Triage Quick Reference Guide

Assessment of dehydration levels in infants

Page last updated: 21 January 2013

The following table provides the assessment criteria for the severity of dehydration in infants.

Signs Severity - Mild Severity - Moderate Severity - Severe
General condition Thirsty, restless, agitated Thirsty, restless, irritable Withdrawn, somnolent or comatose; rapid deep breathing
Pulse Normal Rapid, weak Rapid, weak
Anterior fontanelle Normal Sunken Very sunken
Eyes Normal Sunken Very sunken
Tears Present Absent Absent
Mucous membranes Slightly dry Dry Dry
Skin turgor Normal Decreased Decreased with tenting
Urine Normal Reduced, concentrated None for several hours
Weight loss 4-5% 6-9% Greater than 10%

Source: Health Information for International Travel. Chapter 8: Travelling Safely with Infants and Children. USA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Online) 2005 (Cited 2007 March 24).