Caring for Your Child’s Hydration Needs in Winter
Winter does away with the heat and sweat, so it’s natural to believe that your child doesn’t need to consume as much water as he or she did during the summer months. However, keeping children well-hydrated to maintain their overall health is crucial in the winter too.
Parents need to be more alert of their child’s hydration levels as the lack of heat and perspiration may mean that your child isn’t aware that he or she is dehydrated.
“Often, parents tend to neglect their child’s water consumption during winter. As a child’s thirst mechanism is still not fully developed, unless reminded frequently, they won’t consume sufficient amount of water to maintain optimum health status. Proper hydration is just as important to human health in the winter as it is in the summer”, clarifies Dr. V. A. Kotrashetti, MBBS, MD. (Pediatrics).
Did You Know: Dehydration Can Lead to Memory Loss in Children?
When children do not drink enough water frequently, it can lead to dehydration. Mild dehydration is not life threatening, but it may cause several disturbing symptoms in children such as cognitive impairment, headaches, reduced concentration, and nausea in severe cases1. In younger children, the signs of dehydration include crankiness, infrequent urination, dry mouth and lack of tears when crying.
“When children are adequately hydrated, they are more likely to perform better at school, both in their academics and in extra-curricular activities.” adds Dr. V. A. Kotrashetti. In fact, a study has shown that children who are more dehydrated have poorer memory.
How Can a Parent Ensure Their Child Drinks the Required Amount of Water Daily?
Dr. V. A. Kotrashetti suggests that an ideal method to ensure adequate water consumption by your kids, is to set up a daily schedule - “Making a schedule for drinking water works well with children. Remind them to drink a glass of water when their favourite TV show starts or when their recess just begins at school. This way they won’t forget to drink enough water.”
Parents must ensure that their child drinks clean and pure water to keep them protected from unwanted water-borne diseases.
• Use branded packaged drinking water or pack a bottle of purified water for your child.
• Educate them not to drink water from water coolers at the mall or in public places as its purity may be questionable.
• Most commercially available water bottles are meant for single use only. Do not reuse those bottles as they can develop a bacterial biofilm which is hazardous for children’s health.
“There is always a risk of contracting a water-borne disease irrespective of whether it is summer or winter. Drinking clean and pure water will safeguard children from such diseases and simultaneously keep them hydrated too”, says Dr. ABC.
Depending on the level of their physical activity and body weight, children need to drink a minimum of 1.5-2 L of water daily. Consult your paediatrician to know how much water your child needs.
Managing Hydration Needs of Fussy Children
For fussy children who do not like to drink water, parents can try the following tips:
• Offer them lemon juice or any home-made juice with less added sugar.
• Tender coconut water along with the flesh works best in hydrating your child’s body.
• Encourage them to eat water rich fruits such as orange, mosambi, watermelon, etc. These water-rich fruits contain high amounts of vitamin C and antioxidants that benefit the child’s immune system and protects them from illnesses such as cold and flu.
Hydration is imperative for children and parents need to keep a watchful eye on their child’s daily drinks consumption. Providing them clean and pure water will help them grow into healthy adults.
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