The health of a child depends on many factors. Drinking water plays a key role in children’s well-being. Babies who are breastfed do not need water for up to six months. Parents begin to give their children water with the introduction of complementary foods.
Many families use bottled or baby water. Sometimes parents are forced to give their babies tap water. Tap water varies in quality from country to country. Tap water in some regions can be very dangerous for young children due to the high content of chlorine and microorganisms.
Is All Tap Water the Same?
People in different countries consume tap water without additional treatment. Not all tap water in the world is of the same quality. Many states pay great attention to the systems of purification and mineralization of water supplied to consumers. It can be drunk by all family members.
Tap water in the United States is considered one of the safest in the world. It undergoes systematic rigorous testing by the Environmental Protection Agency. State water agencies are required to inform consumers of contaminants found in tap water.
Water quality may differ in each locality. It depends on the state of the water supply system: the presence of rust in the pipes, the use of outdated treatment systems, the ingress of hazardous components from the soil, etc. The state of tap water can be found in the reports submitted by the relevant authorities.
How Harmful is Tap Water for Babies?
On average, a baby needs 100 g of water per 1 kg of body weight per day. The quality of the water has a great influence on the healthy development of the child. Polluted water carries more risks for a baby’s body than for an adult. It is not only the presence of hazardous substances in their composition that matters but also their concentration.
A quarter of the world’s population suffers from diseases associated with poor-quality drinking water, according to WHO. Polluted water causes hepatitis A, dysentery, rotavirus infections, etc. Tap water in many countries is disinfected with chlorine, which is dangerous for children and adults. The systematic use of poor-quality tap water can provoke dangerous diseases in children:
Chlorine is used for water purification in many countries. This substance is especially dangerous for children. Children develop allergic reactions when chlorine compounds are systematically ingested. Kids often get sick with ARVI because chlorine negatively affects the immune system.
Chlorine reacts with organic substances and causes the formation of carcinogens. The constant use of chlorinated water provokes the development of cancer. Chlorine irritates the mucous membranes in babies and leads to the development of bronchial asthma.
Ingestion of Escherichia coli
Children cannot be protected from all bacteria that exist in the environment. It is important to limit the entry of pathogenic E. coli into the body. A large concentration of bacteria is found in dirty water. Children experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea with E. coli poisoning.
There may be an increase in body temperature and a feeling of general weakness. Small children lose their appetite. The most dangerous consequence of poisoning is the loss of salts and fluids by the body. It is necessary to take care of the intoxication of the body and stabilize the intestinal microflora.
Lead is one of the heavy metals that are very dangerous for the health of children. The compound can enter tap water from seals for water pipe joints and contaminated soil. Metal accumulates in internal organs and tissues.
Lead poisoning adversely affects the nervous system, liver, and kidneys. The substance has a detrimental effect on red blood cells. Frequent use of such water causes anemia. High levels of lead in the body can be fatal.
The negative impact of heavy metals
Untreated tap water may contain hazardous metals. Mercury is especially hazardous to health. The substance affects the kidneys and nervous system. There is a risk of death after poisoning if its concentration in water due to man-made disasters exceeds the norm.
Aluminum is no less destructive for children. Water pipes in many countries are made from this metal. It enters the body with the ions of drinking water. Aluminum negatively affects the development of the nervous system.
The risk of nitrate poisoning occurs among residents of agricultural regions and private houses in rural areas. The danger of nitrate intoxication is that substances seep into the soil and enter tap water.
There is a high risk of poisoning by substances if the purification system has not coped with nitrates. It is especially dangerous for children under one year old. Symptoms of the disease in infants look like blue skin around the mouth. Children suffer from vomiting and diarrhea, possibly increased salivation.
Risk of hepatitis A infection
One of the reasons for the formation of intestinal infections in children is dirty water. The hepatitis virus can get into tap water from city sewers. The disease is accompanied by fever, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and pain in the liver.
Young children who cannot talk about painful sensations become irritable and moody. Parents can observe dry cough in babies. It is necessary to go to the hospital if symptoms occur.
The viral pathogen causes an upset in the gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms of the disease appear on the second day if you drink poor-quality water and become infected. Children most often suffer from diarrhea, nausea, headaches, and dry mouth.
Rotavirus infection is dangerous for young children because it can cause dehydration. It is necessary to consult a doctor for the first symptoms. Treatment of the disease is symptomatic. The child can be given clean drinking water and sugary drinks should be avoided.
What does water poisoning look like?
Parents remember that children can be poisoned by poor-quality food, but often forget about the risks of dirty drinking water. Babies are more sensitive to chemicals, bacteria, viruses, and heavy metals that can be found in tap water.
The first symptoms depend on the cause of the poisoning. Diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain most often occur in children. Sometimes the child has increased salivation or dry mouth, and body temperature may increase. It is necessary to consult a doctor for the first symptoms.
How can you make tap water safe?
Sometimes unforeseen circumstances occur due to which parents are forced to give their children tap water or cook food on it. It can be boiled if you are not sure about the quality of tap water. Heat treatment kills pathogenic bacteria.
Special filters remain an effective way to purify tap water. They may have different shapes but work on a similar principle. You are supplied with safe water after several degrees of purification. Heavy metals and impurities remain on the membrane.
When Parents Give Tap Water to babies?
High-quality requirements are put forward for tap water in developed countries. It is safe to use for adults and children. Not all countries and regions of one country have the same quality of tap water. Adults give tap water to babies for several reasons:
Lack of knowledge – This mistake is made mainly by inexperienced parents who do not have full information about the risks of poor-quality water for a child.
No other water – Sometimes parents with a child need to stay at a hotel or with relatives. Often there is no way to buy baby water. Then you have to give the children water from the tap.
Parents with children are abroad – Adults habitually give tap water to children in another country if the tap water is of high quality at home. This can cause intestinal disorders in young children.
Parents should carefully approach the choice of drinks that they offer to children. Children under two years of age are most sensitive to the negative consequences of drinking poor-quality water. It is worth consulting with a pediatrician about the water that adults give to children to protect babies.