Is Your Drinking Water Back-to-School Ready?
It’s that time of year again. The kids are going back to school. So you’re packing lunches, pencil-cases and backpacks. But don’t forget this must-have item: quality drinking water.
Did you know water impacts the brain just as much as it impacts muscles? Because of this, quality water plays an important part in each day. It helps kids stay hydrated so they can use more energy on learning, playing and growing.
How Much Water Should Children Drink in a Day?
The amount of water kids need in a day depends on a variety of things. First, their age. Second, their activity level. And third, the weather.
Kids between the ages of one and three should consume roughly two to four cups of water every day. And kids between the ages of four and eight should drink at least five cups. When kids are nine to 13 years old, they should have around seven to eight cups in a day. And kids ages 14 and older should consume eight to 11 cups of quality water every day.
When determining the amount of water required for your child, it’s important to note their activity level. Kids who are active in sporting events, walking to or from school, or participating in other physical activities, should drink more water than non-active children.
It is especially important to drink water after exercise. If your kids are running around, they should be drinking a few more cups of water once the activity is over. During the activity or exercise, they should drink smaller amounts of water to keep hydrated.
High temperatures and humidity levels cause dehydration faster than cooler temperatures and lower humidity levels. So it’s important to pay attention to the weather. And be sure your kids are drinking more water if it’s hot and sticky outside.
Water makes up around 60 percent of the human body. And it helps keep the body functioning. That includes digesting food, absorbing nutrients and maintaining a healthy body temperature.
Without water, the body becomes dehydrated. Dehydration causes the following symptoms: dry mouth, exhaustion, headaches, dry skin, muscle aches or soreness, constipation and dizziness.
Sugary Drinks & Caffeine
While the taste of soda and juice might be more appealing to kids, they’re not the healthiest options. Popular sodas among kids contain anywhere from 39 grams of sugar to 46 grams of sugar per 12 oz.
Caffeine is another chemical that kids are consuming in abundance. A study shows that 73 percent of kids consume caffeine in a day. In addition to soda, some kids are drinking coffee, which contains even higher levels of caffeine.
Some of the negative effects of caffeine on children include increased heart rate, changes in blood pressure, jitteriness, nervousness, upset stomach and problems sleeping or concentrating.
So while it’s important to keep an eye on these drinks, it’s just as important to make sure your kids are drinking enough water, too.
How Much Water Is Consumed Away From Home?
On average, kids spend between 6 hours and 30 minutes to 7 hours and 15 minutes in school in the United States. And the school year lasts between 175 and 182 days, depending on each state.
So needless to say, kids spend a lot of time in school.
Therefore they should be drinking a lot of water in school. Why does that matter? Well, the EPA estimates that 8,000 schools and daycares are regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). This means that roughly 98,000 public schools and 500,000 child care facilities might or might not be testing their water for quality or contaminants.
Is There Lead in School or Daycare Facilities’ Water?
No federal laws require that drinking water is tested inside of schools or childcare facilities. Unless they own and operate their own public water system, they do not have to comply with the SDWA. However, this doesn’t mean that local schools and childcare facilities aren’t testing their water.
If you’re concerned about the drinking water in your local school or childcare facility, here are a few things you should look for or ask a staff member.
- Check interior and exterior walls for paint chipping, cracking or peeling. Paint chips that fall into the soil can contaminate the areas affected.
- Survey the area where kids are playing to check for dirty, dusty areas. And make sure the outside playing soil is tested for lead.
- Examine the playground equipment for lead paint.
- Ask the school or childcare provider about the water and if it has been tested.
Why Does It Matter?
Including lead, the EPA regulates dozens of contaminants in water.
And contaminants can impact pregnant women and younger children in more extreme ways. Some of the most common water contaminants are:
Low-level exposure to arsenic, via drinking water, results in the possible increases of health problems like cancer. The chemical enters water supplies naturally through bedrock, or as an industrial byproduct.
While the smells and tastes of chlorine are unpleasant, chlorine can also dry out your hair and skin. Many municipalities use chlorine as a disinfectant in water. However filtering it out before using water can reduce those harmful or annoying effects.
Chromium – 6
Another name for chromium-6 is hexavalent chromium. And it’s a very toxic contaminant. It is released into groundwater after industrial activities. Like chrome plating, leather dying, wood preservation and the processing of stainless steel.
Coliform and E. coli
Total coliform, fecal coliform and E. coli make up a group of 16 bacteria. Bacterial contamination is sometimes a result of septic system failure. And agricultural runoff. Infection symptoms can range from digestive issues like diarrhea or vomiting, to fatigue and fever. In severe cases it can be linked to kidney failure and anemia.
There is no safe level of exposure to lead. And that is especially true for kids. They can suffer harmful and possibly chronic effects, ranging from stomach pain to brain damage. Seeping through lead pipes, solder and fixtures is how water is exposed to lead.
When rain soaks into the ground, magnesium runs through sand, soil and rock. And the presence of magnesium causes hard water. Because of this, it is not a direct health concern. However it can cause buildup in pipes, shorten the lifespan of appliances, increase the use of soap and detergent and cause dry skin, dull hair and leave behind water spots on dishes.
Most nitrates are naturally occuring in soil. Because nitrates are a crucial nutrient for food, flowers and green lawns to grow. But that also makes them a major ingredient in many fertilizers.
Overuse of nitrates in fertilizer is the largest cause of contamination in water. A heavy concentration of nitrates can spread through soil and concentrate in groundwater. Creating potential health risks, especially for pregnant women and infants.
Radon is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas. When uranium, a common element in bedrock, decays, radon is made. Radon gas dissolves in groundwater. It is then released into the air when a faucet is turned on.
A highly radioactive chemical element, radium is undetectable without professional testing and equipment. Long-term consumption of even low doses can increase the chances of cancer, birth defects and kidney damage.
Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless gas with an unpleasant smell. Most people compare it to rotten eggs. And it is especially strong in hot water.
But in addition to unwanted smells, sulfur can cause a laxative effect. Symptoms include increased rates of diarrhea and dehydration. It can also stain plumbing fixtures, toilets and sinks. While tarnishing silver and copper household appliances or dishes.
At Culligan, a variety of water treatments are available for reducing contaminants in water.
One easy to way to provide your kids with cleaner drinking water is to get a Reverse Osmosis system for your home. A Reverse Osmosis filter reduces many commonly found chemical and biological contaminants in water.
Because there are many different water problems, Culligan offers many different solutions. Another solution is to install a Culligan® Water Filtration System.
With this type of system the water enters a pre-filter, which removes larger particles, contaminants and impurities. Then the water is treated to reduce chlorine and chlorine-like contaminants. Finally a carbon filter catches any remaining impurities before the water reaches the faucet.