What to do when toddler vomits?

(November 11, 2010)

A baby or toddler is made to burp after feeding or eating. Sometimes though, a toddler vomits after eating his or her fill. If your toddler vomits at bedtime, especially immediately after a meal, it could simply be because of a heavy intake of food. Force feeding could also be a cause of toddler vomiting. A toddler could vomit for various reasons:
  • Acid reflux: The ingested food goes down the oesophagus into the stomach. As a child’s muscles around the stomach and oesophagus are still weak, the food travels up the oesophagus instead of settling in the stomach, leading to acid reflux.
  • A child seeking parental attention could throw a tantrum leading to coughing and vomiting. Your toddler usually vomits at night, when he or she doesn’t want to sleep. A heavy meal just before his or her bedtime could induce vomiting.
  • If your toddler vomits after eating in most cases there is no need to panic. However, call the pediatrician or emergency services when you suspect:
  • Food poisoning: A toddler vomits after eating if the food is not easy to digest or is contaminated
  • Bacterial or viral infection: There could be a bug or infection in the stomach or intestines, and should be looked into immediately.
  • Chest congestion: A severe cold with continuous coughing or asthmatic attacks could trigger vomiting.

Vomiting could also be a symptom of a head or internal injury, pneumonia, an ear infection, appendicitis, or meningitis.

Vomiting accompanied by diarrhea is of grave concern. When the baby is vomiting several times or for more than 24 hours and also has the following symptoms call your doctor immediately:

  • Swollen and tender abdomen: Could be gas, intestinal blockage, or hernia.
  • Severe pain in the abdomen caused by a blockage, jaundice, or some other infection.
  • Has trouble breathing.
  • Vomits blood or green bile. This could be due to an intestinal blockage. Collect a sample for clinical tests.
  • Has dark yellow urine or hasn’t passed urine for more than six hours, tearless crying, dry mouth and lips, and is lethargic—all signs of dehydration. The immediate thing to do is to call a doctor who will put the child on fluids (electrolytes) orally and/or intravenously to avoid dehydration.
  • Is vomiting, lethargic, cranky, seems to have a stiff neck—could be indications of meningitis.
  • If your toddler vomits frequently after eating try keeping a symptom diary to record things like what he or she had to eat or drink and what he or she  was doing at that particular time. This might help you identify where the problem lies. 

Submitted by N on November 11, 2010 at 04:44

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