Remind Your Tots to Drink -- A LOT!

Cynthia Dermody
Toddlers & Preschoolers
7

Summer Survival Guide

preventing dehydration in kids

Photo by Amber727

To inspire my little guy to drink more fluids, I bought him a water bottle in his favorite color (green) to carry around at day camp. But it often comes home barely touched.

"Sweetie, you have to drink more!" I say.

Toddlers and little kids need contant reminders about this, especially when playing the day away in the heat and sun.

Tots are way more prone to dehydration than grownups. When their blood doesn't get enough water pumped in, it gets thicker. Our kiddos' tiny hearts then have to work harder to keep the flow going. You can just imagine the implications for the rest of the body!

And don't think tht because your tot doesn't sweat much that dehydration isn't a risk. Little ones carry most of their body weight on the surface, in their chubby little legs and squeezable arms etc. (as opposed to in their organs and bones). This provides more areas on which to be exposed to heat and from which to lose sweat -- even if those little droplets don't seem like a big deal to you.

So now I've started freezing juice boxes overnight. I plop them in my son's lunch bag in the morning, and by noon time the beverage is thawed and nicely chilled. My son is way more likely to drink something lightly sweetened.

Fruit and soup also counts in the water column. I freeze grapes until just slightly firm, cantaloupe chunks, and other water-dense fruits to add to his snack offerings. My son isn't crazy about Gazpacho yet, but I'm working on it.

I've also asked his teachers and counselors to physically hand him the bottle and tell him, "Drink, please!" Toddlers need constant reminders. They're often too involved in play to acknowledge thirst or other symptoms of dehydration, such as:

Fatigue

Dry lips and tongue

Dark urine color

Decrease in urination

The feeling of being overheated

For more information, check out these facts on dehydration in kids from Children's Hospital Boston.

How do you make sure your toddler stays hydrated in the summer? What type of drink will he slurp down without fail?

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