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August 1992

Oral Water Intoxication

Author Affiliations

Wellstart 4062 First Ave San Diego, CA 92103

Am J Dis Child. 1992;146(8):893. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1992.02160200015002

Sir.—Keating et al1 state that the best methods to prevent oral water intoxication are (1) to increase provisions of formula by the special supplemental food program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and (2) to better educate mothers as to the hazards of excessive water ingestion. This conclusion was also supported by one of the editorial board members of AJDC.2 Both Keating et al and Finberg failed to recognize that promotion of breast-feeding exclusively for the first 6 months of life is the best way to prevent water intoxication.

The explanations presented by the care givers for giving excessive amounts of water to infants were as follows: running out of formula, diarrhea, fussiness, "infection," a hot day, thirsty infants, and miscommunication among care givers. Such circumstances would not require water administration if breast-feeding was practiced exclusively in the first 6 months of life. Additionally, the mean age

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