Vomiting & Nausea in Children

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Vomiting is when you throw up what is in your stomach. Nausea is when you feel like you’re going to throw up.


Here are some common causes of nausea and vomiting:

•  Viruses in the intestines. (Your child can get diarrhea, too.)

•  Getting upset.

•  Morning sickness in pregnant teens.

•  Motion sickness (getting “car sick” or “seasick” from travelling).

•  Some medicines.

•  Spoiled food.

•  Eating or drinking too much.

Some serious problems cause vomiting, too. Here are some of them:

•  Appendicitis. This is when your child’s appendix is infected.

•  Stomach ulcers.

•  Meningitis.

•  Brain tumors.

Watch your child very closely if he or she is vomiting. Babies and small children can get dehydrated very fast. Dehydration is when your body doesn’t have enough water.


Your older child or teen may make themselves throw up. This could be a sign of anorexia nervosa or bulimia.

Questions to Ask


•  Be calm and loving. Throwing up can scare a child.

•  Keep a bowl or basin near your child. Hold your hand against your child’s forehead when he or she vomits.

•  Give your child water to rinse his or her mouth out after throwing up. Sponge your child’s face.

•  Take away dirty clothes or bedding. Change to clean ones.

•  Don’t smoke near your child.

•  Don’t feed your child solid food. Don’t give your child milk.

•  Wait 1 hour after your child throws up. Then give your child clear fluids (not too cold or too hot). Here are some examples:

– Pedialyte®, Revital Ice®-rehydrating freezer pops, or other over-the-counter mixtures.

– Lemon-lime soda or ginger ale for  older children. Stir the soda until the fizz is gone.

– Gelatin (any color but red).

•  Start with 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of liquid every 10 minutes for babies. Start with 1 to 2 ounces every 15 minutes for children. Give twice as much each hour after the vomiting stops. If your child is still vomiting, stop fluids for 1 hour. Then start to give small amounts of fluid again.

•  Slowly give your child more and more clear fluids. Don’t make your child drink when he or she doesn’t want anything.

•  If you are breast-feeding:

– If the baby throws up 3 or more times, give your baby Pedialyte® or other over-the-counter mixture.

– Go back to nursing when your baby has gone 2 to 4 hours without vomiting. But feed less. Do only one side, and only for about 10 minutes.

– Go back to nursing on both sides after 8 hours of no vomiting. But feed your baby less than usual for about 8 hours.

•  For bottle-fed babies: After 12 hours of no vomiting, give formula. But mix 1/2 formula with 1/2 water.

•  After your child stops throwing up, keep giving him or her clear fluids, like broth and gelatin (any color but red). Do this for 8 hours. Then give foods easy to digest, like crackers and rice. Then go back to the usual foods your child eats. But wait 12 to 24 hours after the last time your child vomited to give milk.

•  Don’t give your child over-the-counter medicine unless the doctor tells you to.

Call the doctor if your child doesn’t get better or if the vomiting comes back.

This website is not meant to substitute for expert medical advice or treatment. Follow your doctor’s or health care provider’s advice if it differs from what is given in this guide.


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