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How to Prevent and Treat Dehydration in Children

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Summertime is a time of great peril for young children as we are often unaware of how much body fluid they have lost through sweating.  Dehydration happens quickly.  If may occur due to hot weather and or over dressing your child.  Babies are unable to regulate their body temperatures which means they are more effected by extreme heat than older children. 

Preventing dehydration while inside:

Dress baby in a nappy and singlet and sleep her in a nappy and light wrap.  Sleep and play in a cool room.  Sometimes keeping the windows closed will keep out the searing heat but if there is a cool breeze open windows for a cross-current where possible.  Offer extra fluids - cool boiled water in a cup or bottle.  Check that baby has frequent wet nappies.  If the urine is thick or smelly increase baby’s fluid intake.  Outside: Keep baby out of direct sun and protect from reflective heat or glare off the sand, water or concrete. Avoid going out between 10 am and 4 pm.  Wear a hat,  long sleeves cotton top and trousers and stay in 100% shade where ever possible. With older children - Slip, Slop and Slap .

Signs of dehydration:

Children becomes limp and lethargic.  Fontanel in babies becomes sunken. Urine becomes dark, thick and smelly. Skin if pinched and raised remains raised. 

Tips:  When traveling with young children always carry with you a bottle of  water (cooled boiled water for babies).

Remember:  Dehydration is extremely dangerous for small children if baby don’t respond or refuse to take fluids seek medical help immediately.  

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