Providing Water with Meals is Not a Concern for Young Children

Summary of the Literature & Best Practice Recommendations

A commissioned analysis was undertaken to synthesize findings from recent and ongoing research, together with experts’ science-based opinions, to: 1) determine how to reconcile new federal and California laws requiring water availability in childcare with concerns of some practitioners that water might displace valuable milk and food consumption; and 2) develop recommendations on best practices for promoting water intake to children in child-care settings to alleviate those concerns.

The goals of promoting water in childcare are to enable children at an early age to become accustomed to drinking water as the beverage of choice for quenching thirst, and to develop a life-long habit of consuming non-caloric water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages–without unintended nutritional consequences.