Toddlers lead busy lives, and stopping for a sip isn’t always high on their list of priorities. Staying well-hydrated is especially important as warmer weather approaches. Water plays a key role in most body functions. It helps breakdown minerals and nutrients so they can be absorbed, regulates body temperature and aids in healthy bowel movements. Knowing the signs and stages of dehydration, and what to do if they occur, is important.
Symptoms of Dehydration include:
- Fatigue, sudden decrease in activity (severe dehydration)
- Dry, sticky mouth
- Decreased bowel movements, less than 6 wet diapers a day for babies or going more than eight hours between urinating for older kids
- Sunken eyes (severe dehydration)
Dehydration can also occur under these circumstances when children are sick, and can lead to severe dehydration if not treated properly:
- Severe diarrhea develops
- Vomiting for more than 8 hours
To prevent dehydration at the beginning of a child’s illness, make sure to offer them fluids frequently and make rest a priority. It’s also a good idea to always keep an oral electrolyte drink specially formulated for children on hand. Water alone is not effective in fighting mild or moderation dehydration in children, so better to have it on hand and follow your pediatrician’s advice on how much and how often to give your child. If excessive vomiting or diarrhea does occur, call your pediatrician immediately and proceed with their advice.
Under normal, healthy conditions, keeping a refillable bottle of water handy and offering it frequently during times of increased activity, such as playing at the park, is the easiest way to make sure your child gets their daily dose.