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  1. #1
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    Cycling With Children & Dehydration

    I am working on an article for my blog and am looking for useful reference material. Going to talk about a very important issue for families who ride with young to very young children: Dehydration. I've Googled the subject every way I can think of and have found a certain amount of useful information. I am a little disappointed with the depth of it. There is tons of material on how to know when you need to take the kid to the emergency room but I find little solid information on avoiding that stage beyond general advice. I've ridden with my children when they were very young and potentially very vulnerable without any trouble. We succeeded because I have a lot of experience and can monitor them right down to small behavioral changes that send up red flags for me. I don't really want my article just to rely on my own homegrown experience for everything though. My website is intended to become a real resource so I'm aiming for a certain level of professional research standing behind what I say. Any help (ie links) would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Down here, you drink before you get thirsty, and you teach your kids that at a young age.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  3. #3
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    I've found heat stroke to be more of a problem with kids than dehydration.

    This thing although rare scares me.

  4. #4
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    Not real sure what the answer is, but we have found with our kids, that we keep water bottles in easy reach. For my 4 year old, we have a bike basket on her trail-a-bike, with a water bottle tethered inside. Even without us stopping, she is able to quickly grab the bottle and get a drink. The tether keeps her from dropping it and thus causing an accident.

    For our 18 month old, who rides on in a bike seat, we do the same setup. Sippy cup, tethered to the belt that secures him in. If he gets thirsty, he just grabs it and gets a drink. Again we don't have to worry about it falling and causing us to have an accident.

    For ourselves we have never found that we needed to worry about our kids dehydrating. They always wear nice sun hats, have plenty of water, and in really hot weather, we put cold hankerchiefs on there necks to keep them cool. I guess that we just follow reasonable precautions, start early in the mornings to avoid the hottest part of the day, and look for more shady places to ride in the warmest part of the day.

    I figure that if I am thirsty, the kids needed a drink 20 minutes before! Good luck with the research!

  5. #5
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    The main danger is heatstroke. Children don't have a fully developed mechanism for controlling body heat, so keep an eye on that side of things. They usually (so I'm told - no kids) manage to tell you they're thirsty pretty quickly.

  6. #6
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    We never had a problem that way- kids get thirsty and they drink, and parents usually have the usual clutter of tippee cups and juice and all that stuff anyway. They're probably cooler on a bike than they are at Six Flags or Disneyland.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  7. #7
    Light Makes Right GV27's Avatar
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    Just keep them drinking a bit. Heck - dehydration was not a big deal when I was a kid and I survived just find. People make too big a deal out of it.

  8. #8
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    It's interesting to read people's responses here. I just posted on my blog about our concerns with how little our son is drinking. Granted, we are now touring through southern Mexico where it is hot, hot, hot - but I really think dehydration is a big concern! Maybe I shouldn't be worrying, but I still am.
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by nancy sv View Post
    It's interesting to read people's responses here. I just posted on my blog about our concerns with how little our son is drinking. Granted, we are now touring through southern Mexico where it is hot, hot, hot - but I really think dehydration is a big concern! Maybe I shouldn't be worrying, but I still am.
    Most people aren't doing with their kids what you are doing with yours !

    For the little around the block excursions, group rides and such, I just don't run into dehydration problems. Plus they each have their own camelbak and they really like sucking on them. I could see them "forgetting" if we were out almost every day touring

  10. #10
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Rule 1. Drink before you're thirsty. Kids will probably be thirsty before adults but won't say anything.
    Rule 2. Eat before you're hungry. Ditto.
    Rule 3. Rest before you're tired. Kids will probably need and ask about stopping for a rest before the adults.
    My bikes: 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2015 Cannondale Supersix EVO carbon

    I thought of that while riding my bicycle -- Albert Einstein

  11. #11
    Senior Member CyKKlist's Avatar
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    I'm taking my 6 yr old son on the PALM tour in Michigan in June. That'll be 50 miles a day for 6 days. It won't be broiling hot but it'll be summer. I just ordered him a kid's sized Camelbak so that he'll always be able to take a sip while he's riding. I have a mega (3-liter) sized Camelbak plus my touring bike holds up to 3 water bottles. Realistically, we're on a supported ride and I'm not too concerned about hydration. But the notes about heat stroke are appreciated. We'll stop frequently, get our heart rates down, find some shade, maybe a dip in a lake, etc.
    Of course, this is all good advice for me, since I'm the one pulling him along on the trail a bike!
    Latest bike tour journal now posted -- PALM ride across Michigan!
    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/palm2009

    Also -- NC Courthouse Tour, using Amtrak to Charlotte
    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/nccourthousetour

    Trek 520 for commuting, touring, family rides and smiling at life.

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