If the rumours are true, this summer could be another scorching hot one. The majority of us welcome heat, especially after the cold and damp of winter.
But like extreme cold, heat can also present dangers, more so for ‘vulnerable groups’ in society. We all know the importance of staying hydrated, but did you know that toddlers and young children can quickly succumb to the effects of heat? And they can succumb faster when they are dehydrated.
So, will any fluid do?
On one hand, the answer could be yes but then again, there are always two sides to the coin. On a blistering hot day, and with toddlers refusing to drink, it’s no surprise that we fall back on fizzy drinks, juices and ice lollies.
Whilst they offer a modicum of hydration, it is not the full delicious, hydrating hit you get from a glass of water.
And herein lies the problem – the advertising and ‘aggressive’ marketing for fizzy pop, ‘healthy’ juices and must-have cordials that we are subjected to as parents and as consumers makes water on its own seem far less appealing.
Tasteless by comparison, water is seen as an ingredient in a drink rather than a drink in its own right. Who, after all, would enjoy the plainness of water compared to the sweet nectar of pop or juice?
Start as you mean to go on!
If you have toddlers or young children, then the old saying ‘prevention is better than cure’ is the perfect adage; introduce water as the drink of choice from an early age and you may find that you don’t need to battle with prising a can of lemonade out of their hand to replace it with a glass of water.
There are other hints and tips too that can help in making sure toddlers and children stick with the hydrating power of water. Try these…
- Lead by example – by keeping yourself hydrated at all times, your children will follow suit. Have a bottle of water with you and let your kids see you drink it.
- Fancy bottles – there are many fancy bottles on the market that make drinking water far more fun. Investing in some of these is a great way of adding a little something exciting to what children can see as boring.
- Water at the table – emulate top 5* restaurants by having a jug of crystal clear tap water on the table! Telling the kids that all the best places serve water is one way of making sure they understand that water is important and
- Lemon or lime…? – adding flavour is not just about adding sugary cordial or diluted juice. Halving a lemon or lime and adding it to the water is one way of adding a hint of flavour – or add both!
- Ice – water can sometimes taste ‘better’ and more refreshing if it is cooled by ice. Ice cube trays come in all shapes, and this can be a fun way of hydrating kids too; after all, there is nothing wrong with sucking on an ice cube on a hot day (especially when it is just frozen water!).
Why is water so important to the human body?
Water is, frankly, the elixir of life. We all need it and at various points during the day and night, we sometimes need it more.
At certain times in life too, we may need to keep our hydration levels really topped up high. Hot weather calls for maximum hydration and certain groups in society, such as the elderly and the very young, are considered most vulnerable in hot climes.
This is because these two groups tend to rely on other people getting the fluid to them, as opposed to them casually strolling over to the tap and filling a glass themselves. Likewise, infants are not good at regulating their own temperature and a rising temp can very quickly plunge them into a serious place in terms of health. Hence, encouraging regular drinking is important.
But water holds the key; it lubricates the mind, body and soul, from making sure our children’s brains stay hydrated and alert, to ensuring the joints are able to move and work unhindered.
Too much water can be just as disastrous as too little!
Before you go plunging in and start giving huge amounts of water to a child, make sure you don’t go over the top. Too much water can be a bad thing too and so again, ‘everything in moderation’ is another saying that is true.
Some figures suggest that for every pound of body weight, a child needs 1½ ounces of water a day. This is will vary depending on the activity of the child too; an active child, running and up to all kinds of mischief, may need more. Increasing water consumption can also decrease appetite as water makes a child feel ‘fuller’.