We all know that hydration is key to our survival and during the summer months the heat sucks the moisture right out of us. Water constitutes approximately 70% of body weight in infants, 65% in children, and 60% in adults. (Medscape) We lose water through tears, sweating and urination and tykes are more prone to dehydration than adults. When the temperatures are HOT dehydration can occur more rapidly.
”Parents, however, should know that active children do not adjust to hot temperatures (greater than 95°F) as well as adults. Their body surface, as a proportion of their overall weight, is much greater than an adult’s. So they produce more heat during physical activity and they sweat less than adults. This reduces their ability to get rid of body heat and could lead to dehydration.
In addition, kids often don’t drink enough to replenish the fluids they lose during prolonged activity since they’re too busy having fun. This can lead to severe dehydration and potentially life-threatening heat illnesses. That’s why they need adult supervision and plenty of fluids readily available.”
(Courtesy of WebMD)
Other factors besides heat that can cause dehydration in tykes are (mayoclinic):
- Wearing clothing or gear that contributes to excessive heat retention
- Is sick or had a recent illness
- Is taking certain supplements or medications, such as cold medicine
- Has had a previous heat-related illness
- Has a chronic condition, such as diabetes
- Isn’t well rested
- Is overweight
- Rarely exercises
So the questions are:
1. How do you monitor your tykes hydration when doing outdoor summer activities, such as hiking, biking or just merely playing outside?
Here are a few ways to monitor your tykes hydration…
Make sure your tyke is drinking every 15 – 20 minutes. If they are in extreme heat or a prolonged activity they may need to drink more often.
Provide them with a hydration bladder or water bottle so you can SEE how much water they are drinking.
In addition to water, give them fruits and vegetables or popsicles, which will provide some fluids, as well.
Your tyke needs to continue drinking fluids after their activities to make sure all fluid lost is replenished.
2. Do tykes need more than just water (sports drinks, energy drinks…etc) if the activities are for an extended period of time?
The main source of hydration should be water. Sports drinks are fancied up with colors and flavors but they also have additional calories and sugars. Water will rehydrate and balance out electrolyte levels properly and in a healthier way.
“For most children engaging in routine physical activity, plain water is best,” Dr. Benjamin said. “Sports drinks contain extra calories that children don’t need, and could contribute to obesity and tooth decay. It’s better for children to drink water during and after exercise, and to have the recommended intake of juice and low-fat milk with meals. Sports drinks are not recommended as beverages to have with meals.”
(Courtesy of America Academy of Pediatrics)
If your tyke resists the taste of water add a slice of lemon, orange, strawberry or raspberry to add some natural flavor.
Energy drinks should never be consumed by tykes. The stimulants they contain, such as caffeine, can pose potential health risks on their developing neurologic and cardiovascular systems. (America Academy of Pediatrics)
Signs of dehydration:
- Dry lips
- Sunken eyes
- No tears when crying
- Dark colored urine
- Thickened saliva
- Headache, nausea, stomach ache or cramps
Do you have any tips for monitoring your tykes hydration? Do you give your tyke other substances besides water? Have you or your tyke ever experienced dehydration?
picture courtesy of Health Freedom Alliance