Summer means so many wonderful things. Sun, outdoor playtime, poolside fun, and picnics. While all these things add up to amazing memories, they can also lead to dehydration in your little ones. Kids are more prone to dehydration because their bodies do not cool down as efficiently as an adult body does. Here is some information to help make this summer the most fun and safest yet!
Signs of Dehydration
There are several signs to keep an eye out for if you know you are going to be outside for a long period of time. These are all signs of moderate dehydration.
- Lack of urine (none in 6-8 hours for an infant or 12 hours for an older child.) Also, if there is only a very small amount of dark urine it should be cause for concern.
- Dry, cool skin
- Sunken eyes and/or soft spot
- Dry or sticky milk
- Kids are lethargic or irritable (I know. What a sign, right? But you know if your kids are normal grumpy or if it is something more.)
- Few or no tears when crying
- Shriveled skin that does not bounce back after you pinch it.
Ways to keep kids hydrated
- Offer beverages all the time. Seems obvious, but as kids get older parents tend to stop carrying bags full of snacks/drinks for them. Make sure you always have a bottle of water with you and offer it to the point of annoyance! Do not wait until they ask for water because that likely means they are already dehydrated.
- Offer lots of fruits and veggies as snacks because they are anywhere from 70% to 95% water. Watermelon, strawberries, grapes, and cucumbers are all great choices. Also, think about freezing applesauce or other fruit purees into popsicles to get more fluids into your little ones.
- Yogurt and smoothies are other great hydration tools. Yogurt is around 80% water, so straight out of the carton or frozen, it is a great choice.
- Feed them oatmeal for breakfast. While it is more commonly thought of as a fiber filled food that keeps you satisfied for a long time, oatmeal is also a good way to get water into a body. It absorbs more than 50% of its weight in water as it cooks.
- Make a game of drinking water. When kids start to drink, have them count to 5 while taking 5 gulps of water.
- Keep your kids dressed in light colored, breathable fabric if you know they are going to be in the sun for a large portion of the day. This helps keep them cooler so their little bodies do not have to work quite so hard to stay regulated.
- Add a bit of juice to water if it gets your kids to drink more. Just a few tablespoons of juice will flavor a gallon of water.
- Take breaks during play time. When kids are playing hard outside, they need a water break every 20 minutes.