Taking Care of Your Child's Diarrhoea - A Guide For Parents

WHO announced in 2024 that Diarrhea is the third leading cause of death (for children 1–59 months of age)! 

The number of deaths caused by Diarrhoea is alarming: 

  • 443 832 deaths (children under 5)
  • 50851 deaths (children aged 5 to 9 years)

So what is Diarrhoea, and is this disease life-threatening

In simpler terms, it is a frequent and loose (or soft) bowel movement. While this condition is very common in babies, the symptoms usually disappear with proper care and treatment. 

Adequate sanitation and hygiene are enough to take care of this condition. For adults, it is comparatively more manageable. However, kids have sensitive digestive systems, and the compromised nutrient absorption can make it difficult for parents to take care of their kids effectively. 

To make it easy for every parent, here are top tips from pediatricians of Sugar Land:

Understanding Diarrhea

Frequent, loose, or watery stools characterize diarrhea. It can be accompanied by symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramping, fever, nausea, or vomiting. 

In most cases, diarrhea is caused by infections from viruses, bacteria, or parasites. However, it can also result from food intolerances, dietary changes, antibiotics, or underlying medical conditions.

Here are ways how you can ensure a speedy recovery for your child: 

1. Rehydration

The most crucial aspect of managing diarrhea in children is ensuring they stay hydrated. 

Diarrhea can lead to fluid loss and dehydration, which can be particularly dangerous for young children. 

Offer frequent sips of oral rehydration solutions (ORS), which contain a precise balance of salts and sugars to replace lost fluids and electrolytes. 

Avoid giving sugary drinks, carbonated beverages, or fruit juices, as these can worsen diarrhea by drawing water into the intestines.

2. Diet

During episodes of diarrhea, it’s essential to temporarily modify your child’s diet to ease symptoms and promote recovery. 

Offer bland, easily digestible foods such as rice, bananas, applesauce, toast (the BRAT diet), boiled potatoes, and yogurt. Avoid fatty, spicy, or dairy-rich foods, which can exacerbate diarrhea and discomfort. 

The BRAT diet is traditionally recommended for people recovering from gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea or an upset stomach. BRAT is an acronym that stands for:

  • Bananas: Bananas are easy to digest and provide potassium, which can be lost due to diarrhea.
  • Rice: Plain, white rice is gentle on the stomach and can help firm up stools.
  • Applesauce: Applesauce is easy to digest and provides fibre, which can help absorb excess fluid in the intestines.
  • Toast: Plain white toast is bland and easy to digest, making it a good option for an upset stomach.

Gradually reintroduce regular foods once diarrhea improves, starting with simple proteins like chicken or eggs, followed by fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

3. Medications

Over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medications are generally not recommended for children, especially those under the age of six, as they can have adverse effects. 

Consult pediatricians of Sugar Land before giving your child any medication, including anti-diarrheal drugs or antibiotics, as they may not be suitable for all cases of diarrhea.

4. Hygiene

Proper hygiene practices are essential to prevent the spread of diarrhea-causing pathogens to other family members. 

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after changing diapers, using the toilet, or assisting your child with toileting. 

Disinfect surfaces that may have come into contact with stool, such as diaper-changing areas, toilets, and bathroom fixtures.

5. When to Seek Medical Attention

While most cases of diarrhea in children resolve independently within a few days, sure signs warrant medical attention. 

These include: 

  • Persistent diarrhea lasting more than a few days.
  • High fever (over 102°F or 38.9°C).
  • Signs of dehydration include dry mouth, decreased urine output, or lethargy.
  • Blood or mucus in the stool.
  • Severe abdominal pain or swelling.

If you notice any of these symptoms, consult your pediatrician promptly.

6. Preventive Care

Beyond treating diarrhea episodes, prioritize preventive care to reduce the likelihood of future occurrences. 

Your pediatrician can offer guidance on maintaining your child’s overall health through vaccinations, proper nutrition, hygiene practices, and regular wellness check-ups.

7. Emergency Preparedness

While most cases of diarrhea can be managed at home with proper care, it’s essential to be prepared for emergencies. 

Gentle Pediatrics can guide you in creating an emergency plan for your family, including knowing when and where to seek medical assistance in urgent situations related to your child’s health.

8. Local Pediatrician Support

It’s advantageous to establish a relationship with a trusted pediatrician who understands the unique healthcare needs of your child and the community. 

A local doctor, such as a pediatrician in Sugar Land, TX, can offer personalized guidance and support for managing your child’s diarrhea effectively.


While diarrhea can be distressing for both children and parents, it’s usually a temporary and manageable condition. 

Following these guidelines for rehydration, diet modification, hygiene, and knowing when to seek medical help can help your child recover from diarrhea safely and comfortably. 

Always consult your pediatrician if you have any concerns about your child’s health or if diarrhea persists or worsens. With proper care and attention, most children bounce back from diarrhea quickly and without complications.