Your child’s nausea has turned to vomiting, and you want to help him fast. Luckily, bouts of vomiting in kids aren’t usually harmful, and they pass quickly. Common causes are stomach viruses and sometimes food poisoning. Check in with your doctor if your child is less than 12 weeks old or acts sick, or if you are worried.
Signs of Dehydration
One of the best things you can do is watch for dehydration. Kids get dehydrated more quickly than adults do. Watch your child for: acting tired or cranky, dry mouth, fewer tears when crying, cool skin, sunken-looking eyes, not urinating as often as normal, and when he does go, not peeing very much or urine that is darker yellow.
To prevent and relieve dehydration, try to get your child to drink. Even if vomiting continues, she’s still absorbing some of what you give her. Try water, sports drinks, or oral rehydration solutions like CeraLyte, Enfalyte, or Pedialyte. After she vomits, start with a small amount: a few tablespoons every few minutes. Over time, give her more as she is able to hold it down. Make sure she pees regularly.
What About Flat Soda?
For many years, parents used flat lemon/lime soda and ginger ale to help kids replace fluids, and many doctors still recommend those. But research has begun to show that oral rehydration solutions are better for kids. These drinks offer the right amounts of sugar and salt. An alternative can be a sports drink mixed with an equal amount of water.
When it’s been several hours since your child last vomited, you can begin a clear liquid diet beyond just water, electrolyte drinks, or oral rehydration solutions. Stick with liquids you can see through. They are easier to digest, yet they offer nutrients to give your child energy. Think clear broth, cranberry juice, apple juice. Popsicles and Jell-O can work well, too.
Vomiting in kids usually goes away with a little time. It’s best to wait it out. Over-the-counter medicines for vomiting are not recommended for kids. Those meds won’t help if a virus is the cause -- and it usually is. Fluids rather than medicines are the key. If vomiting is severe, though, doctors may prescribe something.
Home Remedy: Ginger
It’s been used for thousands of years to reduce pain and stomach ills. Researchers believe the chemicals in ginger work in the stomach and intestines as well as the brain and nervous system to control nausea. While it isn’t proven to stop nausea and vomiting in kids, it may be worth a shot. It’s safe for kids over 2. Ask your pediatrician how to try it.
This technique has helped some with nausea. Acupressure puts pressure on one part of the body to bring about change elsewhere in the body. It’s similar to the ancient Chinese method of acupuncture. To try to quell your child’s nausea this way, use your middle and index fingers to press down on the groove between the two large tendons on the inside of her wrist that start at the palm of her hand.
When to Call the Doctor
It’s time to get medical attention for your child if they:
• are under 12 weeks old and vomit more than once
• show signs of dehydration, or you suspect they ate or drank poison
• act confused; or have a high fever, a headache, rash, stiff neck, or stomach pains
• have blood or bile in their vomit, or you think they may have appendicitis
• are hard to wake up, look sick, have been vomiting for more than 8 hours, or if you’re worried
These are signs of what may be a serious underlying condition, and your child should at that point see a doctor.
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.