When your toddler's temperature starts to climb, getting fluids down his throat becomes high priority, especially if he also starts losing fluids at either end. You might feel like a waitress at a restaurant with a 10-page menu as you offer your dry little guy every type of drink in the house in an effort to keep him hydrated. Getting a sick toddler to down enough fluids to avoid dehydration can become a full time but essential job; a toddler with fever, diarrhea or vomiting can dehydrate extremely quickly.
1. Offer Forbidden Fruit
Now is no time to worry about good nutrition -- you can get back to a healthy diet once your little sickie is on the mend. Even if soda has never touched your toddler's lips, try a little flat ginger ale or cola to get her to drink. If she has severe diarrhea, you'll need to be stricter about the fluids you offer. Limit fruit juice; sorbitol, a sugar in fruit juice, is difficult to digest and can cause or worsen diarrhea. Also avoid sports drinks and soda if she has severe diarrhea, because they don't contain a proper balance of electrolytes for rehydrating a toddler. Stick to oral rehydration fluids and seek medical attention if your toddler develops signs of dehydration, such as sunken eyes, loose skin, no tears when crying or lethargy.
2. Try Solid Liquids
Popsicles melt into liquid, as you undoubtedly know if you have a toddler. Although you might not welcome the mess, you might find your toddler more willing to slurp on a popsicle than drink. Some electrolyte replacement manufacturers have made it easier for you by making frozen version of their drinks. Applesauce, watermelon, soup and other foods with a high water content get the fluids in and add a little extra nutrition, but only if your toddler is interested in eating them.
3. Soothe a Sore Throat
If your little guy has been vomiting, has tonsillitis or has a cold that's causing post-nasal drip, he might have a sore throat that's interfering with his ability to drink. He might be more willing to drink if you medicate with acetaminophen or ibuprofen to soothe the sore throat before you offer him something. Use liquid medicine even if your toddler can handle pills, since swallowing or even chewing a pill might be too much for him if his throat hurts.
4. Keep Her Sipping
Your sick toddler isn't going to down a big ole glass of anything, so don't offer anything in a glass so large it will discourage her from drinking. Offer her liquids in tiny glasses, even shot-glass size if you happen to have any around. The novelty might tempt her to drink out of it more readily, and she can see she's making progress in emptying the glass quickly. Of course, you'll need roller skates to keep up with the endless trips to the kitchen to refill her shot glass, but no one ever said parenthood would be easy.
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