A study by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that half of American kids show signs of dehydration — just because they don’t drink enough water. While this is always unhealthy, it can be dangerous on hot summer days. Keep kids hydrated to promote good long-term health, and prevent dehydration and heat-related illness this summer.
Why it’s important to drink water.
Drinking water and staying hydrated isn’t just important for good health, it’s vital. Water helps your body regulate body temperature, it lubricates joints, protects your spine and sensitive tissues, and helps remove waste from the body. Basically, water ensures that your body functions properly and we can’t survive without it.
Staying hydrated also helps your body resist health conditions caused by heat such as heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
But many people – both children and adults – don’t get enough water on a daily basis. Some drink water, just not enough of it. Others rely on beverages like coffee, juice, and soda for their daily fluid intake, and rarely drink water by itself. While it’s possible to meet your fluid needs through these beverages and some foods, water should be your beverage of choice.
Does your child drink enough water?
As a rough guideline, children between the ages of 4-8 need 5 cups of water a day, children between 9-14 need 8 cups a day, and children between 14-18 need 11 cups a day. However there are a number of factors that influence how much water a child needs. Age, gender, size, amount of physical activity, and climate all affect how much water your child needs in a day.
Children need more water during the summer when it’s hot outside, and they should drink even more while being active.
Things to keep in mind to help keep kids hydrated this summer.
- It’s always important to drink plenty of water, because it’s necessary for good health. However it’s even more important to stay hydrated on hot days because of the risk of heat-related illness.
- Children are more prone to dehydration than adults, so stay diligent about keeping your children hydrated.
- Always bring water with you when you’re out and about — on errands, on trips to the park, and on walks.
- Add fruit to your child’s water and make it fun!
- Eat more fruit and vegetables — they are 75% to 90% water. Try watermelon, strawberries or cucumbers.
- Make Popsicles with 100% fruit juice or pureed fruit, vegetables or yogurt.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially before getting in the sun or running around. Make sure that your children drink water during play as well.
- Children don’t think about whether or not they are hydrated. They might tell you when they are thirsty, but they’re already dehydrated by this time. It’s also possible that they get so caught up in playing that they fail to mention their thirst. Make sure your child drinks water every 30 minutes or so.
- Take breaks while playing to rest and get out of the sun. These breaks are a good opportunity to hydrate.