12 Tips for Taking Care of a Vomiting Child

Today, our 4 year old threw up. I was sitting in the dining room chair, had my laptop on my legs and was facing the doors. I was pounding away at the keys, trying to get some work done (I am kind of over the late nights of not getting to bed until midnight and then waking up at 6 am). I stopped for a moment to think and looked up to see the kiddos play on the porch. Z, little boy and L were just having fun. Looked over at L sitting on the bike and he just starts whining. I asked him if he got hurt, did he hit his …. or something. He shook his head, but didn’t say a word. I asked him if he hit his face because he had his hand over his mouth and he said no. Next thing I know, this wave of orange food and liquids comes flying out  of his mouth and all over him and his bike.

I saw it and Z looking at it curiously and jumped into action. I told L to wait there. Picked up Z and rush him and little boy inside (although Z kept screaming bloody murder at me). Went back for L and helped him get his shirt off while trying to corral Z inside with the door still open (not an easy task, let me tell ya). Got L stripped down and rush him into the bathroom. Got him in the shower. Put Z in the walker and got the porch and L’s shirt sprayed off with the garden hose.

I lucked out because he got sick outside, he is old enough to clean himself up pretty well in the shower and I’ve dealt with throw up before. Here’s some tricks that I’ve learned and found while researching online. If your child has other symptoms, you want to know common causes or what is normal and not normal, check out WebMD to know when to go see the doctor (or better yet, call your doctor’s office, urgent care clinic or ER nurse).

  1. Don’t freak out. I mean it! Don’t start screaming and freaking out. Reassure them that they are okay and that yes, something came back up that shouldn’t and there’s a mess, but you are okay, just need to relax and take it easy. The first time L threw up, it was on a pillow about 2 years ago, he cried and cried and cried. I don’t know if he was more scared about throwing up or worried that we would be upset, but Mr. and I comforted him and let him know that he was okay, it was just a pillow and we could wash it.
  2. Also, DON’T FREAK OUT. For many, the smell and sound can be overwhelming. If you are one of these people, hum a song out lout to cover up the noise or throw in earplugs. If the smell gets to you plug your nose or hold your breath. Another option is an aerosol spray, spray and clean.
  3. Don’t have them throw up in the toilet. Whether they are sick with just throwing up or have diarrhea and other symptoms as well, throwing up in the toilet sucks. I remember cleaning the toilet one night when I had food poisoning and I was pregnant because the water was splashing me in the face. Not only was it gross to me, but toilets can smell and if you have to use the bathroom and you’re about to be sick… (which one do you want to clean up less).
  4. On that note, get a bowl. I remember using 2-3 different bowls when we were sick. It  wasn’t that they were the puke bucket, but that they were big enough to hold anyone’s stomach contents without having to worry about it overflowing.
  5. Have a washcloth nearby. I remember my mom used to have two washcloths near us–one was for our foreheads or the back of our necks, as needed and the other was wiping our mouths. Let’s face it, throwing up is never a clean task. You get some stuck on the side of your mouth or hovering on your tongue and no matter how much you spit, it doesn’t go away. A cool washcloth to wipe the mouth is the perfect cleaner.
  6. Cuddle your kid. The younger they are, the more they will want to cuddle. L didn’t want to cuddle, he took a shower got out, put on his underwear and was ready to use Mr’s computer to “play a game”. But, we didn’t because I didn’t want to explain why his new stuff and to be thrown away, if he got sick again.
  7. Movies, cartoons, board games, anything to keep them still. Put the Legos on the table, turn on their favorite movie that you’ve been watching a dozen times a day, teach them a new board game, whatever you can do to keep them from running around and getting sick all over the house. It’s not always easy, but this is also where cuddling them comes into help.
  8. Medicine & Thermometer. Before they have anything super hot or super cold (or 30 minutes after, if I remember right) check their temperature. Make sure there’s no fever, if there is Tylenol or Dimetapp, both have worked wonders for our kiddos.
  9. Remember it will soon be over. Throw up, miserable kids, late nights–none of it is fun for anyone, especially if you have more than one kiddo to chase after during the day.
  10. Snow cone or shaved ice. I am not suggesting go out and spend a bunch of money on one. I found a really cheap version of a kiddie snow cone maker on a Facebook garage sale site for about $5-10. To be honest, this last one, eh, we didn’t do it so much when I was a kid, but I am sure it would really help–I know they did when I was in labor and throwing up. But, you need to keep kiddos hydrated. Milk will only make them throw up more, soda has carbonation and our kids can be weird about it, but a little bit of Pedialyte (cheapo version of this works too) and you have a snow cone for sickness.
  11. Bathe them. When you are feeling crummy and very bleh you know most of us like the idea of a hot shower or a bubble bath. The same applies to kiddos. Climb in and sit with them if you want to (and trust that you’ll be okay if they up chuck).
  12. Enlist help. If you have been up all night, need supplies or anything, ask for help. Many parents have all experienced a vomiting child. Grab someone that can handle it and ask for help. Send the other kiddos to grandma’s for a couple hours, ask your neighbor or family member to drop supplies off outside your door–whatever you need when you have a sick kiddo, ask for help. Chances are pretty good someone out there is willing to lend a hand.


***If you don’t know what to feed your child when they are vomiting, try peppermint tea, crackers, Sprite, 7Up, chicken soup, Top Ramen noodles, Jello or chamomile tea.***


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