Water Intoxication in Babies!


Water is a requirement to live a healthy life but surprisingly this health potion can be toxic for babies.

Babies need either breast milk or formula milk. However, it is always good to know that water can be risky for them and their kidneys. It can cause water intoxication, which can lead to confusion, seizures, psychosis, and death. Although adults need to consume vast amounts of water to suffer sodium intoxication, only a tiny amount is enough for babies.

Babies Can’t Drink Water. Why?

Physicians at John Hopkins Children’s Center, Baltimore suggests that babies under the age of six months shouldn’t ever be given water on their own. Although rare, water intoxication is a high risk in their underdeveloped kidneys.

When their kidneys are not fully developed, drinking too much water can make their bodies release sodium, which can be crucial for nerve function. This condition caused by loss of sodium is known as hyponatremia and is fatal.

Babies: Water Intoxication

The first area to be affected after water intoxication is the brain. Hence drowsiness and confusion are the most common early symptoms. However, since the symptoms are subtle, it usually goes undiagnosed till it becomes severe.

Dr Christopher Carrubba says the most common symptoms may include dizziness, confusion, lethargy, facial swelling, limb swelling, and more than eight wet diapers in a day.

The most common risk is giving water to infants at a very early age or when an over-diluted formula is given. Hence, parents should always check the formula instructions and to tackle the first issue, awareness is necessary.

Can babies ever drink water?

Infants can be given water in some circumstances according to paediatrician Dr Jennifer Anders. For example, as part of their formula. However, they also recommend giving it during constipation and heat exposure.


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