Expert warns of child dehydration signs during desert heat

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(Credit: 3TV/CBS 5) (Credit: 3TV/CBS 5)

Bicycling, running with friends and swimming are great activities for children, but can be dangerous during our hot summers if your child isn’t hydrating properly.

"We are seeing a lot more heat-related illness," Dr. Bill Schneider said.

Schneider of Banner Thunderbird Hospital says outdoor activities can turn dangerous quickly if a child begins to get dehydrated.

"The child starts acting weak, tired and fatigued," Dr. Schneider said.

They might also feel dizzy and start to get muscle cramps.

“If you don't get enough fluids, the urine gets dark and the kidney could potentially go ahead and shut down," he said.

Vomiting is a big red flag and can precede a loss of consciousness if the child is extremely dehydrated.

"If you start seeing that, get the child out of the heat as soon as possible," Dr. Schneider said.

A quick way to cool down a child is to begin spraying water on them and then start to rehydrate them with water.

“On average, your child should have five 16-ounce bottles of water per day, and if they play sports or are outside a lot, you need to increase the amount,” Dr. Schneider said.

He also warns of sports drinks.

"Don't give straight Gatorade or Powerade-- they are too concentrated. Mix it-- half water and half Powerade, or sports drink of choice. That gives them the electrolytes and makes it easily absorbed by the body," he said.

Dr. Schneider also says to avoid giving your child fruit juice, Kool-Aid, soda pop, tea or coffee during exercise. The caffeine in those drinks will dehydrate them even more. Milk is OK but only in moderation.

During the summer months, doctors at Banner Thunderbird Hospital see several dehydrated children a day.

"On a weekend, five to 10 [dehydrated children] a day. And during the week, at least one kid per day. Sometimes kids are so dehydrated that they are nauseated and can't drink anymore—[and] we have to start IV fluids and cool them down that way" Dr. Schneider said.

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Ashlee DeMartinoAshlee DeMartino is excited to finally be back in her hometown of Phoenix.

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Ashlee DeMartino
Weekend Weather Anchor

An award-winning journalist, Ashlee has worn many hats in her career, one-woman-band, executive producer, anchor, reporter and morning traffic reporter. However, her main focus and passion is weather.

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