As children are more prone to dehydration than adults and Thailand is definitely having one of the hottest summers in five decades, with thanks to our friends at Samitivej hospital below are 6 tips for keeping kids hydrated so they stay healthy in the heat.
Know How Much Liquid 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. Keep an eye on the colour of your kids urine, when it’s at its darkest yellow, signs of dehydration are setting in, when it’s clear that means your child is drinking sufficient amounts of fluid.
Drinks at Moderate Temperature are Best
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 and they have a tendency to start drinking but not drink too much, as it’s too cold for them. As tempting as it is to fill drinks with ice, just add a few cubes, let it melt slightly and then give your child the drink as they will find this easier to drink. Another good idea is to invest in a thermos bottle that keeps their fluids cold.
Serve Fruits as a part of their 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 or make them into interesting shapes or skewers. Let the kids experiment with what fruits they like to eat or mix together for a smoothie. Nothing encourages kids to eat fruit more than when they take control over being creative and having fun in the kitchen.
Ensure They Drink 30 mins Before an Activity.
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. How many kids vomit after their football matches or triathlons at school after playing or running in the heat (I know mine did) encourage them to drink before they know they have an outside PE class and keep a water bottle with them at all times.
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. There are some great suppliers in Bangkok of yoghurt rich ice lollies which are great to keep in the freezer on hot days for extra hydration. Check-out Stickhouse Thailand, our favourite for healthy ice treats.
Don’t Wait for Kids to Tell You They’re Thirsty
Keep offering water, especially to the little ones 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. The rule is when a child is thirsty they are already getting dehydrated.
Avoid Heat stroke at all costs as this can be a very serious condition in children.