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Summer Spotlight: Signs your child is dehydrated and how you can fix it.

26 August 2021

We are all constantly losing water from our bodies via our breath, skin, sweat, going to the washroom, etc. While we adults are mostly sitting comfortably in our homes or offices, our children are running around destroying all the nice things we own, repeatedly updating about the new adventures of Peppa the Pig, being intrigued by their own boogers, manically screaming and running in circles around us, enhancing their social life at the society park while engaging in literal physical fights with their imagine, with such busy lives who really has the mental bandwidth for constantly re-hydrating themselves!

So, while we adults have the luxury of waiting for our smartphones to go ping, reminding us every hour to drink water, our children lead such difficult and busy lives that it can get very hard for them to keep up adequate levels of fluids in their tiny bodies. Inevitably, it falls upon us, the seemingly free and lazy adults, to take care of our little monsters since we don’t really have anywhere to go or anything better to do, apart from traveling from room to room putting away the same toys like a million times a day.

How can you tell that your child is dehydrated?

Few of the most visible signs of dehydration in children that every parent must watch out for are –

  • Checking Their Pee  :This is something you signed up for the second you decided you wanted children, so no backing out now. A dark yellow colored pee with a strong smell should have the alarm bells go off in your brain to chug lots and lots of fluids down your child’s throat.
  • Look At Their Face & Skin:If you see dry skin, chapped lips and sunken eyes; it doesn’t mean your kid needs a new sunscreen or chapstick, they probably need an extra glass (or two) of water.
  • Observing Behavioral Changes:Is your child going to the loo less frequently or refusing to go to the loo because they don’t want to miss out on a second of their video game? Lots of children, at some point in their lives, do this and seldom do parents take such behavior seriously. Your child is intentionally dehydrating without understanding the consequences.
  • Noticing Physical Changes:Is your child complaining of being tired often? Is she/ he panting too much and acting fussy? Are they getting fever, vomiting, diarrhea regularly? All of these are signs that your child is dehydrated frequently even though you might feel they are drinking enough water.

If you notice one or more of the above symptoms in your child then call the doctor immediately, meanwhile give them lemon water, diluted milk or buttermilk, clear soups if possible.

How can you make sure that your child doesn’t get dehydrated?

One thing to know about the human body is that we DO NOT store water; can you name an organ in the human body that stores water? No, kidneys don’t store “water”, they filter blood for any toxins and impurities and flush them out of the system. We do store food; all these layers of fat accumulated over the years is what – it is the food that we ate and couldn’t use, so it stocked up in the hope that someday you will need to use it.

Moral of the story here is that we can all afford to go without food for a while, but water and fluids are something that needs replenishing in the body frequently, time-gap depending on your lifestyle and geographical location on the planet. And we can safely conclude that our children are losing much more water and at a much faster rate than any of us adults. Hence, it is even more crucial that as parents we make a persistent effort in saving our children from the impact of dehydration. Simple ways to ensure that –

  • Get a nice fancy/attractive sipper for your kid and make sure they carry it with them all the time.
  • Children can find drinking water boring and it might feel like a chore to some, so get them to enjoy fresh juices, coconut water or simply flavor their water with some lemon, mint, cucumbers adding a dash of raw salt; keep it interesting.
  • Milk is one of the best drinks for children. It provides adequate nutrition and also keeps the kid hydrated. Enhance the nutrition of milk with some fortified dietary high quality nutrition powders.
  • Do not think of packaged juices, sugary sherbets and energy drinks as essential fluids, they rather contribute to increasing dehydration in children because of all the sugar and caffeine that these processed beverages contain.
  • Ensure children have some drink with every meal. Include chaas (buttermilk), lassi or soups; even raw vegetables and fruits augment hydration levels in children because of their high water content.

You could also refer to this article to know more about how to get your kids to drink water.

Key is to keep it simple, natural and holistic!

Karnica Singh Nandal

Integrative Nutrition Health Coach & Yoga Instructor
Institute for Integrative Nutrition, NY
The Yoga Institute, 500hr TTC, Mumbai
Your cliché Engineer with an MBA degree, a corporate professional turned wellness enthusiast – I empower people to take responsibility for their own health and achievement of their personal wellness goals by educating, motivating, inspiring, and guiding towards long lasting lifestyle changes.

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