One of the worst things in the world is a sick toddler. Between the worry and the fact that there seems to be little that you can do for them when they’re sick makes it one of the worst experiences for a parent. A toddler's overall fluid volume is lower than an adult, so if they are vomiting or have diarrhea, the likelihood of them becoming dehydrated is high.
If they are vomiting, it is essential to try and maintain hydration or rehydrate slowly. Giving them teaspoons of liquid at a time as not to trigger vomiting. It's gut-wrenching when your toddler looks up at you with teary eyes, and all you can give them is a tablespoon of liquid. Just remember it's for the best. If they gulp down a cup of liquid, it's just going to come right back up. That will only upset them and start the process all over again.
Too much plain water or attempting to rehydrate with sports drinks can throw off the delicate balance of potassium and sodium in your toddler's system, which can be very serious. If your child shows signs of dehydration, it certainly warrants a call to your pediatrician. Symptoms of severe dehydration in children include:
- loose skin
- sunken eyes
- dry, cracked lips
- decreased urination
- lethargy or confusion
- lack of tears when crying
WHAT NOT TO GIVE YOUR TODDLER WHEN THEY’RE SICK
Some commonly reached for drinks to prevent dehydration are:
Gatorade - Sports drinks are not the right choice because of the amount of sugar and because they are made to replace electrolytes after sports that require a lot of exertion. The sugar is likely to upset a toddler's stomach further, and the amount of electrolytes in Gatorade may cause electrolyte imbalance in toddlers.
Fruit Juice - Even 100 percent fruit juice has a high sugar content, and some like apple and orange juices are highly acidic, which further irritate the stomach.
Soda - Ginger Ale seems to be something that we all were taught would soothe an upset stomach. However, Ginger Ale has very little ginger (which is the herb used to soothe an upset stomach) and a lot of sugar, which again is not good for the gut.
Vitamin Water - Vitamin water sounds like a great drink for kids however many varieties have caffeine, artificial ingredients, high sugar content, and herbal supplements that aren’t so great for kids. Vitamins should come from healthy meals and snacks.
None of these options are good ones for preventing dehydration or restoring rehydration, and the main reason is sugar. Let's take a look at some better options.
WHAT IS THE BEST ELECTROLYTE DRINK FOR YOUR TODDLER WHEN THEIR SICK
Spring water is always a good option when your child is sick as water does hydrate. The thing that water does not do is replace electrolytes, and too much water can dilute electrolytes and cause an electrolyte imbalance. However, it would be best if you continually offered small amounts of water or ice chips to your child when they are sick. Water and an oral rehydrating solution are the best options for hydration, as the water hydrates and the rehydrating solutions protect the electrolyte balance.
It is best to wait until they have had no occurrence of vomiting for at least 30 minutes and then begin giving them a tablespoon of clear liquids such as water or an oral rehydration solution every 5 minutes and increase slowly. If you are still breastfeeding, breast milk is also suitable for preventing dehydration and rehydrating.
Pedialyte is an over-the-counter rehydrating solution; however, it also has a high sugar concentration. It isn't as high as Gatorade or fruit juice in sugar, but the content is still high enough to cause stomach irritation.
The best drink to replace electrolytes is HYDRATE, a whole food, all-natural, organic solution with only 1g of sugar that comes from dehydrated lemon juice. You won't have to bargain with your child to get them to drink it either. This electrolyte drink tastes like homemade lemonade with a light, clean lemon flavor.
There is nothing in HYDRATE that will irritate your child's stomach, and it is safe to drink without fear of causing a mineral imbalance. With the highest quality ingredients on the planet and the purest electrolytes and minerals, you can feel good about giving it to your child when they are at their most vulnerable.
If you are having a hard time getting your child to drink, try freezing HYDRATE to make a popsicle or a slushy out of it. A lemonade ice pop or slushy will be tough to turn down.
HYDRATE is gentle enough for your kids to drink daily to encourage them to drink more and prevent dehydration. You've heard the saying, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?" Keeping your child well hydrated on a daily basis will help keep them hydrated when they get a stomach bug.
If your child is vomiting or has diarrhea, there is a risk of them becoming dehydrated. Stay away from high sugar drinks to avoid further stomach irritation and worsening of symptoms. Sports drinks are not appropriate for children as the high electrolyte content can cause imbalances in your child's system, which can be dangerous.
Water is good for hydration; however, if they drink too much water, it can dilute electrolytes, causing imbalance. Make sure you are offering them an oral hydrating solution such as HYDRATE and water to keep electrolytes in balance.
Wait until your child has had no vomiting for at least 30 minutes before giving them clear liquids (water, breast milk, broth, HYDRATE). Then only offer a tablespoon at a time every five minutes to reintroduce liquid into the stomach slowly. If vomiting starts again, then restart the process.
Know the dehydration symptoms and call your pediatrician if you feel that your child has become severely dehydrated.
It seems like the end of the world when your kids are sick, but it comes with the territory. If you arm yourself with the right hydration solution for your child, you will get through these bouts of illness like a champ, and so will your child.