How to Tell If Your Kid Is Suffering from Dehydration


Water loss and rehydration are a part of everyday life. Water evaporates from the skin and leaves the body when you breathe, cry, sweat, and use the toilet. A toddler gets most of their water needs from eating and drinking. When they lose more water than they take in, it can cause dehydration.

Urgent care for children includes watching out for dehydration. Read on to learn how to prevent this in your toddler and learn its dangers.

Signs of Dehydration

The warning signs of dehydration are not always obvious. Toddlers, who are more likely to have stomach flu, should be monitored closely for signs of dehydration. It can happen slowly, over time, or it can happen all at once. If your toddler is ill, then watch out for these warning signs:

  • chapped lips,
  • dark-colored urine,
  • little or no urine for eight hours,
  • cold or dry skin,
  • sunken eyes or sunken soft spot on the head (for babies),
  • excessive sleepiness,
  • low energy levels,
  • no tears when crying or an unusual amount of tears for babies,
  • extreme fussiness,
  • fast breathing, or
  • a fast heart rate

As a result, children could suffer from delirium or unconsciousness when left dehydrated.

The Health Risks

Toddlers are more prone to dehydration than older teens and adults because they have smaller bodies and smaller reserves of water. Thus, not drinking enough water contributes to this problem. The following can also lead to dehydration:

  • Fevers
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • excessive sweat
  • Poor fluid intake during an illness

A toddler’s diarrhea may be caused by an infection, a food allergy or sensitivity, a medical condition such as inflammatory bowel disease, or a reaction to any medication. Diarrhea can lead to dehydration, so be ready to respond with urgent care for children if they have watery stools or refuse to drink.

Urgent Care for Children When Dehydration Strikes

The best way to treat dehydration is to replenish your body’s fluids, but mild dehydration can be managed at home. If your toddler has diarrhea, vomiting, a fever, or shows signs of dehydration, you can

  • use Pedialyte, a commercial oral rehydration solution,
  • dilute juice or try milk until you get some Pedialyte,
  • continue offering small amounts frequently until their urine is clear; gradually increase the amount and frequency as you see fit,
  • or also give them breast milk while they recover.

Urgent Care for Children to Prevent Dehydration

Preventing dehydration of children depends on adults knowing the warning signs. If your toddler is excessively thirsty, it may already be too late. The best way to prevent dehydration is to be proactive by staying close to your child and ensuring they have enough fluids to drink throughout the day.

Ensure your child is vaccinated for the rotavirus and other vital vaccinations, including pneumonia and flu vaccines. Rotate your child’s immunizations with the gradual release oral vaccine (GRO/RV), which is one of the best ways to protect them long-term against certain infectious diseases.

Make sure your toddler is drinking plenty of water throughout the day, especially if they exercise or spend time outside on a hot summer day. Another important hydration tip is to discard plastic bottles that sit in a hot car for too long, as heat in plastic bottles – even if just left for a few hours – can kill bacteria, microorganisms, and viruses that cause diarrhea in children.


Though dehydration can strike any toddler, the good news is that it is entirely preventable and treatable. However, recognizing the warning signs can save your child’s life. If you believe your child is suffering from dehydration, follow the urgent care for children steps above to treat and prevent it from happening again immediately.

However, if these steps don’t work, be sure to contact a health provider such as Your Kids Urgent Care! We offer urgent care for children through superior pediatric services to all kids who enter our offices. When children get sick after-hours or on holidays, we firmly believe that parents shouldn’t have to make the troublesome decision to go to the Emergency Room or do nothing. Book an appointment at our Telemedicine Center today.

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