Water and Children

Water and Children

Did you know that children are at higher risk of dehydration than adults? The child's body store less fluids and in addition, while adults have easy access to water, the children are dependent on the quantity of fluids that their parents give them. Also, an important reason is that children are not yet able to recognise the first signs of thirst, but unfortunately feel that they need water and they ask for it only when their body is already dehydrated. The child's body is made up of about 60% water, it is important, therefore, to care for their proper and healthy hydration throughout the day.

Dehydration at school

Children spend a lot of hours at school and they need water the most during these hours! They participate in strenuous activities, they run and play with their friends and also have a lot of classroom time. A relevant survey reveals that water consumption by children when they are at school, is insufficient. At the rate of:

40% Water is not permitted in the classroom

31% Limited access to water

29% Free access to water - encouraged to keep bottled water at the student's desk

The school should promote and inform of the students’ proper hydration. Because, as demonstrated by another survey, conducted in Great Britain in which 59 children (7-9 years) participated, proper water consumption helps pupils a lot. It offers mental clarity and improves their performance, enhancing their memory and concentration during lessons.

How much water do children need?

The right amount of fluids that a child needs depends on several factors: age, sex, environmental temperature and physical activity (due to greater fluid loss) play an important role. As a general rule they should consume 6-8 glasses of fluid per day. The following table by the European Food Standards Agency (EFSA) shows the quantities of fluids that must be consumed per day by children.

TABLE 1.EFSA's required fluid intake guide for children

S/N

AGE

BOY

GIRL

1

2-3 years old

1.3 litres/day

1.3 litres/day

2

4-8 years old

1.6 litres/day

1.6 litres/day

3

9-13 years old

2.1 litres/day

1.9 litres/day

4

adolescents (> 14 years old)

2.5 litres/day

2.0 litres/day

 

* Source: EFSA (2008)

Time for water - Healthy & economical solution

There is always time for a glass of water. However, it is extremely important to ensure that the child has easy access to clean water all day! We must encourage them to consume water from the early morning hours, e.g. before they leave for school, but also throughout the rest of the day during any activity of their activities. During school breaks, at mealtime, when studying for the next day, when they play and when they exercise. The most hygienic, ecological and economical way for children - and adults - to always have clean and healthy water is to provide this from home in reusable bottle (e.g. 0.5 litres). Rainbow Waters® gives you the solution, by filling your reusable container with water either from the bottled water cooler  or from your faucet’s home water filter . At this point we must note that we should not reuse plastic disposable PET water bottles, except for recycling.  So you will be sure that your child can always drink clean water and remain hydrated.

Soft drinks or water?

Water is essential for the child's body, but they also need to intake proteins, vitamins & trace elements for proper growth. The Natural Hydration Council (NHC) in collaboration with the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) created the Kids Cup Hydration, a guide for healthy hydration for children aged 4-13 years, to inform parents and teachers. It includes advice on fluid intake for children, while taking seriously taking into consideration the negative impact that certain soft drinks may have on the health of their teeth. It is recommended that drinks containing sugar, preservatives and an acidic composition be avoided because they are directly related to weight gain and obesity in children and can even cause plaque and tooth decay. Instead, they fearlessly recommend the daily and abundant consumption of water because it ensures the child’s proper hydration without putting on weight (does not contain calories) and does not damage teeth. It also recommends, frequent consumption of milk and natural juices that are rich in nutrients such as vitamins and trace elements.

We therefore need to encourage children to quench their thirst with water before consuming any beverage to help them develop their desire for water. This will help them to learn to acquire daily healthy habits, valuable for their development, since water is the most natural, healthy drink for children!

If you want to read more about the solutions we recommend for safe and clean water, find out about 3ΜTM Home water filters from Rainbow Waters®.

Sources:

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

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

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