As children are more prone to dehydration than adults (and Thailand heads into the hottest summer in five decades!), below are 6 tips for keeping kids hydrated so they stay healthy in the heat.
1. Know how much liquids they need. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children drink around six cups of water daily on average. Teens need as much as adults (eight to 11 cups), while toddlers aged 1 to 3 should have four cups of fluids a day. During activity, however, more liquids are required as a child can lose up to a half-litre of fluid per hour.
2. Drinks are moderate temperatures are better. Ice-cold drinks might seem more refreshing when you’re hot and sweaty, but it’s harder for kids to drink the necessary quantities at extreme temperatures.
3. Serve fruits as a part of kids’ meals or snacks. In addition to being nutritious, many fruits (and vegetables) are excellent sources of water. In Bangkok, great hydrating options include watermelon, cucumber, papaya and coconut water. You could also make your own popsicles with pureed fruit as a fluid-rich treat.
4. Get them to eat yogurt. Regular plain yogurt contains over 80 per cent water (the fuller fat ones have more water than low fat varieties), with the added benefits of calcium and good bacteria cultures.
5. Ensure that children drink 30 minutes or so before an activity, and then every 20 minutes during the activity, especially when it’s hot outside. For older children, beverages containing electrolytes are okay during prolonged, vigorous exercise but keep in mind that sports drinks are usually high in sugar and calories.
6. Don’t wait for children, especially the little ones, to tell you they’re thirsty. Keep offering water and other hydrating foods and beverages throughout the day. When out and about, bring your own reusable travel bottles and keep them filled each time you head out of the house with your children.