OCT 13, 2018 5:58 PM PDT

Why you shouldn't give a baby water

Did you know that babies shouldn't drink water before they are at least six months old? That's because, while human adults are composed of 55-60% water, babies are made up of 75% water - and too much water can be a big problem. 

Though it's important to stay hydrated, everyone's kidneys have a limit to the amount of water they can ingest. If you consume too much water, the excess water will back up into your bloodstream, where it dilutes the salt in your blood. You need a certain amount of salt in your blood because if water dilutes the sodium to less than 0.4 ounces of sodium per gallon, you are at risk for a condition called hyponatremia. Hyponatremia causes your cells to swell up because they absorb the excess water; this can result in symptoms such as confusion, muscle spasms, and vomiting. If bad enough, this can even lead to water intoxication, which is when your brain cells swell. Water intoxication can result in seizures, brain damage, or even death, and roughly 200,000 Americans suffer from it every year. 

But don't fret, the chances of dying from water intoxication for an adult are very low. Babies, on the other hand, are much more vulnerable to water intoxication because their kidneys are so small and don't filter water well. Want to learn more about how to keep your baby safe? Watch the video!

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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