Vomiting can be scary in little children. Thankfully, most vomiting episodes are caused by tummy bugs and as long as your child stays hydrated, they will usually get better on their own.
For a vomiting child, the biggest mistake a parent can make is to stop giving them fluids. Fluids should be given in frequent small sips (even up to 1 tsp every 5 minutes!) to prevent dehydration.
The best fluid for oral rehydration is called Pedialyte and is available over the counter. Other options include popsicles, both Pedialyte and regular popsicles, as well as Jell-O, which has a high water content. Apple juice, diluted half and half with water, can help with hydration as well.
As long as your child seems well hydrated to you as defined by:
You’re generally okay to watch and wait.
Visit an emergency room for:
Repeated episodes of very forceful vomiting in infants, particularly after they eat, need to be evaluated urgently by a provider. They don’t require an ER visit initially, but this may be where your child ends up depending on the initial evaluation.
These instances aside, you don’t need an urgent provider visit for your child for vomiting. Something to consider, though, is that pediatricians are often able to prescribe a special medicine to help slow or stop vomiting called Zofran. Even if you’re not yet worried about dehydration, this medication can come in handy to help head off this outcome.
This illness guide is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
If you think your child may have a life threatening emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.