When to Take Your Child to the Emergency Room?

Vomiting is a common problem involving the stomach or bowel, such as food intolerance, and can occur in children for several reasons. 

Whenever an abnormal strain of bacteria enters the body’s system, your body produces an immune response (antibodies) as a natural defense to purge the body of all unnatural substances.

Nausea and vomiting are the signs of the body trying to fight the infection. While most causes of vomiting might not require immediate medical care, dehydration may be a significant concern. The danger of dehydration involves losing excessive fluid, which depletes the electrolytes in the body. 

Keeping your child hydrated while consulting your doctor for professional advice is crucial.

Causes of Vomiting

Children commonly experience vomiting as a symptom of infection rather than a disease itself. Viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections of the stomach or intestine are the most common causes of this symptom.

Among the illnesses that can cause vomiting in children are:

Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is caused by consuming contaminated food. Usually, symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea start within hours of ingesting the contaminated food.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

When ingested on an empty stomach, NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and aspirin can irritate the stomach, triggering vomiting.

Viral Gastritis

Viral gastritis, an inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract linen, is the most common cause of vomiting and diarrhea. Rotavirus is responsible for this illness.

Food Allergy

Food allergies are an immune response to the consumption of certain foods. Food such as peanuts, fish, and shrimp can lead to allergies and vomiting. Simple home remedies such as taking ginger and castor oil can help ease discomfort.


Children with a strong gag reflex can throw up when vomiting.

Any healthy child, even a baby, can stay up to 12 hours or more without taking much fluid as long as there is no fluid loss due to diarrhea. If the vomiting doesn’t stop within 24 hours, you may need to visit a specialist for proper diagnosis and treatment.

When to Visit your Doctor

Below are some triggers indicating your child needs emergency medical care.

  • It is essential to take your child to the hospital for a proper diagnosis if your child continues to throw up more frequently, as other underlying conditions could cause this.
  • If the color of your child’s vomit or stool has a green, red, or brown shade, seek emergency medical intervention as this could be caused by a blockage in the bowel or other internal problem.
  • A temperature above 102oF is a symptom of a much more serious condition requiring urgent medical care.
  • Vomiting might be a poisoning symptom if your child ingests a cleaning agent such as soap or antiseptics. Seek immediate medical attention for proper treatment
  • It is essential to avoid dehydration which is dangerous and fatal. The risk of severe dehydration depends on the excessive loss of fluid rather than a failure to take in fluids. Seek immediate treatment if your child constantly fails to retain fluid.

You can prevent the spread of disease-causing organisms by constantly washing your children’s hands with soap and water. Clean hard surfaces they may have regular contact with and disinfect with an antimicrobial wipe.

Diagnosis for the Cause of Vomiting

Your doctor may examine your child and administer an appropriate treatment based on the symptoms experienced. A specialist may review your child’s medical record and order a urine test or blood test for relevant information to aid diagnosis.


Treatment varies depending on the underlying condition. If your child has mild dehydration after vomiting, you may administer oral rehydration solutions such as Pedialyte, Enfalyte based on a doctor’s recommendation.

In older children, if vomiting persists, you may administer oral Popsicle or ice chips for easy fluid reabsorption.

Offer your child solid food such as crackers, fruits, yogurt, rice, or vegetables as soon as vomiting stops to ease discomfort and replenish lost nutrients. If the condition worsens after treatment, schedule an appointment with your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

While parenting toddlers can be hard work, you do not want to wait till they start vomiting or nauseating before visiting a pediatrician for a proper checkup. Promote healthy hygiene by washing your children’s hands regularly and adequately preserving food items to prevent food poisoning.