Dehydration in babies and young children

Dehydration caused by diarrhoea is one of the biggest single killers of childrenin the modern world. This year, about 2.2 million children will die of dehydration caused by diarrhoea - 80% of them in the first two years of their life” 4.

Why are babies and young children more vulnerable to dehydration?

  • Their little bodies have relatively small fluid reserves and a high metabolic rate that makes it easier than an adult’s body to lose the water and electrolytes the body needs to function.
  • If fluids are not replaced, the outcome can be critical within a matter of days, so it is best to take action sooner rather than later.
  • Babies and young children are less able to communicate verbally, so watch for the physical signs of dehydration.

Signs of dehydration:

Any of these signs² could indicate that your baby is dehydrated or is becoming dehydrated:

  • A marked decrease in the number of wet nappies
  • Urine that looks darker and smells stronger than usual
  • A dry, parched mouth and lips and less elasticity in the skin
  • Fewer or no tears while crying
  • Eyes and fontanelle (the soft spot on the top of her head) appear sunken
  • Excessive sleepiness or fussiness.

How to treat dehydration:

Prevention is always best, so if your child keeps vomiting or has a tummy bug, try and top up her fluid intake regularly. Most juices contain too much sugar, and water alone does not contain the correct balance of salts and sugars needed to restore electrolytes lost due to diarrhoea and the like.

Having an appropriate balance of electrolytes in an oral rehydration solution is of the utmost importance to help stop dehydration. This is why a scientifically balanced ORS solution like REHIDRAT® is ideal for your child and for the whole family. It contains no artificial preservatives, colourants or sweeteners and is available in 3 flavours – Blackcurrant, Orange and Vanilla. The Vanilla flavour is usually easily accepted by children as it was specially designed to taste sweeter.

If you suspect your child might be dehydrated or if you notice any of the above symptoms, take them to a doctor straight away.

Join us on Twitter: @Rehidrat



 ® Trademark © Johnson & Johnson (Pty) Ltd 2016. For more information, 0860 410 032, or email

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