Vomiting can be caused by many things, but in children it is most often caused by gastroenteritis, usually due to a virus infecting the child’s gastrointestinal tract. This is typically referred to as the stomach flu and can cause nausea and diarrhea.
Vomiting can also indicate that the body cannot tolerate a food or substance it has ingested. Vomiting allows the body to expel the food or substance.
In young babies, vomiting may also be caused as the muscle at the end of the stomach becomes thicker. If an infant forcefully vomits 15 to 30 minutes or sooner after every feeding, the child’s doctor should be called as soon as possible.
If a child vomits frequently and cannot hold down fluids, the child’s doctor should be called. The doctor may recommend an electrolyte solution or may want to see the child.
Offering small amounts of liquid frequently may help prevent dehydration. If the child vomits, wait 30 minutes to an hour before offering additional liquids.
Water should not be given to newborns or infants without specific instructions from the child’s healthcare provider.
If vomiting is accompanied by an injury, a fever or other symptoms, such as lethargy, swelling, sunken eyes or dehydration, the child’s doctor should be called immediately. If vomiting persists, a call to the child’s doctor is warranted.