From relieving dry skin to protecting joints, water helps children's bodies rejuvenate and stay hydrated. Dr. Shivani Mehta, pediatrician at Atrium Health, explains the added health benefits of drinking more water and easy ways to incorporate drinking water into your child's daily routine.

Child Health, Your Health | one month ago

Healthy Together: Drinking more water helps your child stay hydrated inside and out

From relieving dry skin to protecting joints, water helps children's bodies rejuvenate and stay hydrated. Dr. Shivani Mehta, pediatrician at Atrium Health, explains the added health benefits of drinking more water and easy ways to incorporate drinking water into your child's daily routine.

With cooler, winter temperatures, one might think that because they aren't overheated, water isn't a necessity. However, experts, including Shivani Mehta, MD, MPH, who specializes in general pediatrics at Atrium Health, says water bottles should be filled throughout the winter and sugary drinks should be avoided, especially for children.

"Winter can be tricky because you're not in the hot sun or sweating so there isn't that trigger," says Dr. Mehta. "However, when indoors wearing extra layers and being near a heater can dry out our bodies without realizing it."

Surprising benefits

Dr. Mehta says the amount of daily water intake depends on weight and age, but a general rule of thumb is to drink "a cup per year of life," maxed out around eight to ten cups. Especially during the winter time when viruses and the flu are more prevalent, consuming water helps flesh out toxins and fight off illnesses.

Dr. Mehta further explains water is essential to keeping temperatures normal and protecting joints on a day-to-day basis.

Signs of dehydration

Aside from the obvious signs of dehydration, like feeling thirst, Dr. Mehta says other signs to look for are darker urine, frequent nose bleeds, flaky skin and chapped lips. With winter often comes dry noses and skin; Dr. Mehta explains that while Chapstick and lotions may have external benefits, water is key to staying hydrated and rejuvenated.

"Water hydrates both inside and out," says. Dr. Mehta. "You may put on extra lotion and cream to alleviate dry, flaky skin, but unless you are drinking water, you won't be completely relieved of dryness."

Dr. Mehta explains children that tend to be more dehydrated have more fatigue; suffering from mild headaches which can affect ability to concentrate and overall feeling better."

Making water more fun

While water may not be as appealing to children as a sweet and fruity juice box, Dr. Mehta recommends adding fruits, like citrus fruits – which are easier to come by in the winter time – or watermelon, to make water naturally sweetened.

According to Atrium Health's Healthy Together 5-2-1-0 program, a program dedicated to helping children lead a healthy, active life, water quenches thirst and replenishes nutrients better than any other beverage.

"Making water fun for kids is an easy way to get them to hydrate more often," says Dr. Mehta. "Picking out their own water bottle from the store, or adding a crazy straw, makes drinking water more appealing."

Dr. Mehta says drinking water isn't the only way for children to get the water they need; incorporating fruits and vegetables that contain water into children's diets, such as lettuce, cucumbers, broccoli and carrots, is another alternative to ensure children are getting the water intake they need.


By eating more fruits and vegetables, being physically active for at least one hour per day, limiting recreational screen time, and avoiding sugary drinks, your family can join the 5210 League and make the pledge to be healthy together. Learn more about the 5210 League.