Ginninderra Little Athletics Club does not have its own Policy on Hot Weather. Instead we follow the advice of LANSW on their website.
Young children are especially at risk in hot weather. Prior to puberty, a child’s sweating mechanism, which is essential for effective cooling of the body, is poorly developed. Also, a child’s ratio between weight and surface area is such that the body absorbs heat rapidly. Sensible measures, as outlined in these guidelines, need to be taken to protect Little Athletes from over-exertion in hot weather.
A heat illness in sport may present itself in a variety of forms including heat exhaustion and the more severe heat stroke.
Some common signs of heat illness that may be seen in Little Athletes are listed below in order of increasing seriousness/severity:
- Dizziness (light headedness).
- Complaining of being hot and appearing distressed.
- Appearing exhausted or weak (fatigued); needing help to stand.
- Stumbling, unsteady, clumsy, falling.
- Collapse – unable to stand; and usually accompanied by some degree of confusion / drowsiness.
- Collapse – altered consciousness ranging from confusion, drowsiness through to unconsciousness.
NOTE: Some of these signs are also seen in children who have pushed themselves and are distressed at the end of their event, but are not due to a heat illness.
It is recommended that if hot weather is likely to occur that parents/guardians should ensure that athletes are sufficiently hydrated in the lead up to the activity and proactive measures are taken to cope with the anticipated conditions. These may include:
- Packing sufficient drinks and making them readily available.
- Taking iced or frozen drinks to the activity.
- Taking ice packs that can be held or massaged against the skin for a cooling effect.
- Packing towels and face washers that can be soaked with water during the day and draped around shoulders and necks.
- Taking personal spray bottles and/or battery-operated fans.
- Taking umbrellas and other shade structures in case there is not adequate shade at the venue.
During extreme hot weather, Ginninderra will ensure that:
- There is a number of water stations in and around the competition area. They should be at all field events, marshalling areas and the finish line.
- Additional water is provided so as to allow participants to wet their face, clothes and hair to assist the cooling process. E.g. Spray bottles, buckets and sponges, etc.
- Shade is provided at all field events, marshalling and finish areas
- At 31-34 degrees Celsius and when humidity exceeds 50%, consideration will be given to postponing distance events until it becomes cooler.
LANSW recommends that if the ambient temperature reaches 38 degrees in dry heat and 36 degrees when the weather is humid that activity is cancelled or ceased until conditions are cooler. Remember not only to take athletes into account but also the officials, volunteers and spectators.
In hot weather the following individuals may be at increased risk of heat related illness, and appropriate precautions should be implemented, and their condition monitored on a frequent basis. The group includes those that:
- Are not fit or who are overweight
- Are not used to hot weather or had sufficient time to acclimatize to such weather
- Have recently been ill. Athletes who have experienced a high temperature, infection, diarrhoea or vomiting should not participate and should be taken home.
- Have a medical condition that that may predispose them to heat illness such as cystic fibrosis or diabetes.
In hot weather, parents and guardians of athletes at increased risk should carefully consider whether or not it is appropriate for the athlete to be participating in exercise.