Dehydration, Pediatric

ExitCare ImageDehydration means your child's body does not have as much fluid as it needs. Your child's kidneys, brain, and heart will not work properly without the right amount of fluids.

HOME CARE

  • Follow rehydration instructions if they were given.  

  • Your child should drink enough fluids to keep pee (urine) clear or pale yellow.  

  • Avoid giving your child:

  • Foods or drinks with a lot of sugar.

  • Bubbly (carbonated) drinks.

  • Juice.

  • Drinks with caffeine.

  • Fatty, greasy foods.

  • Only give your child medicine as told by his or her doctor. Do not give aspirin to children.

  • Keep all follow-up doctor visits.

GET HELP RIGHT AWAY IF:

  • Your child gets worse even with treatment.  

  • Your child cannot drink anything without throwing up (vomiting).

  • Your child throws up badly or often.

  • Your child has several bad episodes of watery poop (diarrhea).

  • Your child has watery poop for more than 48 hours.

  • Your child's throw up (vomit) has blood or looks greenish.

  • Your child's poop (stool) looks black and tarry.

  • Your child has not peed in 6–8 hours.

  • Your child peed only a small amount of very dark pee.

  • Your child who is younger than 3 months has a fever.  

  • Your child who is older than 3 months has a fever and and symptoms that last more than 2–3 days.  

  • Your child's symptoms quickly get worse.

  • Your child has symptoms of severe dehydration. These include:

  • Extreme thirst.

  • Cold hands and feet.

  • Spotted or bluish hands, lower legs, or feet.

  • No sweat, even when it is hot.

  • Breathing more quickly than usual.

  • A faster heartbeat than usual.

  • Confusion.

  • Feeling dizzy or feeling off-balance when standing.

  • Very fussy or sleepy (lethargy).

  • Problems waking up.

  • No pee.

  • No tears when crying.

  • Your child's has symptoms of moderate dehydration that do not go away in 24 hours. These include:

  • A very dry mouth.

  • Sunken eyes.

  • Sunken soft spot of the head in younger children.

  • Dark pee and peeing less than normal.

  • Less tears than normal.  

  • Little energy (listlessness).

  • Headache.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your child's condition.

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