During the hot summer months when children are active under the sun, they can lose more fluids than they are taking in, through excessive sweating. When this happens, dehydration can occur. To prevent dehydration, it’s vital that young children are offered and drink an adequate amount of fluids while playing outside on hot days. As a rule of thumb, children should stop playing and take a water break every 20 minutes.
Since infants and young children are more likely to become dehydrated then adults, it’s important for parents and caregivers to recognize the early signs of dehydration.
These signs may include:
• Dry mouth
• Lack of tears when crying
• Eyes that appear sunken in
• Baby’s soft spot appears sunken in
• Lack of urine for 6-8 hours in an infant
• Lack of urine for 12 hours in an older child
• Tiny amounts of dark yellow urine
• Cool, dry skin
• Child is lethargic or irritable
• Older child complains of dizziness or fatigue
If you notice your infant is dehydrated and you breastfeed, continue breastfeeding and offer pediatric rehydration solutions in between. Formula fed babies should be given pediatric rehydration fluids only until the signs of dehydration are gone.
If you notice your child is dehydrated, move him to a cool place to rest and offer lots of water for 1 to 2 hours. After that, drinks with sugar and electrolytes may be offered. Children (nor adults) should never drink from garden hoses because they contain high levels of lead.
It’s always a good idea to check with your child’s doctor prior to giving any over the counter medications or solutions. If you’ve treated the dehydration and your child doesn’t seem better, contact your doctor or take your child to the emergency room for evaluation immediately.