Most cases of diarrhea (runny or watery bowel movements) are caused by a viral infection in the intestines (bowels). Diarrhea usually is not a sign of a serious illness, but it can make kids lose fluids, salts, and minerals. If your child has diarrhea, it's important to make sure fluids and nutrients are replaced.
Depending on the amount of fluid lost and how severe the diarrhea is, your doctor will suggest that you:
Continue your child's regular diet and give more liquids.
Offer extra breast milk or formula to infants.
Give an oral rehydration solution (such as Pedialyte, Enfalyte, or a store brand) to replace lost fluids. It has the right amount of water, sugar, and salt for kids. You can buy it at drugstores or supermarkets without a prescription. Offer small amounts often by syringe, spoon, or cup. Your doctor can tell you how much to give and for how long. Kids over 1 year old also can have frozen electrolyte pops.
Do not offer plain water to infants — it doesn't have enough sodium and other minerals. Avoid apple juice and other sweet drinks because they may make diarrhea worse.