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An Education in Hydration

The importance of drinking an adequate amount of water is well-documented. Dehydration can cause headaches, tiredness and irritability, even future health problems. But, what's the best way for facilities managers to provide fresh drinking water to children in schools? Ethan Thompson, product manager at Heatrae Sadia, talks through the importance of hydration in education, and how a drinking water solution can help.

Drinking plenty of water is vital at all ages – after all, maintaining a good level of hydration can present a whole host of health benefits, from greater concentration to increased energy levels and even weight loss.

But, when it comes to the younger generation, the importance of ensuring a regular intake of fresh water is amplified. Recent research has suggested that children only drink a quarter of the amount of water that they need, and that one in three parents has reported symptoms of dehydration in their child, such as headaches, dizziness and tiredness.

The big worry for parents is that their child’s concentration could be compromised. With school years being some of the most important in a young person’s life, and exam results playing a key role in dictating their future career potential, the time they spend at school must be spent valuably in order to maximise their chances as they progress through the education system. In fact, repeated studies have linked drinking plenty of water with increased performance in school exams.

To this end, it can prove to be invaluable for schools to provide a plentiful supply of cold water that can be readily accessed throughout the day. Not only will this help children to concentrate when they get back in the classroom, but it also helps to steer them away from sugary drinks which can have long-term repercussions for their health, including weight gain and dental problems.

However, tap water can be unappealing for even the most ardent water drinker. With increasing numbers of households buying water filters and associated products, children are more likely to be aware of the quality of water they drink, and refuse to drink water that does not meet up to the standard they expect.

Many schools use water fountains or water chillers around their buildings to provide cold water for students, but this may not be the best solution. Hygiene considerations over the use of water fountains has seen their usage drop in recent years, while water chillers require heavy bottles which are difficult to manoeuvre and need replacing frequently when they are being used regularly.

A more economical and easier to manage method is to provide mains water via plumbed-in chilled water units. These units offer many advantages such as the ability to be thermostatically controlled, and can be either floor stored or mounted onto the wall for convenience. They also offer a high-level of hygiene and are easy and safe to use, without the need for lifting heavy bottles.

Drawing their water directly from the mains, plumbed-in units are hassle free and financially efficient – and they’re easy to install which helps to prevent initial disruption in the school.

Heatrae Sadia offers the SuperChill chilled water unit, which is available in three different models for varying applications. It offers an optional filter accessory and, supplied with its own spout, can be installed in addition to existing taps. Because it is plumbed into the mains water supply, it offers a plentiful source of hydration and refreshment, with a chilled water capacity of up to 30 litres per hour.

Furthermore, packaged in a discreet, sleek frame it keeps walls and surfaces clutter free and takes up minimal space, meaning it can be located as necessary wherever it is needed in the school.

Drinking water stations are vitally important within a school setting, as they can help to improve concentration and the general wellbeing of students. By providing access to chilled water units school leaders can not only cater for the demand for easily accessible water, they can also set their students up for academic success, while supporting them to grow into fit and healthy adults.

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