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First Aid & Emergencies

Babysitting: Dealing With Vomiting

Kids might vomit (throw up) for lots of reasons. Most often, vomiting is caused by a stomach virus.

Vomiting can make kids lose important fluids, salts, and minerals. To counter that, you need to keep the child hydrated.

Let the parents know if a child has vomited, especially if the child cannot keep clear fluids down.

What to Do

If a younger child is vomiting:

  • Every 15 minutes, give the child 1-2 tablespoons of an electrolyte solution, clear broth, or diluted juice. You can also offer an ice pop.
  • If the child vomits after drinking the electrolyte solution, clear broth, or diluted juice, wait 20-30 minutes and start over.

If an older child is vomiting:

  • Give the child clear fluids such as water, electrolyte solution, or clear broth. Be sure the child drink the fluids slowly.

If an infant throws up or a child continues to vomit repeatedly or has abdominal pain or fever, call the parents right away.

To help prevent vomiting, avoid overfeeding kids — especially babies.

To avoid spreading germs that cause stomach viruses, wash your hands a lot. Make sure kids wash their hands before eating, after using the bathroom, or after playing outside.

Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: May 2013