Most American children do not drink enough water, which is especially risky in the hot and humidity of summer; 7/20/17

July 20, 2017


Most American children do not drink enough water, which is especially risky in the hot and humidity of summer. According to the Institute of Medicine, children ages 4-8 should drink 2 quarts a day, teenage boys should drink 3.5 quarts a day, and teenage girls should drink 2.4 quarts a day. This is because children are more likely to overheat than adults because of their developing sweating mechanisms; kids may be sweating out all of the water in their bodies, so they need water to keep up for all the fluid they may lose from being in the heat.

One study suggests that most American children are dehydrated. Dr. Patrice Evans from Tulane University School of Medicine says that decreased times a child urinates is a telltale sign of urination. She suggests that parents check if their child is peeing every four to five hours. She also says that signs of urination include darker urine, chapped lips, headache, and a fast heart rate. Even a child’s attitude may be a sign of dehydration, like a child who was previously playing happily who suddenly just wants to sit.

It is important for parents, caregivers, coaches, and camp counselors are making sure that children are drinking enough. According to Dr. Kelsey Logan from Cincinnati Children’s, kids will drink water when it is available to them, and plenty of it. It is also important to schedule water breaks during sports practices or outside play time. This is because kids may become so focused in playing that they would forget to drink on their own. Putting water in a favorite sippy cup is also a useful tool for encouragement.

If it is still difficult for your child to drink water, experts allow for any fluids to count toward your child’s daily fluid intake. These all contain water, so it contributes to the daily intake. Although water is the preferred and healthiest options, children can receive their daily fluid intake from fresh fruit such as watermelon, milk, juice, and popsicles. Be sure to avoid energy drinks because their high levels of caffeine, which may lead to dehydration down the line, as well as changing sleep patterns. Sports drinks are also very high in sugar, which may lead to obesity and tooth decay.

As the days only getter hotter and more humid, make frequent checks that your child is drinking enough water, or find creative and healthy ways to make sure they are properly hydrated.

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