7 Signs Of Dehydration In Kids And How To Treat Them

We can easily say that water is an essential part of life. This element constitutes 60% of a human body. Thanks to water, our bodies receive proper nutrition while kidneys work to flush waste products away. On top of these all, without water, we could never maintain the ideal body temperature.

Dehydration in kids occurs when an excessive amount of fluid is lost by the child. This can sometimes be a common problem for children. Luckily, this scenario has an easy fix. The important thing is to recognize the signs of dehydration in children as soon as possible.

dried fruits assorted dehydrated apricots, cherries, apples

1. Dry Skin

One surefire way to identify signs of dehydration in kids is to pay close attention to a child’s skin. Approximately one-third of the external tissue consists of water. When there is not enough water present in the body, it does not take very long for the skin to show the signs of this deficiency.

Dehydration causes the skin to lose its elasticity. Because of this, a simple test that can be used to check for dehydration in kids. It involves pinching the skin on the back of the hand. If the child’s skin is slow to return to its previous position, the child is probably suffering from dehydration.

2. Showing Signs of Fatigue or Being Cranky

Another of the dependable signs of dehydration in kids is daytime fatigue. This fatigue can manifest itself in a number of ways. A child can seem listless or lethargic and can have trouble concentrating on schoolwork or other tasks. When it comes to progressed forms of dehydration, the little ones can become pale and physically weak.

Often times, the fatigue that results from dehydration in kids will cause the mood of a child to be negatively affected. The child could become easily irritable or exhibit an increased tendency to cry. Also, children suffering the effects of dehydration may not want to participate in playtime activities as much as usual.

3. Frequent Headaches

When the body is deprived of water, headaches can often occur. The theory is that these headaches are caused by a lowered blood volume and intracranial dehydration.

The good thing, in this case, is that water has been shown in multiple studies to provide relief from dehydration-induced headaches quickly. In one study, subjects were found to gain relief from these headaches in less than 30 minutes.

4. Changes in Frequency and Appearance of Urine

Dark, concentrated urine is one of the certain signs of dehydration in kids. A decreased amount of excreted urine is also a pretty sure sign that a child is in need of an increased fluid intake. It is very important for infants to pay closer attention to the appearance and amount of urine. They are not able to communicate any other symptoms they may be experiencing.

Infants younger than six months old who produce little or no urine for a six-hour period may be dehydrated. This is also true for toddlers who do not produce urine for 6 to 8 hours.

5. Salt Cravings

It is important to remember that when searching for signs of dehydration in kids much more than water loss is important. Salt and other electrolytes also leave the body along with fluids. When these substances are not adequately restored to the body, dehydration will occur. This is the reason that many sports drinks for athletes contain electrolytes to replenish the body.

Therefore, similar to the body’s natural response of craving water when needing fluids, dehydration in kids may be accompanied by a sudden and unexplained cravings for salt.

6. Bad or Odd Smelling Breath

small boy in red tshirt holding his mouth open with his hand

Saliva works to naturally clean the teeth and the mouth. The production of saliva is diminished when dehydrated which results in the buildup of bacteria in the mouth.

These bacteria can often become the source of bad or odd smelling breath. This is one of the unpleasant signs of dehydration in kids.

7. Rapid Pulse

An indication of more severe dehydration in kids is a weak and rapid pulse. The child may also not appear to be as alert as usual or become disoriented. The mouth and the lips of the child may also look dry or chalky. If these signs occur, the immediate help of qualified medical personnel should be sought.

How to Treat Signs of Dehydration

The remedy for dehydration in kids is to replenish the fluids that have been lost from the body. This is not a difficult thing to do. Luckily, in most cases, there is no need to alert a doctor. A few remedies that work are:

  • Consume Fruits and Vegetables- A great way to replenish the fluid levels of a child is to provide meals containing watery fruits and vegetables. Good examples of foods that could benefit this situation are cucumbers, watermelon, oranges, celery, and much more than can be named. One study concluded that eating fruits and vegetables high in water content can replenish the body when dehydrated with twice the efficiency that water can.
  • Coconut Water- Coconut water is used naturally for hydration in many tropical regions. The high electrolyte content of coconuts can be extremely useful in treating dehydration in kids. A glass of coconut water works better than a serving of many sports drinks.
  • Soups And Broths- Watery soups with vegetables are an excellent choice to replace lost fluids in the body. When combating dehydration in kids, be sure to add vegetables that are high in water content to the broth. It is important that the broth is not too thick.
  • Epsom Bath- Another excellent tactic for alleviating dehydration in kids that not many are aware of is to take a warm Epsom bath. Epsom salts are high in magnesium which obliterates the effects of dehydration.

happy little boy naked taking a bath in bathtub


It is not uncommon for kids to lose more fluids than is healthy for their bodies. The causes are various from a brief illnesses to excess sweating through playtime or organized sports activities. It is important to know the signs of dehydration in kids. This way, when this problem occurs, parents can take the necessary steps to provide relief as quickly as possible.

Once it is noted that a child is suffering from dehydration, the use of one or more of the treatment methods described above should be sufficient to solve the problem. When dehydration in kids persists for more than just a few days, the family should contact a physician.

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