Is it safe to give Pedialyte to an infant with diarrhea?

Anthony L. Komaroff, MD
Internal Medicine
Most viral infections with loose stools or diarrhea just have to run their course. But infants are always at high risk of dehydration whenever they are sick.

The most important thing a parent should do is keep their child well hydrated. Giving your daughter an oral electrolyte drink (like Pedialyte) is safe. Pedialyte is a specially made salt solution that fights dehydration. Just plain water should not be given.

Be sure to watch your daughter closely for signs of dehydration, like:
  • Not making much urine (pee)
  • Pee is a dark color
  • Mouth looks dry
  • Not making any tears when she cries
  • Acting very weak and tired
Be sure the baby is always getting more liquid in than she is losing. It is OK to give her just Pedialyte until her stomach seems more settled.

Then try to get your baby back to her normal diet as soon as possible. You can usually keep breastfeeding, formula feeding or giving solid foods. This helps her get in enough calories. A normal diet also provides all the right nutrients to help fight the virus that caused the diarrhea in the first place.

The virus and loose stools can cause diaper rash. Here are some simple tips to help relieve the diaper rash:
  • Make sure your baby is clean and dry.
  • Change your baby's diaper very often.
  • Keep your baby out of a diaper as often as you can.
  • Use absorbent diapers and keep them loose.
  • Wash your baby gently with mild soap and water.
  • Let the diaper area air dry, if you can.
  • Avoid alcohol baby wipes, corn starch or talcum powder.
If you still have problems with the diaper rash, try a diaper rash cream. This can protect the skin from more irritation. Touch base with her doctor, if she is not improving.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.