Hydrated Kids Are Healthy Kids!

 19 Nov 2015

Staying hydrated as an adult is relatively easy – just grab a drink of water when you’re thirsty! Children, on the other hand, can struggle to recognise the signs of dehydration, especially if they’re unwell or distracted by play.
But keeping children properly hydrated is about much more than quenching their thirst. Hydration affects a surprising range of the bodily functions that play a major role in our kids’ ability to stay happy and healthy.
How dehydration affects our children
The bodies of children and adults alike are around 70% water. It carries nutrients and oxygen to our cells, clears out toxins and helps us stay active during the day without overheating.

A lack of water has a major impact not only on our physical wellbeing, but also our brains. Research shows that dehydration can lead to fatigue, crankiness and poor concentration along with short term memory loss.

During the day, we lose water through breathing, sweating and expelling waste. Children are especially prone to dehydration because they spend so much of their day engaged in active play.
Children are also highly susceptible to fevers and infectious illnesses causing vomiting and diarrhoea. Under these conditions, they not only lose fluids due to the nature of the illness, but can often refuse to take in fluids if they’re feeling lethargic or irritable.

Signs of dehydration in children

Some experts suggest that thirst is not a good first indicator of dehydration. In fact, by the time we feel thirsty, our bodies may already be suffering the impact of insufficient fluids. 
There are several other signs that indicate a child may be dehydrated, including:

  • Dry lips.
  • A dry or sticky mouth.
  • Red cheeks.
  • Lethargy or dizziness.
  • Poor concentration.
  • Irritability.
  • Few or no tears when crying.
  • Little or no urine output.
  • Constipation and tummy pains.
Luckily, children’s bodies are very responsive when fluids are reintroduced. If you notice any of these symptoms, clean, fresh water may be the only medicine needed to put the spark back into your little one.

If symptoms persist, however, it’s important to seek medical advice. If left untreated, dehydration can have serious health consequences for growing bodies.

How to keep your child hydrated 

Naturally, the best to way to avoid dehydration is to ensure your child drinks plenty of water every day. Other drinks, like fruit juice, supply a small amount of fluid to the system, but they can bring their own risks, like a high sugar content. Clean, fresh water is always the best option.

Try these tips to encourage your child to drink more water:

  • Let them choose their own fun, brightly coloured drink bottle to carry with them to school, sports training or even just around the house.
  • Be sure that their sippy cups or drink bottles don’t have awkward straws or tricky lids that prevent quick and easy access to water.
  • If your child doesn’t like the taste of tap water, try changing the flavour by popping a slice of lemon or a few mint leaves into a jug in the fridge.
  • Better still, consider installing a water filtering system so that your tap water is as pure and tasty as possible.
  • Let the kids have fun making their own ice cubes, snow cones or fruit ice blocks with plenty of water in the mix.
  • Model healthy behaviour by topping up your own water bottle through the day too!

Experience the Zip Effect. It’s easier to help kids drink more water when it’s clean, clear and tastes great!