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Dehydration In Children


Dehydration is a condition that develops when your child's body does not have enough water and fluids. Your child may become dehydrated if he does not drink enough water or loses too much fluid. Fluid loss may also cause loss of electrolytes (minerals), such as sodium. Your child's dehydration may be mild to severe.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.

Emotional support:

Stay with your child for comfort and support as often as possible while he is in the hospital. Ask another family member or someone close to the family to stay with your child when you cannot be there. Bring items from home that will comfort your child, such as a favorite blanket or toy.

Intake and output

may be measured. Healthcare providers will keep track of the amount of liquid your child is getting. They also may need to know how much your child is urinating. Ask healthcare providers if they need to measure or collect your child's urine.

Vital signs:

Healthcare providers will check your child's temperature, blood pressure, heartbeats, and breaths. Healthcare providers will also check your child's weight.


  • Blood tests will be done to help monitor your child's dehydration.
  • Urine tests will be done to make sure your child's organs, such as his kidneys, are working correctly.


  • An oral rehydration solution (ORS) contains the right amounts of salt, sugar, and minerals in water. It is the best oral liquid for replacing body fluids in children.
  • A nasogastric (NG) tube may be inserted if your child vomits often and cannot keep liquids down. This is a tube that goes from his nose to his stomach. Healthcare providers can use the NG tube to give your child the liquids he needs.
  • IV liquids may be needed if your child has severe dehydration.


  • During treatment, your child's eyelids, hands, and feet may swell from the liquids he is getting. If your child gets IV fluids, they may leak out of the vein and cause swelling. His vein may become inflamed. If an NG tube is placed in his nose, he may have pain or a nosebleed. Some liquid may get into his lungs and lead to a lung infection. Your child's bowels may stop working during the time he is being treated with an oral rehydration solution (ORS). This can make his stomach swell.
  • If your child is not treated for dehydration, his symptoms may get worse. He may have less energy or become confused or sleepy. He may become unconscious or have seizures. His organs may stop working. This can be life-threatening.


You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.