Is My Child Dehydrated?

Understanding how to recognize dehydration can help you keep your little one from becoming seriously ill. Our guide will help you recognize dehydration fast, and hopefully urgent assistance will not be required.

  1. Mild to moderate dehydration
  2. Severe dehydration
  3. When to seek medical attention

Mild to moderate dehydration

Look for these telltale signs of dehydration in babies and young children:

  • Dry mouth and tongue
  • Fewer tears when crying
  • Urinates less frequently
  • Less active than usual

If your baby exhibits any of the above, offer her small drinks of breast milk or formula over a period of time. Toddlers and older children can also have sips of water. Additionally, liquids designed to quickly replace electrolytes, such as Enfamil® Enfalyte®, are a good option. But remember to feed your child slowly, and keep in mind that too much liquid at once can overload your child’s stomach and may make her throw up—resulting in more fluid loss.

Speak with your pediatrician if you notice any of the above. Your child’s doctor will help outline at-home options for your little one.

Severe dehydration

Because little bodies lack the ability to store fluids (like those of older children), dehydration can become severe surprisingly fast. Watch your child carefully and seek medical attention immediately if she exhibits any of the following severe dehydration indications:

  • Cool, dry, and blotchy skin
  • Dry mouth and mucous membranes
  • Little or no urine (and darker than normal)
  • Sunken fontanel (the soft spot on your child's head), eyes, and/or cheeks
  • Wrinkled skin
  • Lethargy, disorientation, or the inability to be roused

When to call the doctor

You should reach out to your child’s pediatrician immediately if you notice dehydration. It is especially important that you seek out immediate medical assistance if severe dehydration is suspect.

Hydration awareness is key to keeping your child healthy. Offer her liquids and electrolyte-rich drinks at the first sign of fever, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Do you still have questions about products that can help with dehydration? We're here to help! Call 1-800-BABY123 and speak with one of our live operators Monday–Friday (7am to 7pm CST) or Saturday (8am to 4:30pm CST). Or contact us online anytime.