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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 or she 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 or her 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 or her nose to his or her stomach. Healthcare providers can use the NG tube to give your child the liquids he or she 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 or she is getting. If your child gets IV fluids, they may leak out of the vein and cause swelling. His or her vein may become inflamed. If an NG tube is placed in his or her nose, he or she may have pain or a nosebleed. Some liquid may get into his or her lungs and lead to a lung infection. Your child's bowels may stop working during the time he or she is being treated with an oral rehydration solution (ORS). This can make his or her stomach swell.


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 healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child.

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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.

Learn more about Dehydration in Children (Inpatient Care)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.