Features June 2020

Kids and Dehydration: What You Need to Know

Summer is upon us and that means enduring the excessive Valley heat. If you have kids, you may worry about dehydration. You may have even experienced it with your kids already. Dehydration in kids can be mild, but it can get dangerous quickly. That’s because kids are good at going from 0-100, fast. Whether they’re outside for too long, sick, or just overheated, dehydration can set in quickly.

The obvious signs are dry lips, red cheeks, and not urinating. But there are some more serious symptoms that you may not realize are related to dehydration. These include fatigue, irritability, cold skin, dizziness, and sunken eyes. If your kid is showing any mix of these signs, it’s time to step in and help them replenish. 

What to do, and what NOT to do.

We’ve all seen the kid who doesn’t want to stop what they’re doing to come inside. It’s a battle you may have to fight, however, if you see that dehydration is setting in. No matter what, don’t let your child win that battle. Dehydration is one of the first steps on the path to heat stroke — a very real and very serious thing that happens way too often in Arizona.

After you get them indoors (or at the very least, into shade) start replenishing them. But here’s the rub — water might not be enough. Plain drinking water lacks electrolytes. Those are the little charged particles, derived from critical minerals, that send electrical impulses throughout our bodies to allow proper functioning of the heart, muscles, and nerves. The primary minerals that make up electrolytes are: magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium, and chloride. Unfortunately, these vital nutrients are stripped out of our water supply in the filtering process.

When you reach for electrolytes, be sure to read the label. The sports drinks we grew up with contain one ingredient most parents don’t want their kids to consumer: Sugar. (up to 72 grams to be precise.) Even those “electrolytes for kids” drinks still have added sugar.

How much electrolytes your child needs depends on your child and how active they are. Remember, It’s always a good idea to talk to your pediatrician if you’re unsure. And of course, don’t hesitate to call your doctor if your child is showing signs of extreme dehydration. This would include vomiting, diarrhea, extreme fatigue, and headache.

Kids are masters of going, going, going until they can’t go any more. Dehydration can sneak up fast and fierce. That’s why it’s up to us to know what to look for, and what to do about it so we can stop dehydration before it becomes serious.

Written by: By Ashley Leroux, Jigsaw Health

Ashley Leroux is the Director of Business Development for Jigsaw Health.

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