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Babies At Risk for Water Intoxication

Mommy Alert! Hold the Water

Our girl geeksugar told us how one woman died from water intoxication after trying to win a radio contest for a Wii, but who knew babies were also at risk? Interestingly enough, if an infant consumes too much water in a small period of time, they can release too much sodium, which can affect their brain activity.

Dr. Jennifer Anders at Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore advises parents:

Water as a beverage should be completely off limits to babies six months old and younger. Even when they're very tiny, they have an intact thirst reflex or a drive to drink. When they have that thirst and they want to drink, the fluid they need to drink more of is their breast milk or formula.

To see the signs of water intoxication,


If you are concerned your child may have water intoxication, look for these signs:

  • Seizures
  • Low body temperature (generally 97 degrees or less)
  • Puffiness or swelling in the face
  • Drowsiness
  • Irritability
  • Mental changes

Dr. Anders cautions parents to avoid using over–diluted formula or pediatric drinks containing electrolytes. In certain cases, she believes children can safely consume water but it should be done with the doctor's permission and in small doses.

Join The Conversation
anniekim anniekim 9 years
I remember when my daughter was about 5 months and always wanted a drink from my water bottle when I drank. I told an acquaintance about this and she freaked out on me about giving her water. My pediatrician assured me that she was not at risk from taking occasional sips from a cup or adult water bottle. A baby bottle of water from which she could drink a large amount was a serious risk for water intoxication.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
I was told this with my first, although only with breastfeeding. At the time, they were still recommending that formula-feeding mothers supplement with water. By the time I had my second, the recommendation was no water and to always mix formula according to directions.
DesignRchic DesignRchic 9 years
:jawdrop: I had no idea something like this could happen!
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