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Keeping kids healthy, means good hydration

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Even if your child drinks a lot during the day, they can still get dehydrated. It all boils down to water.

If you wait until you feel thirsty, you are already getting dehydrated. No matter what your age, dehydration can make you miserable.

"They could get dizzy, they could get headaches. You know, almost feel a little bit clammy," says Hurley dietitian Amanda Leddy.

So, just drink enough water, right? Not that simple- especially for kids, who tend to lean toward other types of liquid refreshment, like fruit juices and other sugary drinks.

Amanda says, while those drinks can help hydrate, they can ultimately do more harm than good because they're loaded with sugar- and calories.

"As they (kids) become accustomed to those sweet drinks, they want them more and that can contribute to obesity."

If you think your kids are active enough to burn off all of that sugar, remember, the sweet stuff can cause other uncomfortable issues for kids.

"They can get cramping and stomach aches. That is more-so, the concern with a lot of sugar, prior to playing a game or a sport," Amanda says.

You can also easily over-do sports drinks, which are designed to replace electrolytes lost when we work up a major sweat.

"It's more-so that you have to worry about those electrolytes being lost after an 60 minutes of a strenuous activity. So really you can replace and replenish your body's hydration, just by drinking water."

And, Amanda says, the best way to stay hydrated is to drink water consistently throughout the day. Children need 6 to 8 cups per day, depending on your child's weight. On top of that, kids need 1 to 2 cups of water for every 15 minutes of strenuous activity.

"Send them outside with a water bottle or something so that they're not going long periods without it," suggests Amanda.

Remember, kids can also *eat* some of that required daily water intake. Fruits and veggies are high in water content.

Adding cut fruit to your child's water bottle can make it look like a much sweeter option, too.

You can get more specific information about your child's water needs from your pediatrician.

There are also charts online that can be helpful.

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