The Importance of Giving Fluids to Dehydrated Infants and Children

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Normally, we all lose a significant amount of body fluid on a daily basis. The common ways to lose body water is through sweat, urine, tears, and feces. We also lose water vapor through our skin and from breathing.  But under normal conditions, as well, these lost salt and fluids are replaced when we take fluids and foods with salts together with our daily diet.

However, when the fluids amount of fluids lost are more than the amount of fluid we take, such as during diarrhea, prolonged periods of exercise, excessive sweating due to exposure to sun, as well as vomiting, it can result to dehydration. Unlike adults who can verbally express what they are feeling, children do not have the necessary knowledge to tell adults how and what exactly they are feeling. They are, therefore, more of a concern when it comes to dehydration.

Ways To Recognize Dehydration in Children:

  • Before we can move forward to giving fluids and rehydration solutions to children, it is first important to know the common signs and symptoms of dehydration in children.
  • Mild dehydration – slight dryness of the mouth, slight urine output decrease, and slight increase in thirst.
  • Moderate dehydration – dry mouth and lips, slight tachycardia, slight to no urine, dry skin, and sunken fontanels and eyes.
  • Severe dehydration – loss of consciousness, shallow and rapid breathing, threading pulse, decreased blood pressure and slow capillary refill.

Why Are Fluids Given, Then?

Fluids are not only given to children to prevent dehydration. They are also given as a primary intervention when kids become dehydration.  This is particularly important for those children who are having episodes of diarrhea or severely vomiting. Although cases vary from one child to another, the standard protocol of giving fluids is never disregarded.

Aside from fluids, oral rehydration solutions are also given to the dehydrated child to replace the lost electrolytes in the body. The amount of fluids to be taken should compensate with the total fluid deficit or the fluid output of the body during dehydration.

Important Points to Consider:

  • Thirst is a first sign of dehydration. But this is usually not a good sign, because we should consider that when the child is thirsty, it means that he or she is already experiencing mild dehydration. So, even before thirst occurs, it is necessary to keep the child hydration, especially if he or she is experiencing any of the conditions mentioned above.
  • If the victim is three years old and below, an infant one month and below, or had been unconscious because of severe complications, it is necessary to seek emergency assistance.

If you want to learn more about basic first aid and CPR procedures, check out our location page for more information.

Related Video on Dehydration:

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“Dehydration and Diarrhea in Children.” Caring for Kids. Retrieved online on December 21, 2014 from

“Dehydration in Children.” Merck Manuals. Retrieved online on December 21, 2014 from

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