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Management of Dehydration - Clinical Dehydration Scale (CDS)

Clinical Dehydration Score (CDS)

Characteristic Score of 0 Score of 1 Score of 2
General appearance Normal Thirsty, restless, or lethargic, but irritable when touched Drowsy, limp, cold, or sweaty; comatose or not
Eyes Normal Slightly sunken Very sunken
Mucous membranes Moist Sticky Dry
Tears Tears Decreased tears Absent tears


Classification Score
No dehydation 0
Some dehydration 1-4
Moderate/severe dehydration 5-8


Note: Goldman, Friedman, and Parkin, (2008). Validated the score to include up to 5 years of age.

Reference: Goldman, R. D., Friedman, J. N., & Parkin, P. C. (2008). Validation of the clinical dehydration scale for children with acute gastroenteritis. Pediatrics, 122(3), 545-549. doi:10.1542/peds.2007-3141

Link to Evidence

These guidelines do not establish a standard of care to be followed in every case. It is recognized that each case is different and those individuals involved in providing health care are expected to use their judgment in determining what is in the best interests of the patient based on the circumstances existing at the time. It is impossible to anticipate all possible situations that may exist and to prepare guidelines for each. Accordingly these guidelines should guide care with the understanding that departures from them may be required at times.