Hydration Guide for Kids

Jun 16, 2022 | Children's Health

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Making sure your little ones stay hydrated is a year-round challenge, but it’s even more top-of-mind when it’s hot outside.

Don’t let the heat keep you and your family from moving and grooving this summer—stay active and hydrated with our guide to the best ways to replenish fluids. 

Water

Good old H2O is the best drink for kids to stay hydrated and prevent dehydration. Be sure to offer lots of cold water throughout any hot outing or activity. 

Kids often don’t know they’re thirsty until they’re REALLY thirsty, so remind them to keep sipping, especially when spending time outside. How much to drink? Read more about the right amount of fluids your child needs.

Sports Drinks

When kids are outside playing in the heat for more than an hour, a little more than water may be called for.

When our bodies sweat, we lose salt. Sports drinks like Powerade and Gatorade include sodium to replenish that loss and other electrolytes. It’s good to offer them during or after longer sports practices. Unfortunately, most also have added sugar.

Trying lower-sugar versions can help cut calories when that’s a concern. Another option to replenish sodium levels without adding calories or sugar is providing a salty snack with water. 

Moderate Sugar

Pedialyte and similar oral rehydration solutions such as Liquid I.V. are often a go-to for parents to avoid dehydration when their child is sick. They also can be a good option to stay hydrated while being active during summer heat, with less sugar than sports drinks.

Kool-Aid, Capri Sun and other juice boxes are super-convenient, tasty and fun for little ones. But they shouldn’t be the first thing parents reach for to quench kids’ thirst. Save the sweeter drinks for special occasions or cut juice with water.

Milk

Although drinking milk in the heat doesn’t sound great, eating an ice pop does. A sweet treat with Greek yogurt for protein can double up to offer hydration and protein. Milk of any type can be an important way for kids older than 1 to stay hydrated, whether cow’s milk, almond milk or even coconut milk.

Hydrating Foods

If water isn’t your little one’s jam, you can sneak in extra hydration with the foods they eat. Or, whip up a smoothie for a cool, refreshing treat that provides hydration and packs a punch with extra nutrition.

Watery fruits such as watermelon, strawberries, peaches, cantaloupe and other melons, and veggies such as cucumber, tomatoes, celery and lettuce, can fill in the gaps and keep your little one feeling their best while staying active in the heat. 

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