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Vomiting in children after an injury

Injuries to the belly, pelvis, or vagina, such as a blow to the belly, can cause vomiting. After a minor injury, your child may have pain, nausea, or vomiting but usually will start to feel better in a few minutes. However, vomiting that continues, gets worse, or begins after an injury may mean that your child has damaged an organ, such as the liver, spleen, or intestines. Blows to the belly can injure the belly, pelvis, or vagina and also can cause vomiting.

Blunt injuries can cause severe bruising or serious bleeding inside the belly. Such injuries are often caused by falls from a significant height or by car, bicycle, sledding, or skiing accidents in which the child is forcefully thrown against an object or to the ground.

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Vomiting after a head injury may be caused by increased pressure inside the skull. A blow to the head that causes slight movement of the brain within the skull may cause nausea and vomiting for a short time. Your child may vomit once or twice.

Immediate medical attention is needed when:

  • Violent vomiting after the head injury continues for 15 minutes or longer.
  • Your child vomits more than 3 or more times after the head injury.

Vomiting can occur when a baby is shaken, slammed, or thrown against an object (shaken baby syndrome). Other types of physical or sexual abuse can also cause vomiting.

You may feel uneasy if your health professional brings up the issue of physical or sexual abuse. Health professionals have a professional duty and legal obligation to evaluate possible sexual injury or abuse in a child. It is important to consider this possibility, especially if there were no witnesses to the injury that may have caused the child's vomiting. If you think that your child has been physically or sexually abused, call your health professional or contact the National Child Abuse Hotline and Referral Service at 1-800-422-4453.

Author Sydney Youngerman-Cole, RN, BSN, RNC
Editor Susan Van Houten, RN, BSN, MBA
Associate Editor Daniel Greer
Associate Editor Tracy Landauer
Primary Medical Reviewer Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer William M. Green, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Updated July 1, 2009

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 01, 2009
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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