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5 Signs Your Kid Is Dehydrated

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I'm notorious for being dehydrated. It used to be that I would go an entire day only drinking a couple ounces of water. Maybe only what I managed to take in when I brushed my teeth. But I recently tried the 21 Day Fix, which requires that you track the water you drink every day, and that you get enough of it. So all of a sudden I was drinking the recommended eight cups of water per day, and I was, no big shock here, very happy with the results.

I feel better, I have less headaches, and even my fingernails are less brittle.

This got me wondering whether I pay enough attention to the amount of water my kids are taking in. Did I even really know what dehydration look like on a child?

During the summer months, kids are running around like crazy and all the water they lose by sweating needs to be replaced somehow. Just how much water they need on any particular day is next to impossible to calculate, but there are some clues that your child may be slightly dehydrated:

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If your kid is ever just having “one of those days,” the remedy may be as simple as a glass of water. Irritability is a telltale sign of mild to moderate dehydration, according to MayoClinic.org, so next time you find yourself wondering what the heck got into your kid, the answer may actually lie in what hasn’t gotten into your kid. (Water!)

Having a low-key kid can be nice, but if it’s due to dehydration, don’t let it slide.


The dog days of summer may cause you and your kids to spend some lazy days on the couch, but if you notice a marked decline in your child’s energy level, you might want to give some thought to how much water you’ve seen them drink lately. Having a low-key kid can be nice, but if it’s due to dehydration, don’t let it slide.

Dry Skin

If your child is still in diapers, checking her skin has is probably second nature. But irritation of the skin and dryness is a sign that there is not enough moisture in the body, regardless of the person’s age. If you notice your kid scratching a lot, they may need to be drinking more water.


Pretty much every parent I know is an expert in their child’s bowels. The timing and consistency of bowel movements are good in decay and health, and sometimes health issues. When a child is dehydrated, her stool can become more dry and difficult to move, which in turn causes constipation.

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This one is a little harder to pin down, but if your child is older and can tell you that their head hurts, the culprit could be dehydration. I personally have suffered from various types of headaches my entire life, so I can tell a dehydration headache from a sinus headache, however there’s a good chance your little one can’t. If his head hurts for no apparent reason, have him chug some water and see if it doesn’t let up within a couple hours.

These are some typical symptoms of dehydration, but of course any of these symptoms can point to a more serious problem. Always check with your doctor if you are concerned!

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