Beat the Heat! Six Tips for Keeping Your Child Hydrated

thirsty six year old asian-american girl gulping down a cool refreshing drink of bottled water.
Make sure kids get plenty of fluids this summer.

When kids are having a lot of fun outside in summertime temperatures, it’s easy for them to forget to replace fluids, but doing so can lead to some problems. Less serious effects of mild-to-moderate dehydration can include lack of energy, headaches, dry mouth (which can cause bad breath) and dry skin, but severe dehydration can become dangerous. See below for a complete listing from the Mayo Clinic about the effects of mild, moderate and severe dehydration. One thing to remember – don’t wait for kids to say they are thirsty because by then some degree of dehydration has already occurred. Kids should drink throughout the day, and obviously increase intake when outside and active. For younger kids, it can be helpful for parents to keep an eye on how often kids are going to the bathroom. If your concerned, it’s also a good idea to occasionally check to make sure a child’s urine isn’t too concentrated, as that can be a good indicator of dehydration.

So, have fun this summer, but do so while drinking lots of fluids! See below for some additional tips. Thanks, and see you next month!!!

Six Tips to Help Your Kids Stay Hydrated:

1) Let kids pick out their own water bottles and personalize them however they like – this will increase the likelihood of their carrying it with them.

2) Push water as their main drink, but spice it up with bubbles (such as soda stream), lemon or lime wedges, or infuse with other types of fruit.

3) Put a drink chart on the fridge – check mark for every 8 ounces or more. Recommended intake varies by a child’s weight, but go here for a calculator.

4) Popsicles are a great, cool way to replenish fluids. Look for the no sugar added/all fruit variety. It’s also fun for kids to make their own.

5) Push fruit! One of the many great aspects of summertime is the abundance of fruits: watermelon, other types of melons, berries, peaches, plums, cherries . . . the list goes on and on. Find some your kids like, and you’ll have a healthy, easy way to help them rehydrate.

6) Kids love sports drinks, but they can often contain as much sugar as soda or juice. So, use them in moderation to replenish electrolytes, especially after sports or other heavy activity. One way to reduce the sugar hit is to cut sports drinks with water.

The Mayo Clinic provides signs and symptoms of mild to moderate and severe dehydration. Mild to moderate dehydration is likely to cause:

• Dry, sticky mouth
• Sleepiness or tiredness — children are likely to be less active than usual
• Thirst
• Decreased urine output
• No wet diapers for three hours for infants
• Few or no tears when crying
• Dry skin
• Headache
• Constipation
• Dizziness or lightheadedness

Severe dehydration, a medical emergency, can cause:
• Extreme thirst
• Extreme fussiness or sleepiness in infants and children; irritability and confusion in adults
• Very dry mouth, skin and mucous membranes
• Little or no urination — any urine that is produced will be darker than normal
• Sunken eyes
• Shriveled and dry skin that lacks elasticity and doesn’t “bounce back” when pinched into a fold
• In infants, sunken fontanels — the soft spots on the top of a baby’s head
• Low blood pressure
• Rapid heartbeat
• Rapid breathing
• No tears when crying
• Fever
• In the most serious cases, delirium or unconsciousness

Let’s help our children beat the heat while enjoying their summer activities!

Additional dehydration resources:

Facts About Dehydration

Recognizing Dehydration

Treating Dehydration in Children Under 12

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