Young children are at a high risk of
dehydration, particularly during the hot summer months in Florida. Moderate to severe
dehydration in an infant or child is considered a medical emergency that
requires a prompt trip to the ER. At Westside Regional Medical Center,
our emergency care team provides specialized treatment to the youngest
of patients in our child-friendly ER.
Signs and Symptoms
When a child has mild to moderate dehydration, he or she may complain
of thirst, sleepiness, or headache. Young children may have constipation,
decreased urine output, and dizziness. Babies may not have wet diapers
for three hours. At this point, parents are advised to call the family
doctor for guidance. Other signs and symptoms indicate a need to visit
the nearest ER or call 911 right away. These include sunken eyes, a sunken
fontanel, rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, fever, and lack of tears when
crying. Unconsciousness, extreme fussiness, and lethargy may be apparent.
Causes and Risk Factors
Infants and young children are already at a high risk of dehydration,
but certain issues can raise this risk further. Illnesses can lead to
dehydration, particularly when they involve vomiting, diarrhea, or fever.
Older children may become dehydrated when playing outdoors during hot
weather. Since children may not readily drink as much water as they need,
parents must frequently remind them to drink non-caffeinated fluids throughout the day.
Treatments and Prevention
A family doctor may offer guidance on treating mild dehydration at home
with an oral rehydration solution. If the condition is severe enough to
warrant emergency care, then the ER team can start the child on intravenous
fluids and salts. Of course, prevention is always preferable. Parents can
give a child extra water and an oral rehydration solution when the child is at a higher risk of
dehydration. If the child is ill or outdoors frequently in hot weather,
then taking these steps to prevent dehydration is advisable.
If you think your child could be experiencing a medical emergency, please
call 911 without delay or head for the nearest ER. Westside Regional Medical
Center is a leading provider of kid-friendly
emergency care in Plantation, FL, and we feature a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) to provide specialized
care. For general healthcare information, parents can speak with a registered
nurse at (954) 722-9933.