Dehydration, Pediatric

Dehydration is the loss of water and blood salts from the body. Certain organs cannot work without the right amount of water and salt. These organs include the:

  • Kidneys.

  • Brain.

  • Heart.



Infants need both:

  • Fluids, such as an oral rehydration solution (ORS).

  • Breast milk or formula. Do not put more water in the formula (dilute) than you are supposed to. Follow the directions on the formula can.


  • Children may not want to drink an ORS. You can give them sports drinks. These drinks are better than fruit juices.

  • For toddlers and children, nutritional needs can be met by giving them an age-appropriate diet.

Replace any new fluid losses from watery poop (diarrhea) or throwing up (vomiting) with ORS. Follow the directions below.

  • If your child weighs 22 pounds or less (10 kilograms or less), give 60 to 120 milliliters (¼ to ½ cup or 2 to 4 ounces) of ORS for each watery poop or throwing up episode.

  • If your child weighs more than 22 pounds (more than 10 kilograms), give 120 to 240 milliliters (½ to 1 cup or 4 to 8 ounces) of ORS for each watery poop or throwing up episode.


  • Your child does not pee (urinate) as much as usual.

  • Your child has a dry mouth, tongue, lips, or skin.

  • Your child has fewer tears or has sunken eyes.

  • Your child is breathing fast.

  • Your child is more fussy.

  • Your child is pale or has poor color.

  • Your child's fingertip takes more than 2 seconds to turn pink again after a gentle squeeze.

  • You notice blood in your child's throw up or poop.

  • Your child's belly (abdomen) is very tender or big.

  • Your child keeps throwing up or has very bad watery poop.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your child's condition.

  • Will get help right away if your child is not doing well or gets worse.