More information on dehydration in children
This article is about dehydration in children and what to do if you think your baby may be dehydrated. There are some signs and symptoms you need to be aware of, ways to treat dehydration and ways to prevent it.
Babies are naturally low in body weight, and this causes them to be sensitive to fluid loss, even on a small scale. Babies, like adults, need to drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated.
Symptoms and signs of dehydration in babies:
- Producing far fewer wet nappies than they usually do, with darker urine.
- Being more floppy or irritable than usual.
- Looking unwell.
- Having dry skin.
If your baby has a sunken fontanelle – when the soft spot on top of their head is lower than usual, then this can also be a sign of dehydration.
How to treat dehydration in children:
Babies who are breastfed do not need any extra water as long as they are able to feed whenever they need to. Studies have shown that in hotter countries, babies take shorter, more frequent feeds so that they get milk more often.
Babies who are bottle-fed can have boiled water, cooled down in a bottle or small cup as well as their bottle. If bottle-fed babies act hungry but reject the bottle, it may be that they are thirsty. Offer them some water as well as continuing their normal feeds.
Once your baby is being weaned on to solid foods, they will need more water than when they were only drinking milk.