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Symptoms of Dehydration in Children and How to Overcome It

Not only occurs in adults, but dehydration can also be experienced by children. However, dehydration in children is often not realized. Mothers should know the symptoms of dehydration in children so that they can prevent more severe conditions.

Children are more prone to dehydration than adults. In children, playing in hot weather, traveling far, excessive urination, fever, vomiting, and diarrhea can easily cause dehydration.

The reason children are easily dehydrated

There are several reasons why children are more easily dehydrated than adults.

  • Children have small bodies so that the water reserves in the body will quickly run out. Conversely, adults have a large body so that the condition of dehydration will not easily occur.
  • Children who can walk tend to have difficulty stopping to explore. Eventually, they become exhausted, their bodies sweat, and experience excessive thirst.
  • Sometimes children cannot take their drinks. Parents also often give milk only at certain hours. Finally, the child just surrenders to accepting what parents give them even though they are very hungry.
  • Not all children actively request drinking from their parents. Some who cannot speak can only cry. Parents sometimes understand and sometimes do not mean the child so that the condition of dehydration is more common.
  • The air is very hot and the child is very active. Sometimes children do not know the hours and weather conditions. As long as it's fun even though it's under the hot sun until it's tired.

Causes of body fluid loss

Apart from what is written above, children also often experience dehydration due to some medical disorders below.

  • High fever When the body has a fever, the body will carry out a cooling mechanism. Eventually, the water will be released into the skin so that it is not too high and triggers dehydration.
  • Children easily vomit especially when they are less than a year old. For example, when breastfeeding to his mother and too full often vomit or spit up many times. Children aged 2 years and above also often vomit due to many moves when the stomach is full.
  • The immune system of children is not high and makes free radicals easily enter. Also, many children like to eat carelessly and trigger diarrhea conditions that remove a lot of body fluids.
  • Children are lazy to drink. Some children are very difficult to be asked to drink and eat. This condition can cause dehydration quickly in the body.

Symptoms of Dehydration in Children

Here are some symptoms of dehydration in children that parents should recognize:

  • The child's mouth is dry and chapped lips.
  • The frequency of urination becomes rare, not even for more than 6-8 hours.
  • Children become sleepy and look weaker.
  • The child's eyes look more concave.
  • The child's skin becomes drier and rather cold.
  • Children look inactive.
  • The frequency of a child's breathing becomes faster and deeper.

This condition must be dealt with immediately because if it continues, it can endanger life.

How to Overcome Dehydration in Children

When experiencing mild dehydration, parents can make some of the following initial treatments:

1. Give sufficient fluid intake

If the child has symptoms of dehydration, immediately provide adequate fluid intake. The mother can give her water, ORS solution, or other fluids. Giving this liquid is useful to replace fluids and salts (electrolytes) that are lost from the body.

2. Give subordinates that contain lots of water

The mother can provide fruits that are rich in water content. This method can overcome mild dehydration in children. Some fruits have enough water content are watermelons, melons, oranges, cucumbers, and strawberries.

3. Make sure the child gets enough rest

After getting adequate fluid intake, make sure the child has enough rest. This aims to speed up the recovery process.

4. Avoid giving children caffeinated drinks

When a child is dehydrated, avoid giving drinks containing caffeine to him. Giving caffeinated drinks to dehydrated children can worsen his condition. Some drinks that contain caffeine levels are tea, soft drinks, and chocolate.

You can do some of the above self-treatment when your child has symptoms of dehydration. But if the symptoms of dehydration in children are getting heavier, immediately visit a doctor to get the right treatment.



  1. The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne (2018). Dehydration. 
  2. American Academy of Family Physicians (2017). Family Doctor. Dehydration. 

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