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Water Is Life! (All About Dehydration) 

With the sun shining and playdates in full swing, it’s easy for children to lose more fluids than they take in – when it’s ongoing, this is when we see kids getting dehydrated. Whether it’s the heat of summer or a bout of tummy troubles, dehydration can sneak up on kids fast. Let’s talk about what dehydration looks like, why it matters, and simple ways you can keep your litle ones hydrated and happy all season long. So, grab a cool drink and let’s dive in! 

Signs and Symptoms 

When it comes to dehydration, there are some clear signs to watch for. Think dry, cracked lips and less pee than usual, but don’t jump to immediate conclusions about dark or strong-smelling urine—it doesn’t always mean dehydration. Babies might not cry many tears, and when it gets more severe show a sunken fontanelle, and everyone, young or old, tends to have a faster heartbeat when they’re low on fluids. These clues help spot dehydration early so you can tackle it and keep everyone feeling their best. 

Risks and Dangers 

Dehydration poses significant risks and dangers, especially when left unchecked. In its severe stages, it can lead to weakness and potentially damage vital organs like the kidneys. Even mild dehydration can cause headaches and overall weakness, which can further discourage a child from drinking enough fluids, perpetuating a troubling cycle. Recognizing these effects is crucial as it underscores the importance of prompt hydration to maintain overall health and prevent complications. 


The best defense is a good offense here, and prevention is key whenever a child starts getting sick, no matter the cause. Sometimes, you have to absolutely insist that your child drinks, even if it means using a syringe and administering fluids directly into their mouth. Choice of fluids matters as well—start with small sips of clear fluids, then gradually advance in terms of volume and complexity of food/drink. Monitor wet diapers and trips to the restroom to ensure that your child is getting sufficient fluids in, so they can void them out. 

If your child is dehydrated, don’t assume that IV fluids are automatically needed and the only intervention that will solve the problem—most children can be rehydrated successfully just using oral rehydration therapy—small, frequent sips of clear liquids advancing slowly over time. 

Creative Ways to Hydrate 

To keep kids hydrated, get creative with their drinks. Infuse water with slices of lemon, cucumber, or berries for added flavor appeal. Try making homemade popsicles from hydrating fruits like watermelon or oranges, perfect for hot days or post-play hydration.  

Consider offering electrolyte drinks or coconut water to replenish minerals lost through sweat. Snacks like yogurt and juicy fruits also contribute to daily fluid intake. Clear broths and soups provide comforting hydration and essential electrolytes. These simple choices ensure children stay well-hydrated and nourished, especially during active summer days. 

From strep throat to stitches, we’re here for your family – wherever you are! Click here to find a PM Pediatric Urgent Care near you. Not near to an office? Get care with telemedicine, available in 15 states. 

About the Expert 

headshot of Dr. Christina Johns

Dr. Christina Johns is a nationally recognized pediatric emergency physician and Senior Medical Advisor at PM Pediatric Care. An official spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, she is board-certified in both pediatrics and pediatric emergency medicine. With extensive media experience, the proud mom of two teenagers shares over 20 years of pediatric expertise with patients and families everywhere. Follow Dr. Johns for more insights on children’s health!