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Parental guidance: How much water should kids drink?

In general, it's recommended that kids drink four

In general, it's recommended that kids drink four to six glasses of water a day. (April 22, 2009) Photo Credit: J. MICHAEL DOMBROSKI

Q. I know adults are supposed to drink six to eight glasses of water a day to stay healthy and hydrated, especially in the summer heat. But what is the recommendation for children?

A. In general, four to six glasses a day are what pediatrician Karin Sadow recommends for kids of all ages. Sadow is regional medical director of PM Pediatrics, with offices in Syosset and Selden. Teen boys need closer to the adult recommendation of six to eight glasses, she says.

On hot and humid days when kids are playing outside, Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavior pediatrics at Cohen Children's Medical Center, recommends this strategy: one to two hours before your child goes outside, give him or her a glass of water. Then, have the child drink another one 15 minutes before going out.

Then, for children younger than 10, have them drink a half a glass of water or sports drink every half-hour while in the heat; children older than 10 should have a full glass. "You don't want to be out in the hot weather and spend two to three hours before you rehydrate," Adesman says. "If kids wait until they're thirsty, they may be waiting too long."

Symptoms of dehydration include fatigue, headache, dizziness and/or darkened urine with a strong odor.

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