Drink a Lotta Water: 7 Tips to Prevent Dehydration July 6, 2012

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When warmer weather hits, many kids want to be outside. On hot summer days, children on the go are especially susceptible to getting dehydrated.

To help prevent dehydration and its potentially serious effects, it's important to send kids outdoors with enough water to drink to avoid becoming hydrated.

Here are seven tips to keep your children hydrated and enjoying their summer. Set a good example and follow them, too!

  • Give water often. If your child is active outside, provide a cool drink of water every 20 minutes or so. Give kids their own water bottles so they can drink often.
  • Don't wait until your child wants a drink. By the time kids realize they are thirsty, they are already dehydrated. Regular sips of water will replenish lost fluids and help keep temperatures in check.
  • Cut out soda. It has no nutritional value and adds unnecessary calories. Plus, sugary soft drinks do not combat thirst. Water is always the best option.
  • Sweeten water naturally. Give water a flavorful twist by adding a few berries or a squeeze of orange or lemon.
  • Serve juicy snacks. Fruits such as watermelon and oranges have a high concentration of water and are very good for your children during summer months. So are water-heavy veggies including cucumbers and bell peppers. Make it fun â€" create caterpillars from grapes and sliced chunks of fruit or provide healthy dips to dunk those veggies.
  • Limit strenuous activity during the hottest part of the day. Whenever possible, try to keep your children from engaging in strenuous outdoor sports activities between noon and 6 p.m. If they must participate, make sure they take breaks and get enough water to drink.
  • Know the signs. Two early signs of dehydration are irritability and fatigue. If your child is tired or crabby, it's time to get out of the heat and take a water break. If your child appears weak, has a headache or nausea or begins to vomit, give him a bath in cool water (not cold), and call your medical provider for further advice.

Good Health for Kids is produced by Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas and the Children's/AISD Student Health Services Program.

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