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Preventing Summertime Dehydration In Your Little Ones

Preventing Summertime Dehydration In Your Little Ones

June 20, 2018

Summer is fast approaching, and for much of the US, the warm weather is already here.  The task of ensuring adequate hydration for little ones in these hot and active days of summer is something that cannot be underestimated.  Many kids do not like the “taste” of plain water, and it can be difficult for them to drink enough to meet their needs.  Adults also often do not enjoy plain water, and it is important to model healthy habits for our kids, rather than just telling them what to do, and doing something different.  Sugary drinks like sodas and most sports drinks do the opposite of what is needed, as the sugar throws your body off balance, and then it requires more water to process the sugar.  The same is true for caffeine.  Fortunately, there are enjoyable and healthy ways for your whole family to stay hydrated and happy in the heat.

 

Top Hydrating Foods:

 

• Cucumbers: With a stat like 95% water content, it is easy to see why cukes top the list.  A cup of cucumbers is almost as thirst quenching as a cup of water!  You can cut them up into spears or circles the night before and store them in a container of water in the refrigerator for a refreshing, thirst quenching snack.

• Watermelon: At 92% water, this is a good bet for your families hydration needs.  Another bonus with watermelon is that you can put it in the blender for younger ones who need softer foods, or freeze the puree into popsicles for a hydrating taste treat!

• Strawberries: These little powerhouses have the highest vitamin C content of all berries, and at 91% water, they will quench your thirst as well.  Try blending a handful strawberries, ice, and water for a refreshing, tasty, low sugar drink.

• Yogurt: Depending on which variety you get, plain yogurt is 85-88% water. Full fat yogurt is even higher, and little ones need fat for healthy brain growth and development.  Add sweetness with a bit of honey or real maple syrup and some fresh fruit.
With these tips, hydration can be fun and tasty as well!  Enjoy your summer!

 

We’ve all heard that you need to drink more water when the weather gets hot, but why?  So you get a little dehydrated, just drink a glass of water, right?  Dehydration is more serious than that, and with an infant or toddler’s smaller size, it can happen faster than you think in hot weather.  Small children and infants are actually more at risk for dehydration than older kids and adults.

 

Signs

• fatigue

• headache

• nausea

• lethargy

• fever

• vomiting

• irritability

• no tears

• dizziness

 

Left untreated, it can lead to brain damage and even death.*

 

What Can You Do

 

The best way to deal with dehydration is to keep your child and yourself well hydrated.  Kids need more water relative to adults for a variety of reasons.  They often grow faster in the warm months, adding to their water needs.  Kids tend to be more active, and Kids don’t always realize they are thirsty.

 

• Take water breaks every 15-20 minutes. Set a timer on your phone to make sure you don’t miss one.  It is easy to get busy with summertime activities and go an hour or more without a drink.

• Stay away from drinks with caffeine and sugar, as these ingredients can worsen dehydration. Instead, offer 50% pure fruit/vegetable juice mixed with water if your child is not willing to drink enough just plain water. Homemade popsicles with this mixture are another way to up the fluid intake.

• Protect your child from excessive exposure to heat and sun. If you are at the beach, have a large umbrella for shade. If you go to the park, or outdoor locations, look for areas under trees.  Make your outings for early morning and late afternoon when the heat and sun are not at peak levels.

• Look up fluid requirements for your child’s age and size and activity level.

• Monitor your children as they play.

• Always have plenty of drinks to offer. Don’t go anywhere without more than enough fluids for the outing for your child.

• Electrolyte balance is a large part of summertime health as well. Replace lost potassium and magnesium with frozen banana smoothies and guacamole.

 

*When in doubt, always call your doctor.

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