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Hydration and water facts for children

  • Hydration is particularly important for children as they have higher water requirements in relation to their body weight than adults
  • Children don’t always recognise the early stages of thirst, which can make them particularly vulnerable to becoming dehydrated, especially during times that can drive up their body fluid losses, for example when they are playing sport or during warm weather.

Dehydration

Even if only mild:

  •  can cause tiredness, headaches, lack of concentration, reduced mental performance and dry skin. 

What should children drink?

The British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) gives guidelines for the types of fluid to drink, and water is the only fluid which they recommend drinking “plenty” as it hydrates without calories or risking harm to teeth.

Top tips for keeping children healthily hydrated

  1. Children should aim to hydrate with plain, natural drinks that are unsweetened and free from additives.
  2. Starting in the morning with their breakfast, kids should aim to have 6-8 drinks per day which should ideally be water, milk, fruit juice/ vegetable juices.
  3. Children taking part in sports or exposed to warm weather need to replenish the lost fluids by drinking more water.
  4. Research suggests adequately hydrated children may perform better in school 
  5. Repeated tastings of water may help kids to develop a taste for water
  6.  To make it more fun you could add ice, a slice of lemon or a curly straw.
For more information download the Hydration for Children fact sheet.
 

Water facts for children

  1. When we are born water makes up about 75% of our body weight.
  2. Water makes up about 60% of the body weight of older children and adults 
  3. Water is constantly being lost from our body (when we go to the toilet, when we breathe, when we sweat) so if we don’t drink enough we become dehydrated.
  4. Water helps our body in many ways:
    • It carries nutrients to cells;
    • It helps to remove waste products from our major organs;
    • It helps us to control our body temperature.
  5. Water is found in all drinks and also in food. For example water is in orange juice and milk; it is also in fruits and vegetables. It is even in cheese!
  6. People can survive for up to 50 days without food but only a few days without drinking water.