Gosh, it is hot out there. I know I chose to live in Tucson, AZ and it comes with the territory but the heat of the summer always leaves me a bit sweaty, tired, and cranky. For our kids however, it is not always so obvious that the heat is getting to them. This is the time of year that not hydrating properly and maintaining a certain electrolyte balance can be dangerous. We need to let our kids get outside in nature and playing every day. We also need to keep our kids hydrated.
Signs of Dehydration:
There are two clinical stages of dehydration. Here are the things to watch for…
Stage 1 is when your child complains about being thirsty, begins to act restless or lethargic, and probably acts irritated if you try to touch them. Their eyes will be slightly sunken, mouth will be “sticky”, urine will be darker colored and they will have decreased tears.
Stage 2 is more serious and requires hospitalization. This is the point when your child will act drowsy, limp, cold and sweaty and possibly even comatose. Their eyes will be very sunken and their mouth will be dry. They stop producing urine and tears. If they get to this point, please proceed directly to the emergency room.
If you can catch your child in stage 1, there are some easy things that you can do.
3 Tips to Get Your Kids Hydrated:
- Popsicles: Sometimes with dehydration, your child can feel nauseated and will even vomit, especially if they drink water too quickly. This is why popsicles are such a win on hot days. They are cooling and hydrating at the same time and help with nausea by not overwhelming their bellies. Ideally, you could make electrolyte popsicles (see the recipe below) to have on hand but in reality, any sort of popsicle will do the trick. And, it will likely take them out of the cranky mood – a double win!
- Electrolyte Water: At minimum, add a pinch of sea salt to any cup of water before giving it to your hot kiddo and have them drink slowly. The amount of salt shouldn’t be enough that they taste it too much. Electrolyte drinks, like Pedialyte or Gatorade, have weird colors and sugars in them. They are not my first choice, but they are definitely better than going to the hospital and will do the trick if you have them on hand. Coconut water is better but only for children over the age of 2-years as the sodium-potassium balance isn’t quite right for the littles. My family likes the Nuun tablets (no affiliation). They add flavor and electrolytes to water, taste good and work well. Just be sure not to purchase the kind with caffeine in them too.
- Epsom Salt Bath: This one may sound weird, but it will definitely make your child feel better. In this case, use 1 cup of epsom salt in a warm bath (just warm enough to dissolve the salt) and let your child soak for 10-15 minutes. It will calm them down, relax any tight muscles, and take away any headaches. Have them slowly sip on water or eat a popsicle while they are in the bath and they will soon be good to go in no time at all.
Watch For More Information on Getting Your Kids Hydrated:
Dr. Kate Sage is a naturopathic family physician at Intuition Wellness Center in Tucson, AZ. To schedule an appointment, please fill out an online request or visit give us a call at 520-333-3320.
At Intuition Wellness Center, we specialize in health and wellness services for children, young adults, and their families. If you think you would like some extra support, we’re here for you.
By Kate Sage, NMD; Naturopathic Family Physician at Intuition Wellness Center