Combatting dehydration in children

We are so excited to have teamed up with family-run business, Bradley’s Drinks, to help treat children suffering from dehydration at Bristol Children’s Hospital.

The Emergency Department at Bristol Children’s Hospital often see young patients experiencing diarrhoea or vomiting, which can quickly lead to dehydration. If not treated properly and quickly, this can be severe and, in some cases, life-threatening. To combat this, doctors and nurses often use specially made rehydration drinks, with a mixture of salts and sugars designed to keep fluid levels stable. However, it can be difficult to treat young children with these rehydration drinks if they don’t like the taste.

Back in 2016, research was published that showed that when given small, regular sips of diluted apple juice, children suffering from dehydration as a result of mild gastroenteritis were less likely to need additional treatments – this was possibly because they preferred the sweet taste and were more willing to drink it than the medical rehydration drinks they are usually given. 

On hearing this, Dr Giles Haythornthwaite, Paediatric Emergency Medicine Consultant at the hospital, approached Somerset-based Bradley’s Drinks, who agreed to donate a juice dispenser and diluted, pasteurised apple juice through our ongoing Emergency Department Appeal.

Dr Haythornthwaite said: “The children we’ve treated have been able to rehydrate faster, and as a result we’re able to send them home sooner, where their parents can continue to give them small sips of diluted apple juice, rehydrating them effectively at home. It’s really helping us to support children and reduce the number of overnight stays, but also educate their parents."

Aimee White, from Bristol, brought her 5-year-old daughter Maddy (pictured below with Dr Giles Haythornthwaite and Sarah Wratten of Bradley's) into hospital the day after Boxing Day. Maddy had been sick multiple times and was suffering from dehydration as a result.

Aimee said: “When I took Maddy to the Emergency Department, she was floppy and not really responding to our questions, so the team knew they needed to start giving her regular, small doses of fluid to rehydrate her. Giving a five-year-old rehydration drinks isn’t always easy because of the taste, so when the team offered the apple juice Maddy responded well. We were back home the same day, where I continued to give her regular, small sips of diluted apple juice on the advice of the team. It’s a small touch but it had such a big impact, not just on Maddy but also on us as her parents.”

A huge thank you to the wonderful team at Bradley’s Drinks, who have so far donated over 100 litres of apple juice,

To find out how you could support our Emergency Department, visit