School-age child

The child does not drink much. Is it wrong?

The child does not drink much. Is it wrong?


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Water is the main component of our body (it is assumed that it constitutes up to 75 percent of the weight of the newborn and about 60 percent of the weight of the older child). Thus, its delivery, adequate to the age and health of our child, is as important as the proper supply of calories, vitamins and minerals. It should be remembered that even slight negligence in this regard, especially in the youngest children, can lead to life and health hazards dehydration conditions.

What is the child's basic daily water requirement?

The child's basic daily water demand is variable and depends primarily on his body weight and health. For simplicity, it can be assumed that it is:

  • For children with a body weight of 1 to 10 kilograms - 100 ml for each kilogram of body weight.
  • For children with a body weight of 10 to 20 kilograms - 1000 milliliters plus 50 ml / kg for every kilogram of body weight over 10 kilograms.
  • For children weighing over 20 kilograms - 1500 milliliters plus 20 ml / kg for each kilogram of body weight over 20 kilograms.

It should be remembered that the method of calculating fluid demand described above works only if our child is healthy.

How much fluid should a sick child drink?

Many conditions such as vomiting, diarrhea or fever cause the child to lose excess water. Thus, these situations need to be taken into account when calculating the daily fluid demand according to the following principles:

  • Diarrhea or vomiting in a child under 2 years old - an additional 50 to 100 milliliters of fluid after each episode.
  • Diarrhea or vomiting in a child over 2 years of agea - an additional 100 to 200 milliliters of fluid after each episode.
  • Fever - each degree above 37 degrees Celsius increases the need for liquids by 20 percent (for example, a 10-kilogram child with 38 degrees Celsius should take 1,400 milliliters of fluid).

What are the symptoms of dehydration in a child?

As we mentioned at the beginning, fluid shortages lead to dehydration, which is dangerous to both health and life. The symptoms include:

  • Changes in the child's behavior - the child may be listless, sleepy or irritable. In the most severe cases, a parent may have trouble waking up their child.
  • Dry skin and mucous membranes - the skin of a dehydrated child resembles the skin of an elderly person (the so-called standing skin fold is characteristic - skin caught between two fingers very slowly returns to its original position).
  • Thirst - your child has a greater desire to drink than usual. This symptom is more common in older children whose thirst mechanism is already fully developed.
  • Cry without tears - the child behaves as if he was crying, but there are no traces of tears flowing on his face.
  • Weight loss - this symptom is very useful as long as your child's weight is measured regularly. What's more, this loss can be used to estimate the amount of fluid that your toddler needs to be refilled, especially for the youngest children.
  • Sunken fonts - this symptom is characteristic of dehydrated infants in whom it is very difficult to observe other symptoms of fluid deficiency.
  • Sunken eyeballs - this symptom may be difficult to grasp by the parent.
  • Reduced urine output - a dehydrated child will pee very rarely or not at all, and his urine will have a very intense yellow color.

Of course, to talk about dehydration, in our child they may not be all of the symptoms listed above. Some of them, especially the lack of urination, or a problem with waking up a child occur only in very dehydrated babies and are absolute indications for their urgent hospitalization and starting intravenous hydration.

Your child has symptoms of dehydration - what to do?

Observing any symptoms of dehydration in a child, especially if they are accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea or fever, are an indication for an urgent visit to a doctor who after examining the child will recommend further action. If the fluid loss is low, hydration therapy can be carried out at home using only oral agents. Severe cases, as well as any dehydration in a child under 6 months of age, require hospitalization and, depending on the situation, oral or intravenous drip irrigation.

In summary, dehydration is a condition that threatens the health and life of the child. However, it should be remembered that in many cases it can be effectively prevented by taking care of adequate amounts of fluid taken by the toddler, especially during periods of illness (the child has a fever or is vomiting).

Bibliography:Pediatrics - Wanda Kawalec