Categorized | Health, Toddler Sickness

Dehydration In Children

Children are more prone to dehydration than adults. It occurs when the body lacks enough fluid. Dehydration in children can be lethal. Here is a guide to help you become more aware of this condition so you can protect your toddler from this life-threatening illness.


Lack of Fluids

The most obvious reason why a toddler gets dehydrated is because he is not drinking enough liquids, especially during the summer season or when doing vigorous activities.

Viral and Bacterial Infections

Dehydration is most often caused by a viral infection like rotavirus and adenovirus (infections of the lung, stomach, intestine and eyes) or a bacterial infection such as salmonella or e-coli. Viral and bacterial infections can cause fever, vomiting, diarrhea and a decreased ability to eat and drink, draining the body of important body fluids.

Parasitic Infections

Parasitic diseases such as Giardia lamblia – a parasite responsible for a transmittable form of diarrhea.

Medical Conditions

Cystic fibrosis and medical conditions that cause excessive urination such as diabetes can cause dehydration. Some medications that are prescribed to toddlers can also lead to fluid loss.

Signs and Symptoms

If a toddler is dehydrated, he may show one or more of these symptoms:

  • Decreased frequency of urination (may go up to 12 hours without urinating and if he does urinate, his urine looks darker and smells stronger than usual)
  • No tears while crying
  • Dry or sticky mouth and tongue
  • Sunken eyes
  • Lethargy (feeling exhausted and sluggish)
  • Extreme fussiness
  • Fever
  • Increased thirst

When To Call A Doctor

If your toddler is dehydrated, it would be best to call the doctor for advice and to make sure your toddler is not seriously dehydrated. But, if you notice your toddler shows serious signs of dehydration - temperature is higher than 103 degrees Fahrenheit, severe abdominal pain and frequent vomiting, take your toddler to the emergency room right away.


Increase Fluid Intake

If your doctor recommends it, you may let your toddler drink an oral rehydration solution such as Pedialyte and ReVital. You may also offer freezer pops, flat soda, ice chips and clear soup. If he has trouble keeping the solution down, try giving him 1 tablespoon of liquid every 15 minutes. Steer clear of plain water, gelatine, juices, sodas, chicken broth and sports drinks as they do not have the necessary electrolytes to replace the lost fluids in the body.


Give your toddler the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, apples and toast) 4 hours after vomiting stops. After 24 to 48 hours, you can continue on your toddler’s regular diet.

Keep Your Toddler Comfortable

Stay in a well-ventilated place. Dress your toddler in lightweight clothing. See to it your toddler gets plenty of rest and do not allow him to play physically demanding games for the mean time. Read a book, talk, listen to music or play board games to keep him entertained.

IV Fluids

For severe dehydration, your toddler might have to stay in the hospital and receive IV fluids through an intravenous tube until he is rehydrated.

Dehydration is a serious condition. But, you can prevent your toddler from getting dehydrated by making sure your child is consuming plenty of fluids throughout the day, maintaining a healthy diet and getting adequate rest.

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November 2017
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