The Importance of Good Hydration and Fresh Drinking Water – Early Learning Centres
Keeping hydrated is important whatever your age and whatever the weather, but dehydration in the heat can be particularly dangerous for young children and babies. The NSW Government website offers some useful health advice and guidance in the case of a heatwave and they also have information pages for childcare centres or people who are caring for young children.
Their 4 key messages for keeping yourself and others healthy in the heat are:
1. Drink plenty of water
2. Keep cool
3. Take care of others
4. Have a plan
Babies and young children cannot adjust to a change in temperature as well as adults can. This means that, especially in hot weather, they can quickly overheat and become dehydrated. Breast or bottle-fed babies will require more in hot weather, and older babies will need to be offered and sometimes reminded, to drink more water. Water is always recommended above other cold drinks, but if you are struggling to get your child to drink enough, then a weak concentration of a low-sugar squash drink is better than allowing them to become dehydrated.
If you have a baby aged over 6 months then you can offer small amounts of cooled boiled water in-between their feeds to help with additional hydration. A great indicator when ensuring your young baby is getting enough fluids, is the amount of nappy changes. 6-8 pale wet nappies in a 24 hour time frame is a good general guide. And don’t forget that if you are a breastfeeding mother you need to stay hydrated for you and your baby!
Staff and educators at early learning centres will also be well trained to ensure that the children in their care remain fully hydrated and healthy. Fresh, clean drinking water will be available at all times and children will be instructed to sit and drink their water at regular intervals. Staff and educators will refill beakers, bottles or cups should they become empty, and on hot days they will also implement the rigorous government guidelines to prevent overheating or exposure to the sun.
Cherry Bridge Station early learning centres are not only trained to ensure healthy drinking habits and hydration, but they also offer fully shaded, fresh air play areas, water play facilities to keep cool and helpful advice for parents and carers on avoiding incidents of dehydration and overheating.
Together we can enjoy the warm weather and with healthy practices and planning we need not dread the soaring heat of summer.