Gulp! Is Your Little Athlete Getting Enough Water?!

Hi Folks! In a doctor’s waiting room the other day I happened to pick up one of the parenting mags and, as a sidebar to an article on sports injuries, it ran these tips:

Go Ahead and Gulp

Even slight dehydration decreases a child’s strength and decision-making skills on the field, which can lead to injuries. Use these tips to help your little athlete get enough water:

1 – Your child should drink 16 ounces of water two hours before a practice or game.

2- Then he should drink another 8 ounces for every 15 minutes he’s participating — even during cooler weather.

3 – It cane be hard to keep the fluid inake up during games, so at halftime your child should drink three full cups of water.

4 – Offer three cups post-game to make up for intake missed during the game.

But is this really enough? Some suggestions I might add:

5 – Three weeks before the big game begin a “hydration habituation” routine. Wake your child to give him four ounces of water at 11 p.m. and again at 4 a.m. Gradually increase the amounts to half a gallon.

6 – A week before the game, switch your little athlete to an all-liquid diet. (Jello is a-okay!)

7 – On game day, hook your child up to an intravenous saline solution in the morning. Detach him an hour before game time. Offer him 42 ounces of his favorite drink.

8- At half-time, shove your child’s head in a pail of water and gently hold it down.  

9- If your child shows any of the very earliest signs of dehydration — fatigue, hunger, energy, a loss of appetite –hurry home and place child in tub. He can come out as soon as he’s drunk it dry. Yes, that includes sucking all the moisture out of the washcloth(s).

10 – Remember: Sports is all about fun!

11 – And death by dehydration!

This is a good start.

112 Responses

  1. I had a blood test last week and they could actually tell I hadn’t had enough water that day from the results. So, hydration = good. The doctor did not, however, give me a strict regime for amounts of water, despite my medically diagnosed “water deficiency”.

    Instead of an electronic measuring/water weighing jug to make sure you get those amounts right to the ounce, why not donate to a water project for kids in developing countries?

  2. My sister suffered heat stroke 2x, so I take hydration very seriously. On the other hand forcing water can make someone sick.

  3. I’ve been a licensed soccer coach for 25 years, and have coached kids through most of that time. The only water rule(s) I have used are as follows: Bring plenty of water to every game and practice. When on a break, drink until you cannot drink even one more sip. Then drink one more sip. You have now had the exact right amount of water for your body. (If you run out of water before that last sip, bring more next time.)
    No parent should have to measure the water their child ingests.

  4. I agree with Peter, as a former kid’s hockey coach, it was my experience that the kids drank the water they needed to during the game, and after. I coached on and off for some time, and never saw a parent measure the water for the kid to drink, or did I ever have any kid become dehydrated.

  5. They have to be kidding about those amounts.

    Have water available, don’t shove it down kids’ throats.

    And make sure the port-a-potties are VERY close to the ball field!

  6. I guess I should note that I’m thinking in terms of little kids. I could see those amounts being appropriate for big kids. BUT not forced / measured. Just available.

  7. I’m from Arizona so I take water pretty seriously, I don’t know any parent who is actually going to pay attention to recommended amounts but I know lots of parents who just shrug their shoulders at me when I say the kids need water.

  8. You know, I don’t have a tremendous problem with the piece, on the whole. (It’s not as obviously fear-mongering as much of what you read in those magazines…) Where I have an issue is in the precise amounts and timing described, which gives off the impression that it is an exact science that parents simply cannot figure out on their own without the input of “experts.” And that’s where my larger issue with “parenting these days” is: How our society has created a generation of parents who think (and act as though) they are incapable of figuring out what is best for their children on their own & so turn to “experts” for every little thing. Including, apparently, how much water their children need…

    I agree with the advice of the coaches above. In my experience, if water is available a thirsty kid will drink. No need to haul out the beakers and test tubes. xo

  9. I have two semi-oblivious kids who will cheerfully dehydrate themselves to the point that they have a headache if I don’t keep after them. But at the same time, I’m not going to sit there and measure what they drink. They are getting better about it because when they were at home, cool day, no particular danger of permanent damage I’ve just let them go all day doing whatever. Then when they come to me at 6 and say “My head hurts. I don’t feel good.” I reply “Well, you drank your juice at breakfast and half a can of soda at lunch, and otherwise you have been playing legos all day without pause. Think you might be dehydrated?” Usually I get a mumbled, “Yeah…” before they slink off to the kitchen. They know that I am not pulling out any pain medication unless they drink something first, since 9 times out of 10 a couple of glasses of liquid will cure that feeling. On hot days when the consequence for dehydration is more dire, I do force them to drink more frequently. But they need to recognize the ‘I’m thirsty’ feeling for themselves too. I’m not following them around to college to prevent dehydration – they need to learn that for themselves.

  10. You know, too much water can be just as dangerous as not enough. That quantity of liquid in such a short period of time concerns me, especially for small children. Hyponatremia is water intoxication, where too much water intake essentially wipes out the body’s supply of sodium lost through sweat. It is also deadly.
    Huh! I bet the article forgot to tell you to be scared of that too!

  11. How often should we squeeze them? And should we start measuring their output? Does everything have to be written down and regulated?

  12. Kids die every summer during those outside football practices in August, generally with dehydration being a big factor. When we have kids being raised on soda diets their parents need to be reminded to give them water.

    Just because an article offers safety tips does not mean that it’s suddenly bad or absurd. It’s just a reminder to make sure that our kids drink water when they’re exercising.

  13. My family has gotten by so far with one simple rule about water: drink when you’re thirsty. As far as I can tell, most humans have survived just fine so far using that rule.

  14. Guidelines from the International Marathon Medical Directors’ Association say to just drink when you’re thirsty:

  15. The numbers are a little unrealistic (that much water at once on a hot day if you don’t feel desire for such large amounts it is a recipe for vomiting) but the principle is sound. Hydration DOES matter and does affect performance. They’ll play better and feel better later and have more energy later in the day if they’re hydrated. And I’m speaking as one of those people who self-dehydrates out of neglect on a regular basis.

    Does it mean that kids will die (as a matter of course, yes it DOES happen) if you don’t stringently follow these guidelines? No. Does that make it bad advice? No.

  16. I live in the Arizona desert and I tell my kids all the time to drink water. BUT I think the article is ridiculous. Kids need to learn to listen to their bodies. That said, I have had teachers tell my kids that they may not go get a drink of water or that they may not have a water bottle on their desks. THAT is unacceptable, in Arizona or anywhere. Another example of ridiculous rules that deny our kids the opportunity to make their own healthy choices and encourage dependence on adults.

  17. Unfortunately parenting magazines have to fill up space, so instead of 2-sentence common sense advice, you get a 4-step program replete with death between every word. Me, I don’t give a thought to how much my kids are drinking, other than there seem to be half-filled cups and glasses of water everywhere in my damn house!!

  18. Hydration is important but with that much water they would be too busy running back and forth to the restroom to actually play.

  19. A few summers ago, I bought a plastic water dispensor from Wal-Mart which I filled up and placed in on the patio (where my then-2yos spent most of their time playing). In the fall, I brougth it indoors and placed it where they could reach it in the kitchen (where it still sits, as they still can’t reach our faucets). I also kept all of their dishes, cups, etc. in a low cupboard for their easy access. It has been a long time since I’ve paid attention to my kids’ fluid intake. Their thirst mechanism works just fine.

    When I was a kid, I ran around outdoors all summer and never brought water with me. That would have been too cumbersome for my lifestyle. If we were in a kid-friendly place, we might be able to find a water fountain; otherwise, we would go home before we died of thirst. There were even times when (gasp) we found a stream or spring to drink out of. All of us lived to tell about it.

    Dehydration is a problem, not because of nature so much as the unnatural training some people subject themselves to.

  20. All I could think reading that was, “I hope the bathrooms are near the field.”

    In my experience, most kids will drink when thirsty. But, I don’t give my kids soda and juice. They only drink water at home so it’s their instinct to grab a cup of water when they are thirsty. Although, I’ve been trying to convince them to drink from the water hose in the summer because they come in every 20 minutes for a cup of water when it’s hot. Water bottles just get lost or crushed in my house.

    And the baby carries a cup around with him everywhere. He usually has one with water and one with milk (he’s the only one that drinks milk during the day because he was underweight). He alternates between them depending on his tastes.

  21. My biggest problem with this piece is that my kids would be skating off the ice multiple times during their hockey games if they drank that much water before and during the game. Ever tried going to the bathroom in hockey gear? It’s not easy. 🙂

  22. “Unfortunately parenting magazines have to fill up space, so instead of 2-sentence common sense advice, you get a 4-step program replete with death between every word.”


    “In my experience, most kids will drink when thirsty.”

    And my experience, both with myself and with one of my kids, is different. Some people are about drinking the way little kids are about not going to the bathroom soon enough — they don’t want to get distracted form what they’re doing until the accident happens. Only with drinking, no “accident” happens to tell you it’s too late. You just get more lethargic and it’s not good for you, until you get the headache that tells you you should have been drinking a lot more for hours, and then it’s even harder because you feel so lousy. And for some of us, mild dehydration actually creates a mild aversion rather than a thirst for drinking. So it’s not as simple as “they’ll drink when they’re thirsty.” Not all of them.

    As I said, this isn’t a health crisis and the advice is over the top. But it isn’t a non-issue for everyone, either. It’s good to be reminded that kids need to be encouraged to stay healthily hydrated. But like Selby said, parenting magazines are structurally inhibited from addressing ordinary things in a calm, common-sense fashion.

  23. It is irresponsible that this parenting article would not even glance at the unbelievable dangers of a chemical compound found in practically all drinking water in the United States; dihydrogen monoxide. Just a very small amount ingested through the lungs can be fatal! This substance is used as an industrial solvent, a spray-on fire suppressant and a chemical balancer in public swimming pools.

    This is a killer and it will continue to be so until we sufficiently educate and protect both our adults and our children.

  24. There are too many factors involved to use strict numbers like that to dictate your hydration. Five-year-olds playing soccer at 70F is a far cry from teens playing American football in Arizona at 90F.

    If you’re really concerned, then weigh the kid before and after and see how much weight they’re changing.

    In some sports you do need to drink before you’re thirsty, but not so much that you’re spending more time in the toilet than on the field.

  25. The whole hydration of kids thing is one of my pet peeves. At the age of 1.5, I used to cut off my kids’ “hydration” after dinner so they would not need to pee overnight. If they claimed to be thirsty, I’d give them an ounce or two of water and then take the glass away. They were none the worse for wear. I also never let my kids tote a water cup/bottle all the time. It just seemed unnatural to me. (Maybe again, because nobody in my generation did that.) I can’t help thinking that a lot of these “musts” are more to benefit the baby product companies than the babies themselves.

    I have a friend who thinks it’s appropriate to keep feeding children so they never feel hungry/thirsty. I keep telling her: allow my kids the benefit of feeling an actual, healthy desire to eat/drink. Hunger / thirst are not problems as long as there is food/drink available within a reasonable time. Perhaps kids need this in order to develop a healthy sense of balance in eating/drinking as they get older.

  26. Having kids run around for 20-30 stretches under summer suns, esp in the southern states is just not safe in general. But I, as an adult with a pretty large bladder, can’t imagine having to run or skate with nearly a litre of fluids in my stomach/bladder! Sure, remember to get your kids drinking water and eating water-ful fruit, but the recommendations above are ridiculous!

  27. Not safe: without appropriate protection / in inappropriate garb. I should clarify. For example: running around Arizona for 2 hrs in August wearing a giant plastic helmet and head to toe polyester is just plain stupid.

  28. I dunno … except the opening “which can lead to injuries” part, the rest is just an advice on how to drink enough to have optimum performance.

    I have been given similar advice about water (and also sugar) by sport doctor and I was an adult then. He told me to to start before the competition and to make sure that I do not get thirsty. By the time you are thirsty your performance already went down.

    Of course, little league competitions does not matter that much (I hope) so spending too much effort on such details is pointless. But generally speaking, the advice is not crazy.

    Not every advice is rule to be followed no matter what. Some of it is just an advice. Leave it or take it. Even better, try it and if you find it useful follow. Ignore otherwise. There is no reason to get angry over it.

  29. Now, hydration is important, but this obsession with CONSTANT hydration has become a bit silly. A friend and her kid had to leave early from our little outing at the Children’s Museum because… THEY HAD FORGOTTEN HIS WATER BOTTLE.

    Mind you, there were drinking fountains and little paper cups everywhere.

    Now, I like my water bottle as much as the next person, but seriously?

  30. I can’t believe that us baby boomers aren’t dead. I understand, to a degree, what all of you are saying about the need for hydration,but in the 60’s and 70’s no one dragged a water bottle everywhere they went. I played summer softball every year during my teens, and we grabbed a sip at the park’s drinking fountain when needed. I don’t recall headaches, or heat stroke, or any other horror stories of dehydration.

    What’s changed? Are we just smarter about the human body, and we *were* all dehydrated back in the day, or are we overreacting now?

  31. If I drank that much whilst playing soccer on a sunny spring day here in Virginia, the only running I’d do would be to the bathroom. This advice has divorced itself completely to the conditions… weather, size and needs of the subject, the sport and its equipment, and so on.

    One of my soccer playing sons regularly guzzles his whole water bottle, then suffers from cramps and can’t run around.

    Have water available. Encourage them to take sips at every opportunity. Don’t encourage guzzling. Be sensible. Watch for signs of distress. Treat accordingly.

  32. “What’s changed? Are we just smarter about the human body, and we *were* all dehydrated back in the day, or are we overreacting now?”

    I have a guess, and might be completely wrong.

    Nowadays, a much broader range of kids play competitive sports in settings where there are extended, formal practices. It used to be only the “athletic” kids were being drilled on a field with a coach whose permission had to be granted to go home and have a drink, or just sit down a chill out if it got hot. And it may be that there was a certain silent selection for kids with more endurance or toleration for heat and less hydration. The kids who didn’t like running around in the heat because they felt awful pretty fast, didn’t participate in things that required large amounts of running around in the heat.

    Nowadays, everybody’s little darling is out there knocking themselves out on the soccer field, and what used to be pickup games of soccer (or whatever) that you could wander home from when you got tired, or didn’t even start when it was 90 degrees out, are now scheduled practices that you have to stick out when they’re scheduled.

    So it might be that you have a wider range of physical ability among larger numbers of kids, with less ability to self-regulate for discomfort, and that’s why it’s more noticed now.

    Or, like I said, I could be completely wrong. It’s just a guess.

    And, I think to some extent, we are smarter about the human body. I think the low-level physical and mental effects of dehydration that were just chalked up to “how you feel when it’s hot and you’re tired” are now recognized as effects that can be mitigated with….hydration!

  33. And BTW, even though I’m one of the people taking the “hydration is a real (although not dire) thing” line here, I do think we’ve gone overboard with people having to have their water bottles chained at the wrist in every setting, like the person who cited the family outing that was canceled because one child forgot a water bottle.

    I remember being mildly irritated at someone some years back who showed up to a semi-social gathering in someone else’s home and plunked her water bottle down on the coffee table. It was the kind of occasion where the hostess certainly would have offered whatever anyone wanted to drink, and though the person who did it wanted to make sure to stay hydrated for her health, it was not the kind of situation where constant monitoring of intake was necessary.

    It’s not a big thing, but it’s just another example of “worrying about my own minor physical needs constantly takes up too much of my mental energy.”

  34. Those amounts are crazy. So my daughter who swims 1.5 hours per practice needs to drink 48 ozs. during practice, plus the 16 ozs. before practice. I think that is overkill to say the least.

  35. Is it even physically possible to digest that much water?

    Ironically, after several people got sick and even died from drinking too much water, medical professionals have been working for years to try to reign in this sort of misguided advice. Drink when thirsty, don’t be afraid of losing some water weight, and remember that dehydration is less dangerous than drinking too much water.,7120,s6-242-302–8785-0,00.html

  36. Oy, all you talking about “but hydration is important!”

    of course it is. Tell your kid, “hey, if you feel dizzy/thirsty/like it’s hard to move, that’s usually a sign you need some water, so get some.”

    Teach them to recognize when they need it, not pour carefully measured amounts into them.

    I encourage my daughter to bring her water bottle to dance class. If she needs a drink, she gets one. If she doesn’t, she doesn’t.

    Once again, TEACH THE KIDS. They’re smart, you know.

  37. Following up to that, I’m currently in a physical therapy regime that kicks my ass. After a few days of retreating to the water fountain after every exercise, I finally remembered to bring my own water bottle so I could move on to the next thing easily.

    See? I learn, too. And yet no one is forcing a certain amount on me.

  38. cpmikea, LOL!!!! I love it.

  39. Came for DHMO warning. Am not disappointed.

  40. I find it ironic that the tips reference “decision making skills”. Then why can’t junior decide when he’s thirsty?

    I am having flashbacks of high school summer practices where we would “warm up” by running 3 mile perimeters around our school. We didn’t bring water bottles- one of us captains had to fill and lug the giant water jug and we all took turns with our mouth under the spigot during the frequent water breaks. We were dripping sweat but survived somehow.

    Force feeding kids water before/during/after sports doesn’t teach them to listen to their own body cues. Same goes for eating- eat when your hungry, stop when your full. Why the hell is water any different?

  41. y’know what, no. I can’t get behind making fun of this one. Staying hydrated while playing sports is just good common sense, for adults and for kids – and it’s really easy for even adults (who should by all rights know better) to get caught up in the game and ignore what their body needs. The advice in that article is the exact same thing I’ve been told in every fitness article I’ve ever read, every gym I’ve ever gone to, and every phys ed class I took in college. It’s pretty much standard stuff.

  42. “of course it is. Tell your kid, “hey, if you feel dizzy/thirsty/like it’s hard to move, that’s usually a sign you need some water, so get some.”

    But see the thing is, that’s not a sign that you need some water now, that’s a sign that you already needed some water about half an hour ago. That’s not teaching them how to properly hydrate so they actually stay in good shape.

    “Teach them to recognize when they need it, not pour carefully measured amounts into them. ”

    But “when you need it” is not when you’re already feeling negative effects, just like “when you need to eat foods with iron” is not when your blood count comes back low, it’s all the time, or “when you need sleep” is not when you’re falling asleep in class — it’s the night before.

    So the point is to teach kids that they need to drink regularly when they’re active — but that doesn’t have to mean forcing “carefully measured amounts” or whatever.

    I don’t know why people have to reject the idea that kids could learn to take care of their hydration needs before they suffer diminished energy or other ill effects, just like they can learn to eat properly, in order to agree that this article is overboard.

    “I encourage my daughter to bring her water bottle to dance class. If she needs a drink, she gets one. If she doesn’t, she doesn’t.

    Once again, TEACH THE KIDS. They’re smart, you know.”

    Yes, TEACH them. And teach them that “when you need to drink” isn’t limited to when you’re already feeling thirsty, if you’re running around on a hot day or in dance class. It’s before, during, and after the activity, in moderate amounts.

    Teaching them that hydration is something that should be done on an ongoing basis is NOT the enemy of teaching them to take care of themselves by themselves, for goodness sake!

  43. Wow, what a crazy post. This is just so wrong on every level.

    And that coach who makes them drink as much water as they can and then one sip more – he’s right in the crazy, insane group.

    Once again, common sense is ignored.

  44. Beth writes: “What’s changed? Are we just smarter about the human body, and we *were* all dehydrated back in the day, or are we overreacting now?”

    What’s changed? Soda companies bottling water, that’s what’s changed! In the 70s, we drank from fountains, kitchen sinks, and water hoses and no one ever said anything about the number of ounces you needed for daily intake.

    Suddenly, there are tons of water bottlers telling you that you need to drink 4 of their bottles a day or you may die! Hmm…

  45. Don’t know how it is today, but when I was a kid playing sports, when we were thirsty, we drank water, until we weren’t thirsty anymore. They bodies way of naturally telling us to stay hydrated. And during intermission, we had orange slices to eat for added energy. Don’t remember anyone ever having any issues with dehydration.

  46. I know that if I had to drink as much water as this article recommends before and during a game or practice, not only would the bathroom be an issue, but my stomach would feel far too full to be able to play.
    And that’s an adult-sized stomach!

  47. Hydration IS very important for all humans and animals. I find it funny that some have taken the “but if it saves one of the kids from getting overhydrated, it is soo worth it.” The think of the safety when it comes to drinking WATER is simply baffling. The moms who breastfed on demand, but now think their competent 5 yo can’t figure their fluids out.

    I have a son who wrestles, and one weigh-in he was 4 ounces over weight (they allow for a 2 lb. variation in weight class). As per regulation, he stepped off the scale and was given 30 minutes to lose the 4 ounces in the “sweat room”. He lost the weight and was able to wrestle in the tournament by riding a stationary bike in the sweat room as fast as he could. Kids as young as 8 had to do this. I am baffled at how adults can think that extra pizza slice can give a child a competitive advantage, but people take kids sports way too seriously and “rules are rules”. Yes we signed up for this nonsense, but given the hydration suggestions for kids, I don’t see much of common sense in any of this.

  48. I’m wondering — how does the cross country team hydrate these days? I tried to do cross country for a couple days in junior high and was so not up to it. My friend and I walked the whole way and drank water from garden hoses of the houses we passed! But the runners, they did several miles at a time without hauling a water bottle with them. They knew how to listen to their bodies and pace themselves. Are they required to strap on a bottle now?

  49. @BMS, my mom was the exact same way: no meds till you drank a full glass of water and gave it a little time. Now, as an adult, I don’t think tylenol first, I think water, and I do the same for my kids.

  50. I’m in the outside-all-summer-without-water-bottle camp. Of course, if we got thirsty we’d just get a drink from the hose (another scary, germy, forbidden thing).
    There’s still nothing better than a long cold drink from a hose on a hot summer day.

  51. The sidebar “advice” that you see in colorful magazines is typically written by an intern who knows nothing about the subject and who had no time to do research because he’s on a deadline.

  52. We live in ARizona where summer time heat is regularly 110-115 degrees. Sports go on year round and we have had many kids each year end up very sick and a few dead because of dehydration. While the article’s recommendations might be a bit much I don’t think it is wise to down-play the risks of dehydration, especially living in a state where heat stroke is one of the leading causes of hospitalizations each summer.

  53. By the way — I forgot to mention a few comments up about my junior high cross country experience. That was in Arizona 25 or so years ago. I grew up in AZ, and back then there wasn’t such fervor about hydration there, and for the most part we were fine. Water fountains were around, if you were thirsty you drank from one. I’m not discounting the importance of hydration and survival preparation, especially in the desert. But it should be a common sense issue, not something we’re losing sleep over.

  54. I ran track and was on the basketball team in junior high and high school in Texas The amount of water this article recommends would pretty much guarantee the yaks and some major cramping. Three FULL cups of water at half-time!?! I’m queasy just thinking about it. Dehydration is very serious and, given that many people drink sodas instead of water, often underrecognized. That being said, unless little Johnny or little Susie are playing Olympic-caliber soccer out there and losing poundage in sweat, that is an awful lot of water for a small body to consume. My guys would be racing off the field to pee on the grass in full view of everybody if I poured that much down their throats.

  55. It seems odd to me that people don’t believe that thirst is a reliable indicator of when the body needs water. Hundreds of thousands of years of evolution (tens of thousands if you only count modern humans) have made thirst a very reliable indicator. The people in whom thirst was not a reliable indicator presumably died off and failed to reproduce a long time ago.

    Humans–including humans in hot climates–have been relying on thirst to tell them when to drink for tens of thousands of years. We trust even babies to do this; they cry when they’re hungry and thirsty and we feed them. Dehydration that causes symptoms–headache, etc.–starts occurring at about 5% loss of normal water volume. Thirst sets in when the body loses about 2% of normal water volume. You will be thirsty long before you’re actually dehydrated.

  56. @pentamom – I’ve tried until I was blue in the face to teach the kids about the need to drink early and often. I used to force them to drink when they were younger. Now that they are 10 and 11, I find that the best teaching tool is a couple of good solid headaches. After a few instances, they started drinking a lot more water, keeping water bottles in their room, and so on. But they would swear “I’m not thirsty!” and give me all sorts of crap before I decided, you know, fine. Give yourself a headache. But don’t come crying to me about it!

  57. When I was young and playing soccer in Texas, I got dehydration headaches all the time, despite my mother providing me with a giant thermos of water. The problem? She liked ice water, and I couldn’t comfortably drink more than a sip or two of that at a time. When I started filling my thermos with tap water that I could chug when I was thirsty, I got no more headaches. Problem solved!

    That said, their recommendations are a horrendous amount of water. I agree, water is important, but teaching kids to drink when they’re thirsty is a better idea than precisely regulating their fluid intake.

  58. Suggestions #5-9 are simply too much work for the poor parent, so I recommend strapping a Camelback on your little athlete weeks before the game 24/7. This way you just set a couple of alarm clocks every night to wake the child up at 11:00 PM and again at 4:00 AM while the parents get their rest. You can add sports drink, liquid jello, or their favorite drink to the Camelback as well. Reward them for every gallon of liquid they drink a day by making or buying them a smoothie or milkshake.

    On game day the athlete should wear a wet uniform – yes, even the socks and shoes. Before the athlete gets in the car, hose them down. Several large black plastic bags or a tarp over the car seat and floor mats will protect your fine Corinthian leather. Take a cooler with plenty of wet towels. En route to the game, place a sopping wet towel on their head while they suck on their Camelback.

    During the game, the parent should strap the Camelback on every second the Olympiad is not playing and cover them from head to toe with the wet towels from the cooler.


  59. @Jennifer

    Thirst tells you that you need water now, not that you will need water soon. That’s fine if in addition to drinking some water, you can stop your vigorous activity. If you’re doing something like cycling or running, then by the time you feel thirsty it is likely too late to stay hydrated AND active.

    Weighing yourself before and after is really the only reliable indicator that you’re getting enough water. I do that from time to time when running, and even though I drink water when running, if I’m out for a couple of hours and it’s warm (by no means Arizona hot!) I can lose up to 2-3lbs of my 150lbs in a couple of hours.

    I don’t know if high school sports programs do that, but they really should. It’s cheap, easy and effective. If kids are losing a significant amount of weight during a workout, they’re not getting enough fluid.

  60. I’m just thinking here. When I was pregnant, I had to drink a lot of water before one appointment for the ultrasound. I think it was 32 ounces. Admittedly, the idea was to hold it in until after the ultrasound, but still, that’s a ton of liquid and really uncomfortable in the bladder. That article’s saying 16 ounces two hours before, then 8 ounces per 15 minutes of participation?? Ow! Assuming the kid plays three 15 minute quarters of the game, that’s 40 ounces. Even being able to use the bathroom beforehand, that’s way too much.

    I’m all for hydration, but such advice needs to consider how much smaller children are than adults, and bring that into the discussion.

    My son’s soccer league made the mistake of continuing games one too hot day last fall (mid 90s by 9 am, 113 by noon) and had one child pass out from the heat, at which point they finally cancelled the rest of the games. That’s too far, and I hope the league learned their lesson. Even so, I wouldn’t want them spreading the advice from that article, because I don’t think it’s all that good for children, especially the younger ones. Encourage the kids to drink plenty of water, no need to put a number on it, and encourage the parents bringing snacks for the team to remember that oranges are a great snack for halftime and after the game. Then pay attention to how the kids look as they play, and encourage the kids to pay attention to how they feel.

  61. Giving a kid that much water could kill them from water intoxication. How about just make sure there’s plenty of water.

  62. I worked as a camp counselor for 5 summers and I’m big on hydration. And yes, my weird mind liked to take pride in how many liters as marked by my Nalgene I drank. But measuring isn’t necessary. How about, make sure you’re drinking lots of water and perhaps remind your little one about drinking? Barring special circumstances, that should be good enough.

  63. When did drinking water become a “thing”? Just drink water. Why are so many people upset about this? For godsake, does everything kids do have to be such a crisis?

    I do understand the importance of water. Everybody gets the importance of water. It’s just part of being alive. It’s not worth a big song and dance. I’m speaking as someone who has had severe heatstroke requiring hospitalisation from my time in the Infantry: My near-death experience does not, however, mean anything special in the big picture. My uncle once stepped off a curb wrong and broke his leg. I do not now think that “walking” is a high-risk activity about which I must know all kinds of numbers and useless information in order to protect children everywhere. Walking is not a “thing”. Water is not a “thing”. What’s next, nosepicking? Whistling? “The Dangers of Nosepicking”: I can see the fear-o-matic article now. “How deep is too deep?” “Is YOUR child at risk?” “How You Are a Bad Parent for Allowing Your Child to Do This!” “Third Knuckle: The Danger Zone”. Sheesh. And there would be a debate! People would come on blogs like this one and tell horrible stories about their cousin’s kid who had lobotomised himself nosepicking in a car on a bumpy road, and how dare you make fun of such a sensitive subject.

    You know, I really think the Army helped put things in context for me. There was hardly a day that went by without some sort of tangible risk management scenario. Once we’d done enough of that sort of life-risking, dangerous stuff, things like whether or not kids were drinking enough water kind of dropped off the radar. It’s a self-feeding beast: the less we deal with real life, the less likely we are to be able to deal with it later.

  64. “What’s changed? Are we just smarter about the human body, and we *were* all dehydrated back in the day, or are we overreacting now?”

    We are much smarter about human body and we are much smarter about different training methods results. We have been little dehydrated back in the day, but as everybody was we considered it normal. And we considered people who wanted to take bottle with them wimps or spoiled.

  65. When my older kids were in elementary school it was taken for granted that kids developed mysterious ‘tummy pains’ when they started school, for – it was assumed – psychological reasons. It was definitively medically proven that my son’s were due to constipation brought on by dehydration. I reckon it lay behind many cases of ‘tummy pain’. Very hard to get permission to get a drink of water during school time even a few years ago.

    I predicted then that water would be the next big panic, however. That it would suddenly be ‘discovered’ to be essential and that everyone would be hectored to drink more, as if our natural need for water was not enough to alert us to thirst.

    I was right and now . . . There have been a few deaths here in Australia from over consumption of water.

  66. @ in the trenches

    Have also had heat stroke and it’s not water that the issue, it’s salt. Too little salt -> heat stroke.

    But wait, aren’t we all supposed ot avoid salt?

    That’s how I go teat stroke, folllowing public health advice.

  67. Drinking too much water KILLS

    I think that article is more dangerous than the idea that we should drink when thirsty.

    Over that side of the pond you might have missed the Leah Betts story:


  68. I’m one of those people who “forgets” to drink fluids until I’m flaking away into an instant-oatmeal consistency. I also “forget” to eat, sometimes turning into a short-tempered shrew. I admit to forcing food on my kids in certain circumstances where they, too, are experiencing “Mr Hyde” moments brought on by low blood sugar. I don’t force water on them, though, unless they are ill in a way that fluid regulation is an issue.

    I, too, remember not one kid having a water bottle when we were growing up in those scorching Ohio summers. I remember a canteen, some awful cloth-covered thing that looked like a GI-Joe accessory, floating around in someone’s basement, but I don’t remember bringing it on bike rides with us. It was for “camping,” I think.

    The whole “This many litres a day” thing rubs me the wrong way. I see people in the countryside in Vietnam and their kids are all over the place, running, climbing, it’s 30º C and no one is drinking water every 15 minutes. I also see a lot of old people. How did they get old? It wasn’t by having “optimal” water intake.

    There’s something so… first world about all of this. Like, if adequate water is good, then MORE water is better! Or… optimal! The whole “optimal” thing is wearing thin with me. Needs are met, or not met. More and more, or “optimal” everything, is not what we require to thrive… much less survive.

  69. Oh, and Lenore’s additional “advice” on this one is scorchingly hilarious, as are a few commenters’ riffs on the same theme!

  70. It used to be, before times of No Child Left Behind, that kids had time to get drinks of water (and wash hands before eating.) Now, there is no time. There is also no time for kids to go to the bathroom, because, remember how when a kid is even 5 minutes late it disrupts the whole class, well, logic dictates that the same should happen when kids have to use the bathroom or get a drink. And if they get a drink, then they need to use the bathroom, and the cycle gets worse.

    Think I am silly saying this? Well, it is what my daughter’s kinder teacher said. She also had the record for the number of kids who wet their pants during class.

  71. I ran track in high school in MD. I played field hockey in high school and college.

    The one time I got dehydrated was when we first moved to MT. In MD, it is humid, you sweat, you can tell you need to drink, even before you are thirsty. In MT it is very dry and sweat evaporates off and doesn’t give that signal. It only took one time though to learn that I needed to carry and DRINK the water when I was hiking.

    I do make my kids drink some in the morning, before they do soccer, and I do take water with us. But I am not going to regulate how much they drink. I am also not going to let them do strenuous exercise when it is over 100, unless the exercise is in a pool. With the dry heat where we now live, I have a hard time at 103 keeping myself hydrated just driving down the road with no AC.

  72. ANDREA–I live in Scottsdale and I often wonder if the reason kids get dehydrated and die each year is because the coaches don’t allow them to drink enough in “Man up…finish what you’re doing..” But I also think that football practice here in August/September (even in the evening) is insane and should not be allowed.

  73. Stephanie,
    I was thinking about the exact same thing. I had to drink the 32oz of water for the ultrasound, and it was a really long wait. I had to go so bad I was crying, and they let me go and pee just a little bit. Ya, right. Much better.

  74. The only time I monitored my kids’ water intake was when they had a very bad stomach flu. They couldn’t even keep down liquids. I began giving them water two teaspoons at a time, every 10-15 minutes, until they had gone four hours without vomiting. But that’s an extreme case. In healthy children, the appropriate response is to trust their instincts, not flood them like reservoirs.

  75. I think you would have half the team missing by half time cause they would be lining up at the potties.

  76. I highly doubt a kid would need that much water. Heck, I don’t even need that much when exercising (have actually calculated it out) – and I have to have at least triple the amount that a normal person needs to drink, since I don’t have a colon (that’s the intestine that pulls water out of your stool, in case you are unaware; and yes, you really can survive without it), and on top of that I breastfeed my youngest daughter. Even with that, my bladder winces at the thought of drinking *that much* water at one time. Geez. I pity the kid whose parent takes that information literally . . .

  77. Hilarious, Lenore! Especially the head in the pail. I am often tempted to do this to the kids I teach – not sure I would want to let them back up though! 🙂

  78. Hmmm, when to the kids actually stop drinking long enough to play the sport?

  79. Dihydrogen monoxide is poison. 🙂

  80. Follow the advice in that mag to have your kid hospitalized for water intoxication. Maybe they should just sit home and veg in front of the tv where it’s nice and “safe.”

  81. The problem is actually that if you are not old enough to know to drink water you are not old enough to play organized sports. This advice is 1 part sales of bottled water and 1 part dealing with an issue created by having every 5 year old playing sports.

    If you are playing sports in HS, practice should be 100% harder than any game. But since it is practice you have a chance to learn your body, get hydrated, etc.

    The real problem is that by putting 6 year olds on fields in the sun, waiting for the game to start and then playing a 30 minute game you are creating problems. When they are in the neighborhood running around playing soccer in the street there are shade trees. When thirsty they can grab a hose. But on a (often artificial turf) field its a whole different story.

  82. I will admit to only skimming the comments, but I’ve noticed that there is one point in the “teach your kids” camp that is missing:

    Monitor Your Urine!!!

    I know it’s gross, but it is vital. Last summer, we had a ridiculous heat spell here in Iowa. That heat spell (95-100, 80+ humidity each day) coincided with my Cub Scout Pack’s Summer Camp experience. We told the kids to “drink plenty of water”, and they carried their water bottles with them, but we didn’t pay much attention beyond that. Halfway through the second day, one of our kids ended up in the Health Hut, vomiting and looking at a very possible visit to the hospital with heat stroke if he didn’t improve toute de suite. Well, he got better, and now has made himself the Troop’s (he’s just graduated from the pack) Water Monitor. He’s a HUGE advocate of water consumption, and badgers his fellow Scouts, because he doesn’t want them to end up like he was.

    The other boys in the pack noticed G’s absence and asked questions, so we had an in-depth discussion about getting enough water. We made them promise (and we started monitoring) to drink when we arrived at a And one of the big points was to watch your urination!!

    If you’re not peeing on a hot day, you’re not drinking enough. If your urine is dark or bright yellow when you pee, you’re not drinking enough. It should be pale yellow or clear. It’s a simple way to monitor intake, and, especially with boys, gross enough to catch their attention. And easy enough for even the youngest kids to learn to monitor for themselves.

    I’m not overly pushy about water consumption, I recognize the risks that go along with drinking *too much* water (washing out of sodium & electrolytes), but I also recognize that a lack of water can cause just as many problems. And as a Scout Leader, one who leads a pack that is very active in the outdoors, it is just one more lesson that we need to teach the kids.

  83. It was a long time ago–several decades–since I played junior high and high school football but know that no one, coaches, parents, or anyone else was as solicitous of our hydration. We had a water cooler on the sidelines and if we were thirsty we would drink. A healthy kid is resillient and can go full speed for the duration of a game without a lot of water unless it is very hot out. When my son returned from Iraq, he told me of 120 degree days in full combat gear. Yes he got dehydrated from time to time but when he was pinned down by sniper fire he got no time out to go to the water cooler. Let’s teach our kids mental resillience and train them for physical resillence. Then we can relax a little.

  84. […] Lenore Skenazy: Gulp! Is Your Little Athlete Getting Enough Water? […]

  85. Since DHMO has been mentioned, I thought you might enjoy a bit of verse about it:

    The DHMO Song

    Mark A. Mandel, (c) 1997
    to the tune of “Battle Hymn of the Republic”

    There’s a chemical that poses deadly danger to us all
    If we don’t eliminate it, we are headed for a fall
    But our governments refuse to see the writing on the wall
    They’re going to let us die!

    CHORUS (after every verse):
    Ban dihydrogen monoxide!
    Ban dihydrogen monoxide!
    Ban dihydrogen monoxide
    Before it kills us all!

    Dihydrogen monoxide is a chemical to fear
    Uncounted thousands die of inhalation every year
    Yet the FDA allows it in our burgers, beans, and beer
    And never questions why!

    In gaseous form it’s subtle, without color, taste, or smell
    But it’s part of acid rain, and it’s a greenhouse gas as well
    It’s also found in car exhaust, which makes our cities Hell
    And dirties up the sky!

    It’s widely used by industry, and agriculture too
    They dump it on the ground or in the river when they’re through
    And from the ecosystem it gets into me and you
    Which they dare not deny!

    You’ll find dihydrogen monoxide everywhere you go
    In rivers, oceans, lakes, and streams, in air and soil and snow
    Its quantitative formula is simply H2O —
    You’ll get it if you try!

  86. Laura said above:

    If you’re not peeing on a hot day, you’re not drinking enough. If your urine is dark or bright yellow when you pee, you’re not drinking enough. It should be pale yellow or clear. It’s a simple way to monitor intake, and, especially with boys, gross enough to catch their attention. And easy enough for even the youngest kids to learn to monitor for themselves.


    That’s the rule I’ve always followed, though the first statement is only “probably not drinking enough”. I can remember one 100 degree August DC day that I had an Ultimate tournament, and failed to pee the 7 hours I was there. Peed clear when I got home. That was the rare exception of actually replacing my fluids to just the right amount. Something that has never occurred before or since.

  87. There is also jennifer strange, who died in the wee for a wii contest. The contest involved drinking eight oz of water every fifteen minutes, and Jennifer was a full sized adult.

    While hydration is important, this recommendation as written could kill your kids.

  88. I understand the wisdom of the pee monitoring, but even that depends on the individual. One of my kids is a camel – always has been. Doesn’t seem to need to drink or pee much. She is 5 and extremely healthy (but petite). Almost never sick, very active and athletic. Hardly breathes heavily after a long run. Maybe she was a pod, I don’t know, but I quit worrying about her being dehydrated long ago. She knows how to get water when she needs it.

  89. Sorry if this has been brought up before, but what happened to licking salt? At a guide jamboree in the late seventies, we had many kids getting dehydrated, hospitalised etc, so we were made to lick salt, about a teaspoon a day. Problem solved. I had forgotten about it until a few years ago when we had a heatwave, sadly very rare in my part of the country!) and my son was coming home complaining of a headache and sore tummy from the heat. I sent him to school the following days with a smallpacket of salt, and no more sore tummies or headaches. I just do that myself now too if it’s too hot. If it’s good enough for camels…..

  90. Ah, you just can’t get enough of the good stuff. Must be time for coffee. On a serious note, I was a dad who was too serious with his sons sport. I think there was something beneficial I was on about: focus, discipline, even emotional resilience, but I just wasn’t allowing myself to become submerged into their child’s perspective. And I wasn’t even thinking I was doing more than ensuring they were fit and socializing and learning some physical skills. Of course, hydration is important, especially here in Northern Australia where winter afternoons can be 27 deg C, and a child wouldn’t be seen without their water bottle at sport or dancing. I think, for them, their happiest memories are when I played their games – some crazy thing they made up in the house. Yet the idea of play is something that I am really only becoming more cognizant as I am older. And with that I am seeing that love itself is the biggest game in town. And realizing that love is a game rather than something I should just naturally be an expert on has begun to improve my game (Not ready for the olympics, yet 🙂 . Ha ha – that comment went off on a tangent.

  91. owen59, thanks for that. Tangent or no, it got me smiling and warmed me inside. 🙂

  92. In ultra-endurance circles (we call marathons warm-ups) it is generally recognized that humans can only process about 16 ounces of liquid per hour. The 32 ounces per hour that this article recommends removes the last shreds of credibility from a classic example of poorly researched propaganda.

  93. This whole discussion reminds me of when I had a job assignment at a power plant at the southern tip of Nevada. The project had me out in a corner of the Mojave Desert for about half of the year, including August. I listened to and heeded the plant personnel who reminded me, “Walk slowly and drink lots of water.” And I always remember the Blood Donor Center tech who told donors: “If you pass a drinking fountain, don’t pass it up.”
    And I do suspect that the increased interest in “hydration” coincides with the development of cheap plastic water bottles.

  94. I and one of my sons easily forget to eat and drink. We both need to consciously remember, especially on hot days. and I am also “green room mom” for our theatre group and during tech week I am a “food nazi” and make all the kids have some protein and hydrate during the intense 5 hour practices and shows. If one kid doesn’t they slow down and start lagging the second half of the practice and can bring the other actors down. I don’t measure amounts but do make sure it’s healthy (nuts, cheese, etc. ) because I have seen the adrenaline kicking in and kids so hyped they don’t think they are hungry until they are sitting back stage waiting to go on ( and no food in the auditorium)

  95. And how many potty brakes should be allowed during the game?

  96. This is not a debate about whether children should be hydrated or not (as so many of you seem to think). The point is, do we parents need painstakingly detailed instructions on how to take care of our kids, as illustrated in the article Lenore posted above? Do most parents REALLY need this type of spoon-feeding on how to look after their children? I would say NO, but…… I think some parents are becoming so habituated (or even dependent) on such detailed instructions, that maybe they aren’t able to think by themselves. Which is all the MORE reason why we should get rid of such over-the-top “how-to” articles. If people HAD to think for themselves, I honestly believe almost every parent is able to do so. They’d probably all make slightly different decisions, which is fine, because there is no single right way to raise a child.

    I just read about the little girl who died in Alabama after being forced to run for 3 hours. What a tragic event. But if her step-mother and grandmother had read the article above, NOTHING would have changed. Tragic events happen. They will always happen. Writing articles like the one Lenore posted above will NOT stop these things from happening: all it will do is dumb down parents, and restrict our kids’ freedom.

    Probably no-one is going to read this as I’m days late on the debate! But that’s my two-cents’ worth.

  97. Entering in late myself… I also have a problem with exacting detail approach. First, the amount of water I need in Az is different than the amount of water I need in NH. I’m assuming kids play sports in both. But the article doesn’t give any leeway. If I had not grown up in Az, and were parenting a child in sports, I’d be measuring and panicking. It’s dry here. “Dry heat” means nothing – here’s an example. It’s winter – aka no “heat”. Took my son to the park today, we were in T-shirts filling sand molds. You need to dig down to get the wet sand so the mound stays together. When you lift the mold the mound of sand is brown. By the time you’ve filled the mold again (1 minute? 2?), that first mound has dried out so much the surface is crusty and beige. As a teen playing sports in these conditions, I’d probably drink as much water as prescribed. As a teen riding a bicycle everywhere in dead-heat of summer, I wasn’t drinking anywhere near that amount and did not suffer dehydration.
    So there’s a contradiction in the article’s approach — it’s exacting and detailed, and it’s also a generality.

  98. Two things:

    1. I practice Bikram hot yoga about three times a week. It’s 90 minutes of yoga in a 105F room, 80 per cent humidity. We drink a lot of water in Bikram — before class, during class, after class — and we sweat so much you are literally sopping wet when done. I would NEVER be able to drink 64 oz of water in the hours before and after and during. It would make me sick and I would have to throw up! I drink about 48-50.

    2. I know dehydration better than most people in the first world. I have had hypermemesis gravidarum (HG) twice — severe, life-threatening nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.I know what it feels like when your minerals are so out of whack your heart beat goes wrong, when you are so dehydrated you can’t urinate once in 24 hours. I did that for nine months straight — twice.I survived on IV fluids.

    All this to say, if a well person follows his or her cues (and if we teach a child to follow his or her cues) and you avoid situations where sun stroke or severe exhaustion can hit, the average kid is not going to die on the soccer field because he drank 18 oz of water instead of 64. It is actually very difficult to quickly die from dehydration, so long as you are drinking something. If I can’t manage it over nine months while pregnant, I think a normal-sized water bottle and access to a fountain will do for soccer practice. Sheesh.

  99. “It is actually very difficult to quickly die from dehydration, so long as you are drinking something. ”

    That is true, but I wonder why the choice keeps getting forced between “die of dehydration” and “don’t worry about it, kids know what they need to drink.”

    I agree we shouldn’t “worry” and I agree that the advice is excessive, but we don’t take the approach that “as long as our kids don’t starve, we don’t have to be concerned about whether they’re getting proper nutrition. They’ll know what they should eat.”

    The article itself says that kids should stay hydrated because it affects their physical and mental abilities, not because they’ll die. I agree 100% with everyone who is saying that the advice is ridiculous in the quantities given, I just wonder why so many responses are on the level of “they won’t die, so it doesn’t matter.” Who doesn’t want their kids to feel better, and play better, if possible with a *little* (not an excessive amount of) attention to hydration?

  100. I think it’s less the ‘pay attention to hydration’ in this article as the amounts. 8oz of water for every 15 min of play?? That’s dangerously absurd! I’d like to meet the 8 or 10 year old soccer player (for instance) who could down 16oz of liquid in a 5 minute break and then go back to running on the field. Even if their stomach could hold that much, they’re just going to throw it right back up. I used to run track, it’s an outdoor sport in summer, we practiced *running* for 2 or 3 hours in the midafternoon heat. Drinking 8oz for every 15 minutes would have ended us up passed out on the grass from electolyte and salt inbalance. So much better to just make sure you are hydrated and have eaten appropriately before the activity, drink moderately during, and then drink AND eat afterwards.

  101. I think it’s not so much the mechanics of hydration that are at issue, as the irresponsibility of a magazine publishing this kind of article. Some readers assume that if it’s been published in a parents’ magazine, it must be reliable. Granted, in this case, the advice is so patently absurd that few parents would actually attempt to subject their kids to that on the soccer field. (Or at least, not more than once.) But what else is this magazine publishing that is equally irresponsible? And what is the motivation behind it?

    Are there any parenting magazines that publish articles encouraging moms to follow the instincts of themselves and their kids, first and foremost? To try new things that other parents are afraid to try? To give kids’ survival skills a little test now and then?

  102. This time of year I am constantly encouraging parents to send their kids with a refillable bottle of water. Why – allergies. Kids get a tickle in the back of their throat that a sip of water will stop – or they start coughing. They can get up and go to the water fountain in the pod – but for some of them they are bopping in and out of their chairs. If they can sip water at their desks they are comfortable and not out of the room.

    When I was a kid we would go to the park and drink from the water fountain. My niece goes to the same park with a water bottle, because the water fountain is gone. The same with a bike route we used to bike when I was a kid. The water fountains are gone – so we take bottles of water.

  103. I’m with Laura … monitor the OUTPUT and you can calibrate the input. That recommendation for that much water is going to make the child vomit if they are playing hard.

    If possible, sip water at frequent intervals – you don’t overload your stomach and you can replace the water lost to sweat, and breathing without overloading your bladder. Swill down a size-suitable quantity after the game, whether you feel thirsty or not, and then drink smaller quantities until you are peeing pale urine.

    You can even get unbelievably dehydrated skiing in Arizona: 30 degrees, 10,000 feet and 2% relative humidity. The standard ski patrol fix for someone coming in with a headache is to have them sip water until they have to pee … and by then the headache is usually gone.

  104. Everyone is not drinking enough water, not just children.

  105. Your blog is very interesting and informative. It is very simple but useful technique. I will surely try it in future. Thanks for sharing this idea.

  106. That is beyond insane. I have a rare medical condition that makes me particularly prone to dehydration, and even I don’t drink that much water during heavy exercise!

  107. A 9 year old girl died of dehydration last week after being forced to run for 3 hours. Grandmother should have followed the rehydration routine your doctors magazine outlined:
    I suffer from a dehydration related condition (regular kidney stones) , so can apprecaiute the value of proper rehydration. Something so simple there is no excuse not to do it.

  108. This is just a sign that they are playing our kids too hard in organized sports. Someone has forgotten that our kids are kids. It’s the same with school: everything has to be bigger, better, faster, more!

  109. The “gold standard” (pun intended) for post-kidney stone folks is: pee clear, never pass up a chance to drink water, avoid nonwater drinks, and drink before bedtime even if not thirsty. No set amounts or formulas. Drinking water constantly proved uncomfortable for me.

  110. I enjoyed reading many of the comments to this post. They brought back my own 60’s memories of playing hard until we were thirsty, and then finding water or pop (Ice cold root beer or a bottle of Orange Crush were my favorites back then). Some places had drinking fountains, others not. But as one person suggested, no one thought about bringing bottled water–it would have slowed us down.

    Thinking back, I wonder now whether the words “hydrate” and “hydration” were ever spoken. Our parents told us to make sure we drank some water before we played. They also reminded us not to drink too much when we were hot. And on the hotter, more humid summer days, maybe the reminders came more often. Pretty simple stuff for our day-to-day play!

    But I don’t want to make light of proper hydration in organized activities–especially sports. In these activities, unlike self-directed play, kids have less control of their environment. Coaches sometimes push their players harder than the kids would themselves. Depending on the nature of the activity, its duration, and the environment (temperature and humidity), coaches need to schedule water breaks accordingly.

  111. Children are definately better behaved when they are hydrated. I always make sure they have a cup of water with them e.g. when they are watching t.v. especially, available to them at night beside their beds and obviously at each meal

  112. superdad, that was an abuse case. The adults involved are being charged with homicide, not medical neglect. Someone who makes their kids run for three hours as a punishment is not going to read a magazine article and decide to follow some process to abuse their kids “safely.” I hope you’re being ironic.

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