher, the sports drink should be diluted with water. Fruit juices should also be diluted (1 cup juice to 1 cup water). Beverages high in carbohydrates, like undiluted fruit juice, may cause stomach cramps, nausea, and diarrhea when the child becomes active.

Caffeinated beverages (tea, coffer, and sodas) should be avoided because they are diuretics and can dehydrate the body further. Avoid carbonated drinks, which can cause gastrointestinal distress and may decrease fluid volume.

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