Water and Children

Water and Children

Do you know that children are in greater danger of dehydrating than adults? A child’s body can store a smaller quantity of fluids and, additionally, while adults have easy access to water, children are dependent on the quantities of water their parents provide them with. Also, another serious reason is that children are not yet in a position to recognise the first signs of thirst, but, unfortunately, feel they need to drink water and ask for it only when their system has already dehydrated. Children’s bodies consist of approximately 60% water, so it is important to take care of their proper and healthy hydration throughout the day.

Dehydration at school

Children spend many hours at school and it is at these hours that they are most in need of water! They participate in intense activities, run about and play with their friends and also attend classes for several hours. A relevant study, however has shown that the consumption of water by children when they are at school premises is inadequate. At a percentage of:

40% Water is forbidden in class

31% Limited access to water

29% Free access to water - encouraging the existence of bottled water on the pupil’s desk

Schools should promote and inform about the pupils’ proper hydration. Because, as shown in another study conducted in Great Britain with the participation of 59 children (aged 7-9 years old), proper water consumption helps pupils with their performance. It provides clarity and enhances their performance, improving memory and concentration during classes.

How much water do children need?

The proper quantity of water needed by a child depends on many factors: Age, sex, ambient temperature and also physical exercise (due to the increased loss of fluids) all play an important role. As a general principle, they need to consume 6-8 glasses of fluids per day. The table below presents the quantities of fluids required per day for consumption by children by the European Food Standards Agency (EFSA).

TABLE 1.EFSA Guide for required fluids consumption by children

S/N

AGE

BOY

GIRL

1

2-3 years

1.3 L/day

1.3 L/day

2

4-8 years

1.6 L/day

1.6 L/day

3

9-13 years

2.1 L/day

1.9 L/day

4

Adolescents (>14 years old)

2.5 L/day

2.0 L/day

 

*Source:EFSA (2008)

Time for water - Healthy & affordable solution

There is always time for a glass of water. What is most important, however, is to make sure that children have easy access to clean water throughout the day! We should encourage them to consume water from the early morning hours, e.g. before leaving for school, but also the rest of the day, in whatever activity they are in. During recess at school, with their meals, when studying for the next day, when playing and when exercising. The healthiest, most environmentally friendly and affordable way for children - but also adults - to always have clean and healthy water with them is to supply them with water from home in a reusable container (e.g. 0.5 liters). Rainbow Waters® provides the solution enabling you to fill your reusable container with water either from the bottled water cooler or the household water filter of your tap. Please note that we should not reuse PET disposable plastic water bottles, except for recycling. This way, you can be sure that your child will be drinking clean water and remaining hydrated at all times.

Soft drinks or water?

Water is essential for the growth of children, as are proteins, vitamins & trace elements. The Natural Hydration Council (NHC), in collaboration with the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF), have created the Children’s Hydration Glass, a guide to healthy hydration for children aged 4–13, to inform parents and teachers. It includes tips for children to consume fluids, while taking into account the negative impact some soft drinks can have on dental health. It is recommended that drinks that contain sugar, preservatives and have an acidic composition are avoided because they are directly associated with weight gain and obesity in minors, while they can also cause plaque and tooth decay. On the contrary, plenty of water should be consumed every day, because it ensures the proper hydration of children, does not cause weight gain (it has zero calories) and does not damage the teeth. Frequent consumption of milk and fresh juices that are rich in nutrients such as vitamins and minerals is also recommended.

We must therefore encourage children to quench their thirst with water before consuming any soft drink to help them develop their liking of water. This way, we will teach them to build daily healthy habits, valuable for their growth, since water is the most natural and healthy soft drink for children!

If you want to read more about our solutions for safe and clean water, check out the 3M household water filters by Rainbow Waters®.

Sources:

“Children’s hydration glass”, www.foodbev.com/water, issue73, 08/2012 (accessed 19/07/2012)

“Hydration at school”, www.naturalhydrationcouncil.org.uk/Page/Hydrationatschool, 28/07/2010 (accessed 23/08/2012)

“Hydration for children–Back to school”, Natural Hydration Council, www.naturalhydrationcouncil.org.uk, 25/08/2012 (accessed 23/08/2012)