Get Up & Grow: Healthy Eating and Physical Activity for Early Childhood - Family Book

Providing water for children

Page last updated: 06 June 2011

Babies under six months who are not exclusively breastfed can be offered cooled boiled water. From six to 12 months, cooled boiled water can supplement breastmilk or formula. For children one to five years, water and cow’s milk should be the main drinks offered. Children should have access to drinking water at all times during the day. Where available, offer clean, safe tap water to children – purchasing bottled water is generally not necessary. Plain milk is also an important drink, as it is a good source of calcium. Be careful not to offer too much plain milk, especially just before a mealtime, because children may fill up on milk and then not be hungry for meals.

Sweet drinks are not part of a healthy diet, because they do not provide much nutrition. Water is the best drink. Also, sweet drinks may fill children up (leading to a decreased appetite for healthier foods), and can also contribute to tooth decay and weight gain. Sweet drinks include soft drink, flavoured mineral water, flavoured milk, cordial, fruit drink and fruit juice. Avoid giving any of these to young children.