Water Intoxication: Too Much Of A Good Thing? (Giveaway)
Did you catch some of the warmth and sunshine we’ve had in the past couple of weeks? Wisconsin may be home of the “Frozen Tundra,” but eventually that ice melts and brings with it some gorgeous weather, perfect for being active outside (and maybe getting sweaty). As adults we know the importance of drinking water to stay hydrated, but what about for infants? Could something as simple as water be dangerous to little ones? The surprising answer is YES! Drinking too much water can put anyone, especially infants, at risk for water intoxication. This is when excess water leads to a low level of sodium in the body (hyponatremia), which in turn can cause swelling of the brain, seizures, and even death.
The American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) recommends infants be fed only breast milk or formula until roughly six months of age, at which point solid foods are introduced. Even in the warmer months, breast milk or formula contains all the fluids and nutrients a baby will need. If you feel your baby is still thirsty, give additional formula or breast milk. Watering down formula can reduce the amount of nutrients a baby receives and negatively affect growth and development. Unless directed by a pediatrician, do not give extra water to an infant who has not started solid foods and NEVER dilute formula with extra water. Less than a year into my residency training I have unfortunately already seen an infant present with seizures from diluted formula, and the consequences can be deadly.
So when is okay to start giving a child water? A good time to do this is when solid foods are being introduced, around six months of age. As a general rule of thumb, at this age 2 to 4 ounces of water can be given in between meals if needed.
If you are concerned about dehydration in your infant or toddler, look for the following signs:
- Decreased activity level or more sleepy
- Sunken soft spot in head of infant
- Dry mouth
- Urinates less frequently (less than 3 diapers in a 24 hour period)
- Few or no tears with crying
As always, if you have any questions or concerns don’t hesitate to contact your pediatrician to discuss –we are always happy to answer questions.
Which Wisconsin season do you prefer? Frozen tundra or hot and humid?
Summer is here, along with camps, classes and all the other activities your child may be participating in. Juggling this busy schedule and keeping your family healthy, fit and safe may be a challenge, but we’re here to offer some resources to help!
From May 11 to August 30, we’ll be giving away one gift card per week. There are multiple ways you can enter, including visiting our Facebook page, leaving a comment on the blog and subscribing to our e-newsletter. Look for the big yellow box, like the one below, and follow the instructions to enter up to 7 times each week.
This giveaway is open to Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois residents only. Winner will be notified via email and asked to provide a mailing address to receive the prize; if the winner does not respond within 7 days, the winner forfeits the prize and another winner will be selected.