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How to Hydrate Your Active Child

Tips for Preventing Dehydration in Children

  • Drink water. Drinking plenty of water is a natural and healthy way for a kid to stay hydrated. And water doesn't add the excess calories and potentially harmful stimulants found in sports and energy drinks.
  • Be prepared. Before training and competitions, children should be well-hydrated.
  • Get on schedule. Active or athletic children should drink fluids on a regular basis. Create a "fluid schedule" in which your child drinks a certain amount of fluids before, during, and after practices, games, and competitions. Children should drink more if they are working out in hot, humid, sunny conditions, or if they sweat heavily.

Steps to Take During Sports Activities

  • Drink early. By the time a child is thirsty, he or she may already be dehydrated.
  • Drink enough. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that a child weighing about 88 pounds drink 5 ounces of cold tap water every 20 minutes. Children and teens weighing 132 pounds should drink 9 ounces of cold tap water every 20 minutes. One ounce typically equals two kid-size gulps.
  • What to avoid: Dehydrating beverages such as caffeinated beverages (sodas, iced tea). Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it causes the child to lose more fluid.


How Do I Know if My Child is Dehydrated?

If your child is complaining about any of the following symptoms, he or she may be dehydrated:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Decreased urine output
  • Dark yellow urine
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness



WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on May 24, 2014

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