Treating Dehydration in Children
Call 911 if your child:
- Is less than 1 month old
- Has extreme lethargy
- Has skin that doesn't bounce back when pinched
- Is breathing fast
- Is confused
Dehydration is a risk in babies and toddlers, especially in kids with vomiting, diarrhea, or fever. Take signs of dehydration seriously.
Call Doctor If:
- You are worried that your child may be dehydrated.
- Your child has been vomiting for more than 12 hours.
- Your child has had diarrhea for more than 24 hours.
- You see signs of dehydration like dry diapers for eight hours, dry lips, sunken soft spot on the head, and crying with no tears.
1. Cool Off
- If your child has been in the sun or heat, get into a cool place.
- Dress your child in cool, lightweight clothing. This will also help if he has a fever.
2. Offer Fluids
- Give fluids in small amounts. Avoid juice or soda. If the child vomits afterward, wait 20 to 30 minutes and give the fluids again. If a child has vomited two or more times, call your pediatrician.
- If your infant is breastfeeding, continue to nurse your baby. Let him nurse more often.
- Your pediatrician may want you to give your baby small amounts of oral electrolyte solution. Check the amount with your doctor.
- Give toddlers about 1 tablespoon of oral electrolyte solution, ice chips, water, or clear broth every 15 minutes.
3. Go Slowly
- Encourage your child to take small frequent sips instead of drinking a lot at once.
- Offer Popsicles made with rehydration solution.
4. Observe Your Child
- If your child's symptoms aren't getting better, or your child continues to vomit, call your pediatrician or go to the emergency room.
- If your child is vomiting, do not give him acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). Don't give aspirin to a child under age 16.