Reviewed by David Derrer on July 26, 2016


Hansa Bhargava, MD, WebMD Medical Editor and pediatrician. American Academy of Pediatrics.

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Video Transcript

Hansa Bhargava, MD: Chris Curtin is a fitness coach and mother of four. I recently had a chance to talk with her about how to make sure her active kids are getting enough water.

Christine Curtin: What would you look for? What are some signs of dehydration in kids?

Hansa Bhargava, MD: If they're not hydrating enough they can start feeling very fatigued, tired, they may actually, some kids may actually feel cranky or irritable. Give them some water so they drink about 6 ounces before they even get out there, that way they have some reserves to even start. And then if they're playing hard, like right now, you probably should be drinking water every 20 minutes or so, you know at least half a glass to three-quarters of a glass of water.

Christine Curtin: So water is great all the time. So if sports drinks are good sometimes, when would that apply?

Hansa Bhargava, MD: If they really are vigorous,like having a, playing a hard game of soccer, or a hard game of football and they really need hydration, then the sports drinks can actually replace the electrolytes that are lost through a lot of sweating. But you have to be careful about the caffeinated drinks that are called energy drinks, primarily because of the potential harmful effects of excessive caffeine in these drinks. And caffeine can cause dehydration.

Christine Curtin: What about fruit? Is that a good way to hydrate.

Hansa Bhargava, MD: I think that's a great way Chris. You know you've got, you selected some great fruits here. Watermelon contains a lot of water, as do grapes. You know other fruits are good like oranges. Frankly, any kind of fruits are good because they also give energy like glucose, naturally occurring sugars as well as the waters. So it's good to have those snacks out. You probably want to watch out for mild to moderate dehydration. If it's moderate dehydration and the child's really acting sleepy or lethargic, they can just start lying down and not really wanting to get up as much, as well as not really wanting to pee as much. Keep in mind that water not only helps your child's system function properly, but also helps bring their body temperature down. Other signs that your child is becoming dehydrated or overheated-- Their urine is a darker yellow than normal. Healthy urine should appear straw-colored.