Nausea and Vomiting in Infants and Children

Parents often feel uncomfortable when their children are unable to eat or hold down food or fluids. Many mild illnesses may lead to a "sour stomach" or an inability to hold down food. Sometimes nausea and vomiting may be signs of a more serious condition. Follow this chart for more information about these problems.

Our trusted Symptom Checker is written and reviewed by physicians and patient education professionals. Find a possible diagnosis by choosing a symptom and answering a few simple questions.

Remember, be sure to consult with you doctor if you feel you have a serious medical problem.

Step 2

Answering Questions

  • Is your child an infant, and is your infant throwing up small amounts of formula after a feeding?

  • Is your child an infant under 10 weeks of age, and does your infant forcefully vomit large amounts of formula or fluid or appear to be dehydrated?

  • Is your child an infant, and is your infant crying uncontrollably, possibly while pulling his or her knees to the chest, and does your infant have red-colored diarrhea and continue to vomit all liquids?

  • Does your child have diarrhea along with nausea or vomiting?

  • A. Has your infant (age two years and under) been vomiting continuously for 6 to 12 hours?B. Has your child (age two and above) been vomiting continuously for 12 to 24 hours?

Step 3

Possible Causes

  • Diagnosis

    This is probably “SPITTING UP,” a common occurrence for infants on formula. Less common is a LACTOSE INTOLERANCE or MILK ALLERGY.


    Self Care

    Your baby may be gulping air or may have taken too much formula, or the formula may be upsetting your child’s stomach. Discuss this with your child’s doctor at the next visit. Call your child’s doctor right away if the vomiting gets worse.


  • Diagnosis

    This type of vomiting may be from a blockage at the end of the stomach called PYLORIC STENOSIS.


    Self Care

    See your child’s doctor right away. Pyloric stenosis can be serious and may require surgery.


  • Diagnosis

    Your child may have an OBSTRUCTION of the intestines called INTUSSUSCEPTION.


    Self Care

    Call your child’s doctor right away.


  • Diagnosis

    Vomiting and diarrhea may be from VIRAL GASTROENTERITIS or possibly from a problem with a FORMULA.


    Self Care

    See your child’s doctor if the vomiting and/or diarrhea continue or get worse. Watch carefully for fever and make sure your child is drinking fluids to avoid DEHYDRATION.


  • Diagnosis

    Your infant or child may be on the verge of DEHYDRATION.


    Self Care

    Call your child’s doctor right away.


  • Diagnosis


    Self Care

    Call your child’s doctor right away.