Updated 05 May 2014

Treating a dehydrated child

It doesn't take much for a child to become dehydrated. Here's how to check whether your child is dehydrated or not and how you should treat it.

Dehydration can occur because of poor intake or excessive loss of fluids through vomiting, diarrhoea, sweating and urination. Young children are at greater risk of dehydration than adults because their bodies have a higher percentage of water, their metabolic rates are higher and they are at greater risk of infections that cause vomiting and diarrhoea. They are also dependent on others to feed them and give them water.

Children can become dehydrated very quickly. During the early stages of dehydration, a child may complain of extreme thirst and young children may become very irritable. Suspect dehydration if you notice any of the following: chapped lips, oral dryness, restlessness and dry eyes.


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