The human body, constituting 60 percent water, relies on this essential fluid for its internal functions. Both children and adults lose water throughout the day via activities like urination and sweating. Proper food and fluid intake help maintain the body’s water balance. However, factors such as illness, stomach flu, and hot weather can cause excessive water loss, leading to dehydration in children.
Dehydration poses risks for everyone, potentially causing urinary tract infections and kidney issues. Yet, it is especially perilous for young children who might not express their discomfort. Recognizing the signs of thirst is crucial, as it allows for timely intervention. Here are five common signs of dehydration in children to watch out for
1. Dry and Cracked Lips: Dry lips, cracked mouth corners, and reduced saliva indicate early dehydration in toddlers. These signs serve as warnings that the child’s body lacks adequate water.
2. Reduced Urination (Dry Diapers): Toddlers usually urinate frequently, saturating their diapers every few hours. A decrease in urination frequency or dark, concentrated urine can indicate dehydration and should not be ignored.
3. Lack of Tears When Crying: Dehydration can make toddlers irritable. In severe cases, they may not shed tears while crying, signaling a significant drop in their body’s water levels.
4. Excessive Sleepiness: Dehydration affects a child’s mood, causing lethargy and excessive sleepiness. Children may sleep longer than usual, and sunken eyes and cheeks could be visible signs.
5. Increased Heart Rate and Breathing: Water loss leads to fatigue, accelerating heartbeat and breathing rates. Children may display disinterest in activities they typically enjoy.
What to Do
If you observe any dehydration symptoms, increase fluid intake. Oral rehydration solutions, designed to replace electrolytes and sugar, are excellent options. Administer small amounts of these liquids hourly. Clear soups, popsicles, and ice chips are suitable for older children.In severe cases where a child appears semi-conscious, experiences repeated vomiting, or hasn’t urinated for over four hours, seek immediate medical attention. Acting promptly can prevent complications and ensure the child’s well-being.