Hydration is particularly important for children, as they have higher water requirements than adults. Their cooling system isn’t fully developed. The surface area of a child is smaller and sweat glands aren’t fully developed, which makes it much harder for the body to cool itself.
Common signs of dehydration include:
- A dry or sticky mouth
- Few or no tears when crying
- Eyes that look sunken
- In babies, the soft spot (fontanelle) on top of the head looks sunken
- Peeing less or fewer wet diapers than usual
- Dry, cool skin
- Drowsiness or dizziness
Four Gulps Per 15 Minutes
For every 15 minutes of outdoor activity, drink about four ounces of water; this is approximately four large gulps.
Pretzels, Fruit, Gold Fish
Every 30 – 45 minutes, give the child a snack with salt and potassium to help protect against electrolyte loss and promote hydration. Pretzels, goldfish or a cheese stick with some oranges, banana or strawberries are good options. Avoid sugary sports drinks, which were developed with an adult’s body in mind.
½ Water; ½ Milk, Fruit Juice, or Smoothies
Children should drink half of their fluids from water and the other half from milk, 100 percent fruit juice or smoothies.
Increase Hydration with Popsicles, Gelato, Smoothies, Yogurt
A great way to increase hydration in children is to make homemade popsicles and gelato with real fruit, providing a fresh fruit smoothie made with coconut water, milk or milk substitute. Yogurt after some time outside is great, too!
Skip The Soda: Carbonated water mixed with fruit juice is a great alternative to soda. Use frozen fruit as ice cubes in water or seltzer waters, too.