Dehydration and Children

Summer is here…finally!  There are so many fun activities going on during the summer months here in Massachusetts.  With so much going on, it is important to remember to hydrate your children properly.  According to Dr. Holly Benjamin, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Chicago, by the time children say they are thirsty they are already 3% dehydrated.   The amount of water/fluids a child needs depends on their age.  Children ages 1-3 need 4 cups a day, ages 4-8 need 5 cups a day, ages 9-14 need 7 cups a day and over 14 yrs old need the adult recommendation of 8-10 cups of water a day.  The scary part of this is that only 10% of girls and 15% of boys get this recommended amount of water a day.  The culprit is sugary drinks instead of water.

Here are some easy ways to keep your child hydrated this summer:

  • Make drinking water fun and colorful, freeze strawberries with water in an ice cube tray and add them to your child’s drink
  • Buy some crazy straws that make drinking water cool
  • Eat high water content foods like watermelon
  • Bring water bottles with you whenever you leave the house…and remember to use them!
  • Have children drink a full cup of water 30-60 minutes before vigorous activity then continue with water breaks every 20 minutes
  • Popsicles!  The best are homemade, non-sugar loaded type, but there are many healthy options at the store

Some signs of dehydration are dizziness, dark urine, irritability, and lethargy.  Children are more prone to dehydration, so it is important to keep a watchful eye on their water intake. If you believe your child is mildly dehydrated then get them to a cool, shaded spot and have them drink water.  Preventing dehydration can be as easy following some of the tips above.  We want you to have a fun and safe summer!