Your child’s health: Dehydration and children

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CLEVELAND - A recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health found half of all children don't drink enough water. And being dehydrated can be dangerous. Dr. Lolita McDavid, pediatrician with Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, says parents should look for the signs of dehydration in their children.

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"For little kids, they may get confused. They have the same thing in older children. You may see nausea in kids who don't get enough water. They may feel weak, they may have muscle cramps because they get dehydrated," Dr. McDavid said.

Jeff Lidawer, 17, runs track and cross country for Solon High. He is now well aware of the need to stay hydrated. "It wasn't until I got all confused and dizzy until I really started to take it seriously and I realized how important it actually was, “he said.

Dr. McDavid said one can lose consciousness, but that would be extreme dehydration. There are recommendations for the amount of water children should drink. "So, children up to four should have four 8 ounce servings of water a day. “Kids who are teenagers they really need 6 - 8 eight ounce servings a day,” Dr. McDavid said. That would be the equivalent of four 16-ounce water bottles a day.

The doctor goes on to say that kids who play sports may need more water. "The sports drinks, they're good if you're doing active sports like kids who are in summer outdoor sports, that also give you back salt and sugars that your body needs,” Dr. McDavid added.

But, most children are fine with plain old water. "Water is just water. It's not syrupy drinks. It's not sweet drinks. Plain old water -- plain old, Cleveland water from the tap water, that's all you need," Dr. McDavid said.

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