Proper Hydration for Kids

Water is an essential element that sustains life. It’s present in about 60% of the adult body and about 75% of a child’s body. It helps the parts of the body to perform its functions like transporting oxygen to the lungs and the brain, digestion of foods, absorption of nutrients to the cells and other parts of the body, creation of saliva, as well as maintaining the body temperature. In the process, the body releases body fluids, which should then be released to ensure that the body will continue to function properly.

Kids who are always active may reach the point of dehydration if they are not taught to hydrate properly. This can easily be done, however, with one of the best water bottles for kids. As a child’s thirst mechanism is not credible at their age, however, there is a great risk that they will take dehydration for something else. They may also disregard the need for water if they are actively participating in a particular activity, if the water source is far from their reach, or if they do not like the taste of the fluid available for them to take.

It is important that every child is taught about the proper way to hydrate as well as to have a desire to bring their own water bottles so that it will be easier for them to top up whenever necessary. Dehydration is a serious condition that should not be taken for granted. But if you and your child are not aware of its effects on the proper functioning of the body, it might be too late before any of you would recognize that you or your child have already been suffering from it.

Mild to moderate hydration can easily be reversed by drinking water that electrolytes in it. There are cases of moderate to severe dehydration that have claimed the lives of many children, specifically when the condition accompanies a primary health condition such as diarrhea.

What happens when you become dehydrated?

The human body constantly loses water through sweat, tears, urine, and stool. Body fluids also evaporate from the skin and leave the body as vapor when you breathe. The fluids that we drink and the food that we eat replace these body fluids and keep the body to perform its normal functions properly.

There are instances when children lose a large amount of water and salts, like when they have a fever, diarrhea, or vomiting, or when they are actively participating for long periods in activities that causes them to sweat more. There are also some health conditions that make it difficult for kids to drink enough fluids.

If the body fluids that they lose is greater than what they drink to replace the fluids lost, they can become dehydrated.

How will you know that your child is dehydrated?

You should be extra cautious when your child has health conditions that may cause him or her to limit water or fluid intake. If the child has fever, diarrhea, or vomiting, or is sweating a lot on a hot day or during an intense physical workout, you should watch out for signs of dehydration, including the following:

  • dry mouth and eyes
  • sunken fontanelles (soft spot on top of the head) in babies
  • fewer wet nappies
  • dry skin
  • irritability
  • dizziness

How do you reverse dehydration?

It’s crucial that you take note of the early signs of dehydration so you can respond right away if ever your child is manifesting those signs. Your goal is to replace the lost fluids in the child’s body as this will restore the balance in their body fluids.

Plain water is the best remedy for mild to moderate dehydration. You will also need to keep your child in a cool place to bring down your child’s body temperature.

Children with mild to moderate dehydration as a result of diarrhea and other health conditions can be given an oral rehydration solution (ORS) over the course of 3 to 4 hours. You can give your child 1 to 2 teaspoons (5 or 10 milliliters) of an ORS every few minutes. ORS is available over the counter. It has the formulated with the right combination of sugar and salts that dehydrated kids need. If you notice your child is doing well with the ORS, you may give him or her bigger sips a little less often.

If your child is breastfed, you may continue to nurse your baby even during rehydration, except if the child vomits repeatedly. In between feedings, you may administer an ORS. However, if your baby is a formula-fed baby, you should stop giving the infant formula during rehydration. Just restart as soon as your infant can keep fluids down and has stopped showing signs of dehydration.

Note that water, soda, ginger ale, tea, fruit juice, gelatin desserts, or chicken broth, should not be given to children if they get dehydrated because of a certain health condition. These fluids and fruits don’t have the right mix of sugar and salts and will just make diarrhea worse. Older children may be given sports drinks if dehydrated. An ORS is still the best solution for young children and babies.

When your child is rehydrated, you can serve a normal diet, including breast milk, formula, or milk. A normal diet can also be served to a dehydrated child.

In cases when the child has explosive diarrhea or are vomiting, or when fluids cannot be replaced for these or other reasons, the child may need intravenous (IV) fluids administered in the hospital.

 

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