Toddler goes into convulsions from drinking too much water

Thinking that a baby in a hot country must drink a great amount of water at any cost can sometimes be risky.

August 23, 2011 05:08
1 minute read.
Baby sleeping in cot

baby in cot 311. (photo credit: Illustrative photo)

An 18-month-old boy was treated on Monday at Holon’s Wolfson Medical Center for water poisoning caused by drinking two liters of water daily through a baby bottle in addition to his regular feeding.

Weighing 12 kilos, the child received three times as much water as he needed for his age and weight, said Prof. Ilan Dallal, director of the pediatric emergency department at the hospital.

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“Thinking that a baby in a hot country must drink a great amount of water at any cost can sometimes be risky,” said Dallal. “One must offer him unsweetened water, and if he is not interested in more, apparently his body does not need more.”

The baby, who arrived in a state of convulsions, underwent tests, and his parents were asked about his drinking habits. He was not found to suffer from a physical problem except for not having enough salt in his system. The amount of excess water he drank caused the sodium in his blood to be diluted, said the Wolfson team. Once the sodium was replenished, the convulsions stopped, and his condition returned to normal.

Asked how one can know if a baby is drinking too much, Dallal said that if he wakes up several times per night and drinks full bottles of water, causing repeated changes of totally wet diapers, one should consult a doctor.

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