Rising temps worry organizers of B.C. Soccer's Boys Provincial Cup
Special weather statements in effect for most of southern B.C.
As about 1,000 young soccer players descend on Vernon for a B.C. championship tournament this weekend, organizers are taking extra precautions to protect the boys from the sweltering temperatures.
Forecasters at Environment Canada predict highs of 36 C in the Okanagan city on Thursday, the opening day of the U13 - U18 Les Sinnott Memorial Boys Provincial Cup.
Don Dancey, youth competition chair for BC Soccer, said organizers have set up a misting tent to keep players cool. Doctors will also be on site, and there will be extra scheduled water breaks for the competitors.
"This is probably going to be the hottest I think that we've had it, and I've been doing this for 40-plus years," Dancey said.
He added that organizers may be forced to reorganize the schedule so that teams aren't playing during the hottest times of the day.
If at any point it gets too hot, play will stop, he also said.
Despite the heat, Mike Macaulay wasn't too worried about his 18-year-old son, who is playing for Vernon United. He said kids from the Okanagan are accustomed to high temperatures.
"All us coaches have been talked to and hopefully they're going to be rotating the players out lots," Macauley said.
High temperatures forecast through weekend
The heat has prompted Environment Canada to issue special weather statements for most of southern B.C. east of Metro Vancouver. Forecasters warn that temperatures could reach the mid-to-high 30s through the weekend.
Hot weather can be particularly dangerous for babies, toddlers and very young children, according to Ian Pike, director of the injury research and prevention unit at B.C. Children's Hospital.
"Their temperature regulation system has still not fully developed," he explained.
"Kids will sweat, they will get flushed and their skin will get red in the heat, and these are signs that you now need to pay particular attention...that they need to get cooled down and they need to get hydrated."
Hydration means plenty of water — not sugary drinks that may contain salt and caffeine, which will only cause children to become more dehydrated.
Pike said parents should find shade for their children during the peak sunny hours between about 1 and 3 p.m.
He also suggests considering the wisdom of an old Australian public service campaign known as "Slip-Slop-Slap": slip on a shirt, slop on the sunscreen, and slap on a hat.