Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Health & Parenting

Font Size

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

Today on WebMD

Girl holding up card with BMI written
Is your child at a healthy weight?
toddler climbing
What happens in your child’s second year.
father and son with laundry basket
Get your kids to help around the house.
boy frowning at brocolli
Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
mother and daughter talking
child brushing his teeth
Sipping hot tea
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
6-Week Challenges
Want to know more?
Chill Out and Charge Up Challenge – How to help your tribe de-stress and energize.
Spark Change Challenge - Ready for a healthy change? Get some major motivation.
I have read and agreed to WebMD's Privacy Policy.
Enter cell phone number
- -
Entering your cell phone number and pressing submit indicates you agree to receive text messages from WebMD related to this challenge. WebMD is utilizing a 3rd party vendor, CellTrust, to provide the messages. You can opt out at any time.
Standard text rates apply
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
rl with friends
tissue box
Child with adhd