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The importance of hydration

Nutrition and hydration week

Hydration is vital for children as they have a higher proportion of body water than adults and are usually a lot more active.

Children don't always recognise the early stages of thirst, and this can make them especially vulnerable to becoming dehydrated.

Mild dehydration can result in:

  • thirst
  • headaches
  • dry skin
  • tiredness
  • lack of concentration
  • trouble remembering tasks asked
  • difficulty learning new things
  • reduced mental performance

Poor hydration in children can also lead to daytime bladder issues. This can be needing a wee all the time, having to rush to the toilet urgently, damp pants or having big accidents. Daytime bladder issues can be very embarrassing for children. The cause could be constipation, urinary tract infection, or not feeling relaxed on the toilet. But it could be as simple as the child not drinking enough, which causes the bladder to feel irritated. Visit the Eric website for more information on daytime bladder issues.

If your child is experiencing a period of bedwetting, the good news is you don't need to wait until they grow out of it - treatment is available with the School Nursing Team from the age of 5 years. It's a very common childhood condition and we have lots of information and practical tips about treating it and ways to make life a little bit easier. The main one is: drinking more water!

How much should a child drink?

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has developed a set of fluid requirements for children of different ages: 

  • Boys and Girls between 4-8: between 1.1-1.3 litres of water daily
  • Boys aged 9-3: between 1.5-1.7 litres of water daily
  • Girls aged 9-13: between1.3-1.5 litres of water daily

Fluid (70-80%) should come from drinks, the rest (20-30%) will come from their diet. To make it simpler:

🔸 Primary School aged children should have a 750ml water bottle at school
🔸 Secondary School aged children should have a 1ltr water bottle at school
🔸 All children should aim to finish their water bottle by the time they finish school each day

Keeping your child properly hydrated will help to keep them fit and healthy.

If you need some support with bladder issues in your child, you can contact our School Nursing Team.

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School Nurses