How to Keep Your Child Hydrated During Sick Season

We all know that fluids are important when our kids are sick,but actually getting your babies and toddlers to drink can be hard when you’re in it! 

Here are some tips to help

Babies < 6 months 

Focus on shorter, more frequent feeds as your baby is able. Focus on nasal suction and steam before feeds to help. 

Babies 6 months – 1 year

Breastmilk, formula, or an electrolye-containing solution like Pedialyte or pedialyte popsicles. 

Children > 1 year old

Breastmilk, mild, oral rehydration solution (like Pedialyte, pedialyte popsicles, coconut water) or you can try ½ juice + ½ water if none of those are working.

How Much Do I Give?

Start low and go slow. 1 teaspoon (5ml) every 5-10 minutes or so for the first few hours, then move up slowly. 

How Do I Get My Child To Actually Drink?

Your community has come through for you! Here are some of your all favorite tips: 
  • Make your own popsicles at home.
  • Use a fun straw!
  • Let them choose their own cup – novelty can help.
  • Pretend you’re drinking something from your cup – kids love trying their parents’ stuff. 
  • Fun stickers on their cups. 
  • Have them help make smoothies or milkshakes with you. 


How do I know if I need to go to the ED if my child is dehydrated?

If your infant is making less than 6 diapers in 24 hours or if your toddler has peed less than 1 time in 8 hours, then it’s worth calling your care team for next steps. The first thing they will tell you to do is to try the rehydration steps above (small sips, 5ml or 1 teaspoon every 5-10 minutes) to see if they are able to drink oral liquids to rehydrate. If they can’t do that, then they would likely have you be evaluated for potential IV fluids to help.