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Keeping Kids Hydrated at Summer Camp



Aug 2, 2005, 9:36 AM

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Keeping Kids Hydrated at Summer Camp Can't Post

As kids at summer camp spend their days running and jumping, they often don’t notice excessive sweating. Many do not register feelings of thirst until it is too late - by the time thirst hits, the body is already dehydrated. Dehydration is a serious but preventable condition that afflicts thousands of active children across the United States every summer.

Being lazy about water intake may seem like a minor transgression. But dehydration can cause muscle cramps, exhaustion, fatigue, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting and even death. So how can camp directors ensure that busy campers get the necessary fluid intake, especially on particularly active days?

The American Medical Athletic Association recommends that children consume 4-8 oz. of fluid before physical activity, 5-9 oz. every 20 minutes during activity, and an additional 24 oz. within two hours after activity. Here are some ideas on how to introduce “re-hydration” into your campers’ daily routines:

  • Group “water breaks” before, during and after physical activities are a necessity. Make them a daily occurrence.
  • Serve water, low-fat milk or a 50/50 combination of water and juice with every meal to ensure a steady flow of hydration throughout the day.
  • Have water coolers or water bottles readily available and accessible to campers at all times.
  • Vegetables such as lettuce, celery and cucumbers contain lots of water, as do fruits such as grapes, cantaloupe and grapefruit.
  • Serve watermelon slices or orange segments after physical activity as a refreshing, delicious way to replenish lost fluids. The occasional Popsicle or ice pop is also a favorite among kids.
  • Avoid serving children sugary, carbonated or caffeinated beverages, as they only serve to further dehydrate active bodies.

This may seem like a difficult task, but one needn’t force-feed children 3 gallons of water to ensure their hydration. A little variety and a spirit of fun can go a long way in keeping campers safe and healthy throughout an active camp season.

Shaby Ranganathan is the Director of Communications for

(This post was edited by shaby on Aug 2, 2005, 11:01 AM)


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