Dehydration occurs when the body loses too much water. This
can occur if a child loses large amounts of fluid through diarrhea, vomiting,
or sweating. Dehydration decreases the amount of blood that circulates to the
child's organs. Severe dehydration can cause
shock, a life-threatening condition.
Dehydration in small children can develop rapidly and be very dangerous.
Watch closely for early signs of dehydration any time your child has a high
fever, vomiting, diarrhea, or is too sick to drink.
A young child
will not be able to tell you if he or she is feeling dehydrated, so you must
look for the symptoms.
A child with mild dehydration:
The child is more thirsty than
The child's urine is darker than usual.
A child with moderate dehydration:
The child is a lot more thirsty than
The child's mouth and eyes are drier than
The child's urine is much darker than usual.
child passes little or no urine for 8 or more hours.
feels dizzy when he or she stands or sits up.
Severe dehydration is a medical emergency.
Call 911 or other emergency services immediately.
child with severe dehydration:
The child's mouth and eyes are extremely
The child passes little or no urine for 12 or more
The child does not seem alert or able to think
The child is too weak or dizzy to stand.
child may pass out.
Primary Medical Reviewer
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.