When your young athletes return to sports and outdoor recreation, there are steps you should take to ensure they stay healthy.

That is according to Banner Health’s sports medicine experts, who stress it is important for children and teens to be careful when they become physically active again if they have not engaged in as many strenuous games and events during this Coronavirus pandemic. They might be at greater risk of suffering injuries or getting heat illness.

Dr. Steven Erickson, medical director for Banner Sports Medicine and Concussion Specialists, said children returning to sports should stay well hydrated, drinking 20 ounces of water two to three hours before exercising and 20 more ounces of water half an hour before starting to exercise. They should drink three liters of fluid a day even if they are not exercising and not wait until they feel thirsty to drink.

Erickson recommends youths stay out of the sun from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. when it is the strongest and seek shade whenever possible. He said children should wear mineral sunscreens that contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that protect them from UVA and UVB rays, with an SPF 15 or higher and apply it 15 minutes before sun exposure.

In order to reduce the risk of injuries, children should warm up and stretch before starting physical activities, Erickson said. He said they should wear required equipment for every sport that is properly fitted.

For more tips, visit bannerhealth.com/services/sports-medicine.