Summertime is here which means kids are out of school and temperatures are rising. That combination has Dr. Mayrene Hernandez reminding parents about the signs of dehydration in kids and sharing tips to keep their little ones hydrated.
Dr. Hernandez, United Healthcare Group’s (www.uhc.com/) Florida medical director, says hydration is particularly important for children as they have higher water requirements than adults. Their cooling system isn’t fully developed. The surface area of a child is smaller and sweat glands aren’t fully developed, this makes it much harder for the body to cool itself.
Common signs of dehydration include:
▪ A dry or sticky mouth
▪ Few or no tears when crying
▪ Eyes that look sunken
▪ In babies, the soft spot (fontanelle) on top of the head looks sunken
▪ Peeing less or fewer wet diapers than usual
▪ Dry, cool skin
▪ Drowsiness or dizziness
Hydration Tips (visuals will be brought in for live segments/pkgs):
▪ 4 Gulps Per 15 Minutes: For every 15 minutes of outdoor activity drink about 4 ounces of water, this is approximately 4 gulps.
▪ Pretzels, Fruit, Gold Fish:
Every 30 to 45 minutes give the child with salt and potassium to help protect against electrolyte loss and promote hydration. Pretzels or goldfish or a cheese stick with some oranges, banana, or strawberries are good options. Avoid sugary sports drinks which were developed with an adult’s body in mind.
▪ Half water, half milk, fruit juice, smoothies: Dr. Hernandez says children should drink half of their fluids from water and the other half from milk, 100 percent fruit juice or smoothies.
▪ Increase hydration with popsicles, gelato, smoothies, yogurt: Great ways to increase hydration in children is to make home-made popsicles and gelato with real fruit, providing a fresh fruit smoothie made with coconut water, milk or milk substitute, or yogurt after some time outside is great, too!
▪ Skip the soda: Carbonated water mixed with fruit juice is a great alternative to soda. Use frozen fruit as ice-cubes in water or seltzer waters, too.