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Prevent dehydration in children

During the summer, children spend a lot if time outside. So before sending them out, here are some simple tips to prevent dehydration.

Dehydration happens when the body looses too many fluids and can happen at any age but is more dangerous for babies and children than for adults. Because children have a greater surface area relative to their body mass, they often gain heat faster than adults when the air temperature is higher than the body temperature.

Here are a some tips to avoid dehydration in your child this summer:

  • Slowly acclimate children to the heat and humidity of summer: at first, avoid long hours under the sun, take breaks away from the sun, where it is cooler, to let them rest and rehydrate.
  • Make them wear light clothing in light colors.
  • When you go out during hot days, don’t forget to bring enough liquids and food with high water content like fruits, vegetables and yogurt, as well as ice to keep it fresh.
  • Accustom your child to carry a bottle of water.

Beware!

When you are thirsty, your body is already slightly dehydrated. Serve little amounts of water and drinks several times throughout the day.

Water needs

The daily water requirements per kilogram of body weight of a 7 to 10 years old child are 70-85 ml and children aged 1 to 6 years old need 90-100 ml. Needs increase of 30ml per kilogram of body weight for each temperature rise of 1 °C from 30 °C.

In case of fever, water needs increase by 10% for each degree above 38 °C.

It is especially important to monitor the volume and frequency of liquid absorbed by your children because their sense of thirst is not as developed as that of adults. Children should drink about 125 ml (4 oz) of cold liquids every 15 to 20 minutes.

Finally, this summer, you should choose smoothies and cold drinks. So grab your blender, some fruits, milk and ice!

Samah Fares

Nutritionist/dietitian

Samah Fares is a nutritionist who graduated from the University of Montreal. Because of her love of children, she decided to work in a pediatric setting and chose the CHU Sainte-Justine to study children and pregnant women nutrition. At the CHU Sainte-Justine pediatric clinic, Samah has worked with mothers and children to help them develop good eating habits. Her experience in child nutrition therapy encompasses several specialties: diabetes, cystic fibrosis, kidney diseases, genetic diseases and lipidemia. Samah is a member of the Ordre professionnel des Diététistes du Québec.

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