How to Care for a Vomiting Child

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Vomiting causes discomfort for children and creates a lot of work for parents. Children often vomit as a result of a stomach virus, but the symptom might also occur with other health problems, such as food poisoning, meningitis, appendicitis, pneumonia and ear infections. Hydration is a major concern with vomiting since most children have difficulty keeping anything in their stomachs. Monitor your child during the vomiting period to make sure more serious symptoms don’t appear.

Step 1

Comfort your child as she vomits, as some children become frightened or upset by vomiting. Provide a bowl or bucket for her to keep near her in case she cannot make it to the bathroom.

Step 2

Offer your child a few teaspoons at a time of plain water. Older children might prefer ice chips. Switch to an electrolyte solution made for children if your child also has diarrhea. Try watered down lemon-lime soda or frozen juice pops as an alternative.

Step 3

Increase the amount of fluids gradually if your child stops vomiting for four hours.

Step 4

Set up a comfortable spot for your child to rest. If she’s not comfortable in her bed, try the couch. Encourage her to sleep if possible to rest her body and possibly avoid the urge to vomit.

Step 5

Offer bland solid foods if your child doesn’t vomit for eight hours. Try saltine crackers, rice, mashed potatoes or similar foods. A normal diet is acceptable after about 24 hours without vomiting.

Step 6

Monitor your child’s symptoms that accompany the vomiting. Watch for dehydration, neck stiffness, severe headache, worsening symptoms or vomiting that doesn’t subside in 24 hours. Call your child’s doctor if these or other severe symptoms appear.

Step 7

Keep your child home from school or child care until the vomiting stops completely. Check with the facility’s policy as some require your child to stay home for at least 24 hours after the vomiting or fever stops.

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