As the year heats up, making sure we – and of course, our kids – get enough water to drink is very important.


Dehydration can lead to all sort of issues, especially in little ones, so it's really key that you keep an eye on what they're drinking in the day if you can – and checking their urine can be a really good way to do that.

"As a very general rule of thumb," says our expert family GP Dr Philippa Kaye, "the darker your child's wee is, the more dehydrated they are – and the more they need to drink plenty of fluids.

"But it's also worth knowing that if your child is very severely dehydrated or unwell, they may stop producing urine altogether. So, if your child is drowsy, limp and/or unrousable, don't wait for them to urinate so you can check the colour of their wee; instead please seek urgent medical help."

Obviously, the best thing is to avoid the dehydration in the first place. That's why we love this simple-to-read chart: it shows 50 shades of yellow your child's urine can appear – from a pale yellow, meaning they're perfectly hydrated, to a dark brown, meaning they're severely dyhydrated, and the stages in between that could be a 1st waning that they're on the way to dehydration....

child dehydration: shades of urine chart

You could even print this chart out and pin it up in your loo – for quick colour-matching when anyone in the family has a wee!

Now, here at MFM HQ, one of our team says her daughter's school is already doing a pretty good job at teaching the children there to check their wee. Maybe it 's same at your child's school?

"Pretty much every time my 5-year-old daughter goes to the toilet," says our team-member, "she looks into the loo bowl and checks the colour of her urine. She's happy if it's pale but, this morning, it was dark yellow and she commented on how she'd need to have a glass of water.

"I've not told her about doing this, so she must have got it from school. I'm going to give he this chart now, as it will make the process loads more fun – she'll want to match the colours exactly!"

About our expert, Dr Philippa Kaye

Dr Philippa Kaye works as a GP in both NHS and private practice. She attended Downing College, Cambridge, then took medical studies at Guy’s, King’s and St Thomas’s medical schools in London, training in paediatrics, gynaecology, care of the elderly, acute medicine, psychiatry and general practice. Dr Philippa has also written a number of books, including ones on child health, diabetes in childhood and adolescence. She is a mum of 3.

Pic: Getty. Illustration: Emma Williamson h/t SodaStream


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Tara BreathnachContent Editor and Social Media Producer

Tara is mum to 1 daughter, Bodhi Rae, and has worked as Content Editor and Social Media Producer at MadeForMums since 2015