How do i Know if my Child is Dehydrated?

All kids and adults lose water constantly throughout the day. Water evaporates from the skin and leaves the body when you breathe, cry, sweat and use the toilet.

Most of the time, a toddler gets enough water from eating and drinking to replace the fluids he loses. But in some cases, kids can lose more water than normal. Fevers, stomach flus, being out in hot weather, or too much exercise, for example, may result in too much fluid loss. This can lead to dehydration.

Dehydration isn't something to take lightly. When it happens, the body doesn't have enough fluids and water to function properly. In severe cases, this could lead to brain damage or even death.

Dehydration happens when more fluid is leaving the body than entering it. Children are more susceptible to dehydration than older teens and adults because they have smaller bodies. They have smaller reserves of water.

Some toddlers become dehydrated because they don't drink enough water. Certain factors can also put your toddler at a higher risk of dehydration. These include:

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Excessive sweating
  • Poor fluid intake during an illness
  • Chronic illnesses, like diabetes or a bowel disorder
  • Exposure to hot and humid weather

Diarrhoea may be caused by an infection (viral, bacterial, or parasite), by a food allergy or sensitivity, by a medical condition such as inflammatory bowel disease, or by a reaction to a medication. If your toddler is vomiting, has watery stools, or is unable or unwilling to drink because of an illness, monitor him for signs of dehydration.

Warning signs of dehydration in toddlers include:

  • Dry, cracked lips
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Little or no urine for eight hours
  • Cold or dry skin
  • Sunken eyes or a sunken soft spot on the head (for babies)
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Low energy levels
  • No tears when crying
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