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It is important for parents to monitor for the signs of dehydration, and to respond quickly.  Younger children and infants should be watched very closely, as they are more likely to become dehydrated than older children.

Signs of dehydration:

Dehydration usually occurs if your child has a fever, diarrhea, is vomiting, or sweats a lot during a hot day or physical activity.  Watch very carefully for signs of dehydration during these high-risk times:

  • Your child has a dry or sticky mouth.
  • Your child has few or no tears when crying
  • Eyes that look sunken into the head
  • Lack of urine for 12 hours in an older child, or small amount of dark yellow urine
  • Dry, cool skin
  • Lethargy or irritability
  • Fatigue or dizziness in an older child.

Signs of dehydration in an infant:

  • A ‘soft spot’ on your infant’s head that looks sunken
  • Lack of urine or wet diapers for 6-8 hours in an infant
  • Small amount of dark yellow urine in an infant.

Treating dehydration:

  • Allow older children to drink as much water as they want.
  • Water is the best fluid to drink at first. Gatorade or other fluids can be administered after an hour or two, but start with water.
  • Remove the child from the source of dehydration, (such as the sun), if possible.
  • In infants, continue breastfeeding, but stop formula. An oral re-hydration solution can be given between breast-feedings or in the place of formula. (You should not give infants straight water in a bottle without first consulting a doctor.)


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