Dehydration occurs when the body loses too much water. This can occur if a child loses large amounts of fluid through diarrhea, vomiting, or sweating. Dehydration decreases the amount of blood that circulates to the child's organs. Severe dehydration can cause shock, a life-threatening condition.
Dehydration in small children can develop rapidly and be very dangerous. Watch closely for early signs of dehydration any time your child has a high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, or is too sick to drink.
A young child will not be able to tell you if he or she is feeling dehydrated, so you must look for the symptoms.
A child with mild dehydration:
A child with moderate dehydration:
Severe dehydration is a medical emergency. Call 911 or other emergency services immediately.
A child with severe dehydration:
|Primary Medical Reviewer||William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine|
|Last Revised||May 2, 2011|