June 1992

Water Intoxication

Author Affiliations

Barnes Hospital 4911 Barnes Hospital Plaza St Louis, MO 63110
Washington University School of Medicine St Louis Regional Medical Center Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology 5535 Delmar Blvd St Louis, MO 63112

Am J Dis Child. 1992;146(6):659. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1992.02160180017004

Sir.—In the September 1991 issue of AJDC, Keating and colleagues1 presented results of compelling, descriptive, epidemiologic research on the growing problem of oral water intoxication in infants.

The authors suggest that the unavailability of infant formula was a major factor in the increased occurrence of oral water intoxication and substantiated this conclusion with the fact that the current amount of formula supplied through the Women, Infants, and Children program is inadequate for the growing infant. Mothers simply supplement with water when the formula runs out.

We agree with the authors that more formula must be made available for poor infants and that care givers must receive better education about using formula. However, the obvious and most cost-effective solution to this serious health risk is the promotion and support of breast-feeding through infancy by all providers of maternal and child health care.

The superiority of breast-feeding for both infants and

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