How can I prevent dehydration in children?

Strategies for preventing dehydration in children depend on your child's health status.


If your child is healthy:


Offer him the right kind of liquids: The best liquid to give your baby until he is 1 year old is breast milk or formula. The best liquids to give your older child are milk and water. Sweetened drinks, such as juice or soda, may not decrease your child's thirst. These drinks also may lead to your child being overweight and having dental cavities.


Offer him plenty of liquids every day: Ask your healthcare provider how much your child should drink every day. The amount of liquids your child needs changes as he gets older. If you are breastfeeding your baby, speak to your healthcare provider if you feel he is not breastfeeding well.


Have him drink extra liquids: During sports or exercise, and on warm days, your child needs to drink more often than usual. He may need to drink up to 8 ounces (1 cup) of water or a sports drink every 20 minutes.


Keep him cool: On hot days, limit the time your child spends outdoors. Dress your child in lightweight clothes.


If your child is ill:


Check his urine: Keep track of how often your child urinates. If he is urinating less than usual, give him more liquids to drink. If his urine is darker in color, make sure he drinks more. Babies should have four to six wet diapers a day.


Have him drink extra liquids: During illness, your child needs to drink more often than usual. If he is a baby, breastfeed him more often or offer him extra formula. Offer your older child more milk and water than usual. Ask healthcare providers what other liquids your child should drink when he is ill.


As he recovers: Once your child's symptoms go away, he may need more intravenous (IV) or oral rehydration solution (ORS) liquids to prevent him from becoming dehydrated again. If he is still vomiting or has diarrhea, he may be given liquids each time he vomits or has a liquid stool.

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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.