Pedialyte is a common remedy used to prevent and treat dehydration caused by diarrhea. To think, 1 out of 9 deaths among children around the world is due to diarrhea, it is quite understandable why a lot of parents stock up on oral rehydrating solutions at home. If you’re a parent doing the same, then you’re on the right track. But now the question that you might have in mind is, “Can Pedialyte go bad?” Here’s what we’ve found.
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Does Pedialyte go bad?
Pedialyte has the highest quality and effectiveness until the “use by” date that is reflected on its packaging. Typically, this is usually around two years since the product was manufactured. Both Pedialyte bottles and powdered forms won’t go bad within their “use by” dates as long as they remain unopened and are stored properly.
Once you open a Pedialyte bottle, it must be stored in the refrigerator and consumed within 48 hours. Any remaining amount of Pedialyte can go bad and should be discarded after two days.
If you’re using the powdered form of Pedialyte, you’ll have to mix it with 16 oz. of water to form a solution. Once mixed, the unused solution can be stored in the fridge and consumed within 24 hours. Any remaining Pedialyte solution can go bad after a day and must be thrown away.
The instructions on storing and discarding Pedialyte are clearly stated on their packaging and there is a valid reason why you should always follow these instructions.
You might have heard of some people still using their expired or partially consumed Pedialyte, even after the designated time frame. They may even tell you that it still tastes okay.
But is it safe to give your child a partially consumed Pedialyte even after the recommended number of hours? Why is it so important to stick with the recommendations when your solution seems to be fine?
The answer to these questions, along with tips on how to ensure that you are giving the freshest and highest quality of Pedialtye to your sick little one will be shared below.
What is Pedialyte?
Pedialyte is a type of oral rehydrating solution (ORS) that can be used to prevent and treat dehydration in a person who is having diarrhea. A child who has diarrhea cannot effectively absorb the fluids, electrolytes and other nutrients in their gut, so they end up dehydrated. This is when an ORS such as Pedialyte can come in handy.
According to its manufacturer, Pedialyte has the appropriate balance of sugar, sodium, and other electrolytes to help replenish fluid and electrolyte loss in a person with dehydration. When used properly and within its best quality, ORS can reduce 93 percent of deaths caused by diarrhea among children under 5 years of age.
Why does Pedialyte go bad in 48 hours?
Pedialyte can go bad after 48 hours once it is opened, because the sterility of its packaging will have already been compromised. There are lots of bacteria in the air, in the surfaces of your home, in your own hands and especially in your mouth that are unseen by the naked eye. These bacteria can find their way into the bottle of your Pedialyte either by air, or by directly getting in contact with any part of your body.
Another factor to keep in mind is that Pedialyte does not contain any preservatives. So, once bacteria gets in, they can quickly multiply inside the bottle. If stored properly, this won’t be a major cause of concern during the first 48 hours, but overtime, the bacterial count will raise to significant levels. At this point, the bacteria is capable of causing an illness in your child.
On top of that, diarrhea is a common symptom of gastroenteritis, or the inflammation of the stomach and intestines, which can significantly lower a child’s immune defenses. In this case, giving a potentially spoiled Pedialyte can further irritate the gut, and worse, add up another batch of pathogenic bacteria in their digestive tract that will further aggravate the problem.
Does Pedialyte go bad if not refrigerated?
Yes, Pedialyte can go bad more quickly if not refrigerated.
Unopened Pedialyte bottles can be stored in a cool place within its “use by” date on the packaging. However, once you open the bottle, Pedialyte must be refrigerated.
The opened bottle can already introduce some bacteria in its contents. Refrigerating your opened and partially consumed Pedialyte can slow down the growth of the microorganisms inside and thus, would help prolong the freshness of the remaining solution.
How long does Pedialyte last unopened?
Pedialyte can last up to the “use by” date that is printed on its packaging. Pedialyte shelf life is usually within two years after the product is manufactured.
Though some unopened bottles may be kept sterile beyond this time, the manufacturer sets this “use by” date to ensure that the product is still fresh and its contents are consumed in their most effective state.
Quality and effectiveness is extremely important with oral rehydrating solutions like Pedialyte, since ORS is used as a first line treatment to combat the dehydration brought about by diarrhea. Giving a less effective home remedy at this point may put your child’s life at stake because dehydration will not be promptly addressed.
Does Pedialyte expire?
Just like other medications or food items, Pedialyte can eventually expire beyond date that its manufacturer indicated. Pedialyte contains a combination of fluids, sugar and electrolytes that may expire or lose their effectiveness over time. Alongside, the manufacturer states that Pedialyte has no additional preservatives that can further prolong its shelf life.
Proper storage will come in handy to prevent your Pedialyte from expiring sooner than when it supposed to. Both unopened bottles and powdered forms must be kept in a cool place and away from extreme temperature. Excessive heat may affect the expiration of Pedialyte’s quality and freshness.
Additional Tips to preserve Pedialyte’s quality and effectiveness
Aside from following the manufacturer’s recommendations, here are some additional ways that may help you and your child benefit the most out of your Pedialyte:
Store the opened bottle at the inner back of the refrigerator.
The back of your refrigerator is where the temperature is most likely to remain even and consistent. Storing your partially consumed Pedialyte at the door of the refrigerator may affect its freshness, especially if the door is opened and closed frequently.
Use a separate glass or cup when serving Pedialyte to your child.
Using a glass or cup rather than drinking or sipping on the bottle will minimize the bacteria that you’ll introduce into the solution, and thus prevents it from spoiling a lot faster.
Always replace the cap of the bottle immediately after pouring or drinking Pedialyte.
As mentioned, bacteria are also present in the air, even inside your refrigerator. It would be best to replace the cap to seal the bottle and prevent contamination regardless if it is inside or outside the refrigerator.
Take advantage of smaller packaging.
Pedialyte is now available in 500 ml bottles that you can take advantage of when it comes to storage and consumption. Since it will be quicker to consume a bottle half the size, the lesser will be the chance of ending up throwing any remaining solution away.
Stock up on Pedialyte powdered forms instead.
If it’s just for your emergency use at home, you can save money by stocking up on powdered forms of Pedialyte instead of the ready-to-drink Pedialyte bottles. Powdered forms of oral rehydrating solutions often have longer shelf life, so you’ll need to worry less about throwing them out sooner.
Additionally, Pedialyte powdered forms come in handy packets that you can simply mix when needed. This will give you an instant oral rehydrating solution that can be quickly prepared and consumed, be it in your home, at the park, or during travel.
So to round it up, Pedialyte does go bad after their “use by” date if unopened, within 24 hours once the powdered form is mixed with water, and within 48 hours after opening the bottle. So if you plan to consume or offer it to your child beyond these recommendations, think twice.
If used properly, Pedialyte can be of big help to prevent dehydration from diarrhea – and may even save your child’s life. However, without proper preparation, storage and consumption, it will fail to serve its purpose – and may even pose a risk to your little one’s health.