Signs of Dehydration in Kids and Teens

I’ve made a concerted effort the last few years to spend more time outdoors during winter. But the fact remains that I love warm weather much more than cold. Consequently, we will be spending many more hours outside in the coming months. As we are out and more active, and the temperature steadily increases, I am acutely aware of our hydration needs.

Last week we looked at the amount of fluid we need for each age group. This week we’ll talk about signs of dehydration and some of our favorite ways to make sure we get enough water.

5 Signs Your Toddler/Preschooler is Dehydrated

My kids tend to ignore their thirst until they can’t anymore. Then they chug down eight to ten ounces of water or juice. This is not the ideal way to keep hydrated because it can cause stomach upset and sluggishness. Their bodies also cannot optimally use the fluids dumped in their stomach all at once. 

We have to watch our children and make sure they take fluids at regular intervals. Ideally, you’re all taking a few sips every twenty to thirty minutes when at rest. You’ll drink more ounces more frequently when you are active.

Ready for a summer adventure with their water bottles.

Here are signs that your toddler or preschooler is getting dehydrated.

Dry lips or sticky mouth

Less frequent urination

Dark urine

Sleepiness and irritability

Flushed skin

5 More Signs of Dehydration in Older Kids and Adults

When older kids or teens get dehydrated, you’ll see similar symptoms along with:




Feeling too hot or too cold


Packing Enough Water

In our last post, we talked about how much water each family member needs on a day hike. The amount of water you have to carry will depend on how far you hike, how many people come, and what age they are. 

Just by way of reminder, older kids and adults need about 16 ounces every hour. Younger kids should drink about 10 ounces per hour. Let’s take my family as an example and do some calculations for a two-hour hike.

Two adults- 32 ounces per hour

Two tweens- 32 ounces per hour

One Kindergartener- 10 ounces per hour

That gives us a total of 148 ounces for a two-hour hike. That may sound like an excessive amount, but it is only a little over a gallon. Fortunately, there are many ways to comfortably carry enough water for my family.

My husband and I both have CamelBak water systems. These are small backpacks with a half-gallon water bladder and straw system. The sipping end of the straw comes out of the pack and clips to the shoulder strap. Those packs get us to one gallon.

Tim has a red one similar to this and I have a light gray pack that has some more storage space in it.

We only need about 20 more ounces to reach our requirement. One of our favorite water bottles is made by Nalgene. They are durable BPA-free plastic available in several sizes. We have 32-ounce and 16-ounce sizes. The lid screws onto the bottle but is attached to the mouth of the bottle. You (or the kids) won’t lose the lid, and you can loop it through a backpack strap for easy carrying.

This is a great bottle. I’m holding it in the first picture.
Tim’s favorite Nalgene

Next time we’ll give you some tips to make water more appealing for your youngest hikers. I know I struggle to enjoy drinking water, so I want to give my children a healthy habit early in life. 

Keeping our families hydrated this Spring and Summer is a top priority. We hope you find these tips helpful for carrying enough water for everyone. See this post on for photos of our CamelBaks and Nalgenes.

Thanks for taking the time to read our post. To make following this blog easier, sign up to receive TRAIL FAMILY blog posts in your email (be sure to mark emails from “not junk”) You can follow us on Instagram at trailffamilylife. Check out our videos on our YouTube channel TrailFamilyLife. Like us on Facebook at TrailFamily.

Categories goals, Health and fitness, Lists, resourceTags , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Social Share Buttons and Icons powered by Ultimatelysocial
%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close