Dehydration in Children

29 Jul

When you are thirsty you drink water, so if you aren’t thirsty you are not dehydrated… Right? Wrong! Dehydration can creep up on you before you even feel thirsty.

Some subtle signs of dehydration can include

  • Lethargy
  • Confusion
  • Lack of energy
  • Headache
  • Nausea

Nausea is a particular problem because you will not be in the mood to drink water which paradoxically would eliminate the nausea. Of course when your kids are outside playing ball in the hot sun and come in sweating you know to give your child some cold water. However dehydration can occur just as easily with indoor activities in an air conditioned environment.

If one of your children contracts a fever then even more water will be needed to keep them hydrated.

How to prevent dehydration

The best treatment of course is prevention. If your child is going to be engaging in activities where sweating is likely then it is a good idea to drink a lot of water before going out to play.  They should have water with them and encouraged to drink and not leave the water bottle on the sidelines. They will need to hydrate again after they get home.

If they are going to drink sports drinks make sure there is no caffeine and water them down lots of ice (this keeps the drink cool and fools kids who don’t like diluted drinks). Dressing with light clothing also helps reduce risk for dehydration.

This content is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.

Stuart C. Silverstein, MD is the Medical Director of Firefly Pediatric Urgent Care and is the author of Laughing Your Way to Passing the Pediatric Boards

Dr. Stuart Silverstein,



One thought on “Dehydration in Children

  1. I use one of my son’s old baby bibs. The front side is fabric, but it’s backed with rubber-like material. Works like a charm. An excuse to keep a bib on hand now that he’s studying for his driver’s permit!

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