Hydration Guidelines for Children
By Dana Yarn, RDLD
It always amazes me when I find out that some of my clients do not drink any water at all throughout the day. It flat out scares me to find out that there are children and teens who drink absolutely no water throughout the day. Young children are not in tune enough with their bodies to know the signs of dehydration, if no one is monitoring their water consumption then they can easily become dehydrated especially in the spring and summer months when they are sweating more often outside.
Both adults and children should aim to drink about ½ of their body weight in ounces of plain water per day. Avoid artificially sweetened "water" drinks some of the sweeteners have been linked to cancer and even diabetes. If your child does not like plain water, water down juice until you eventually can give them plain water or sweeten with fresh fruit like lemons, limes, or berries. Avoid processed sports drinks too they are loaded with excessive amounts of sugar and sodium making them as unhealthy as soda drinks. Sports drinks were designed for endurance athletes, they are only necessary for those who are active for several hours in a row, an occasional long game or match in the hot sun would be the only appropriate time to give your child a sport drink.
Look out for signs of dehydration especially if you are out in the hot sun for a long period of time.
- Dizzy and confused
- Child complaining of dry mouth and lips
- Dark brown or yellow urine with foul odor
- Child seems abnormally tired
Combat dehydration by making sure that your child drinks a cup of water with each meal and sips on water throughout practices, meets, or play sessions.
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