Written By: Javier P.
At SOS, we believe that every child matters. In all of our areas of impact, caring for children is at our core. The first five years of a child’s life are critical to their development. Everything that happens in that time can impact the trajectory of their lives, in the best or worst of ways. You may already know that one of our areas of impact is water, and we work to provide free and fair access to clean water for all. Water is essential at any age, but here are the reasons why water is so important to children in their first five years of life.
Water Is Vital for Healthy Growth
Water plays a massive role in keeping children healthy as they develop. At the earliest part of a child’s life, their bodies are sensitive to any type of deficiency. The body needs water for healthy joints, bones, teeth, and blood circulation. Most major organs depend on water to function well – even more than they depend on food. Organs such as the kidneys, brain, heart, and lungs are all composed of at least 60% water. Water is a must for a growing body.
The brain is made up of 80%-85% water, making it the organ with the highest water concentration besides the kidneys. In the first five years of life, the brain develops more than at any other time. This means hydration is vital to children in a critical learning time. Brain functions like memory, critical thinking, and attention span develop during this time and depend on water. This is why kids who don’t have clean drinking water have trouble learning in school – their brains and bodies don’t have the water they need to thrive.
The Importance of Access
Children need access to clean water to be hydrated and healthy. Drinking unsafe water is dangerous to the health and future of children. Unsafe drinking water can contain harmful bacteria that can lead to diarrhea, a major leading cause of death in children under age five.
Water is important to a child’s education as well. Clean water helps kids stay focused in school and means fewer sick days, allowing them to receive a robust education. Water also keeps children safe from traffickers who would try and prey on any lack of basic needs. With close access to clean water, long and dangerous trips aren’t needed, allowing children to stay in school and out of the hands of traffickers.
The clean water that they drink will help them to focus in school. More time in the classroom combined with the hydration their brains need to do well greatly benefits their futures!
For an at-risk child, access to clean water changes everything!