Health Tips

Water Dangers -- Infants and Water Consumption Don’t Mix

In these difficult economic times, parents are frantically searching for places to cut corners and make the family budget go further. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics warns that the one area that shouldn’t be cut is in the preparation of infant formula.

Health risks of overdiluting infant formula
Overdiluting formula can lead to serious health consequences for babies. Recently, a Florida infant almost died after his mother added extra water to his formula in an attempt to stretch the food budget.

A formula prepared with too much water dilutes the sodium in the baby’s blood, disturbing the electrolyte balance and potentially causing seizures. In addition, the baby receives too few nutrients, which can affect his overall health and growth.

Babies under the age of 1, or small children that are already dehydrated, are more prone to infant water intoxication than any other age groups.

Follow formula preparation guidelines
The AAP urges parents to follow the manufacturer’s directions carefully in preparing formula. Parents who are having trouble affording a sufficient supply for their baby’s needs should talk to their pediatrician, or contact their county health department, social service agency, food pantry, or community organization that supports parents and children.

Baby formula alternative
Breastfeeding – the recommended and preferred method of feeding infants – provides ideal nourishment and sufficient liquid, so supplementing with water is not necessary and not recommended.

Preventing water intoxication when your baby needs rehydration
To prevent water intoxication when your baby has had diarrhea or vomiting and is in need of rehydration, ask your doctor about the use of an electrolyte replacement solution such as Pedialyte or Ricelyte.

Date: January 2009

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