Is Your Child Properly Hydrated?

Posted by Kathryn Wilcox on May 04, 2015


It is often said that everyone should drink eight glasses of water a day. Of course this is important - the human body is 75% water and without water we could die. As we look at this topic, it is more exact to understand that the body needs hydration. However, all liquids we consume will hydrate the body and can be included in the daily amount that is considered necessary for wellness. This is also true with babies and children.

As you monitor your child’s daily diet, simply plan on including healthy liquids. These can include milk, fruit juice and water. Of course you must be careful to limit drinks that are high in sugar. The total for the day should amount to the daily quota needed which is approximately six 8 ounce glasses a day. The website, MedicineNet.com has a chart with daily fluid requirement per body weight. On this chart a 50 lb. child needs 50 ounces of fluids a day.

When infants and children are ill, and fever, vomiting and diarrhea are occurring, more liquids are needed to replace those being lost. At this time it is vital to watch for dehydration. Decreased urination is the easiest to notice. You may also find that your little one is crying but does not have tears, and is not sweating.  Other symptoms are harder to connect with dehydration, such as irritability and excessive sleepiness because they go along with illness. But when your child is exhibiting these behaviors along with the other symptoms, it is highly possible that he could be dehydrated. Of course you should be in touch with your child’s doctor regarding any illness. But after determining that your little one may be dehydrated, many will recommend an electrolyte supplement from the pharmacy which will stabilize your child body fluids.

Exercise or sports activities are another time when your child can become dehydrated. Our bodies naturally sweat to cool down on hot summer days.  Brisk walking on a hot day can cause an adult to lose up to 16 oz. of body fluid in an hour. So be careful to pack a cooler with water, and low fruit and sugar sports drinks when your child is attending sports events or you are planning an outdoor family day.  

People with diagnosed medical conditions such as diabetes are at risk of experiencing dehydration along with other medical emergencies and you should follow your doctor’s guidelines about fluid intake.

It is important to limit time outdoors during the hottest time of the day, especially when there will not be a shady place to get out of the sun. During the summer when high temperatures are predicated, try to plan your children’s outdoor activities for early morning or evenings. Remember that using sun screen will protect the skin from sunburn but will not keep the body cool! Even a day at the beach needs a cooler packed with drinks and water because of the hot sun and sand. If you have a beach umbrella, use it; the shade it provides will be degrees cooler than the hot sun!

Being aware of proper hydration for our family members will assure that we can get through normal days and those when we are dealing with illness or other activities that can deplete the body’s important fluid levels.

This article is for informational purposes only. You should contact your doctor with specific concerns or changes to your or your child's health.