Does a Child Who Vomited Need to Go to the Emergency Room?

Does a Child Who Vomited Need to Go to the Emergency Room?

A regular part of being a parent is caring for a sick child. When a child vomits we may think that our child has a serious illness. So, off to the emergency room, we go. After the visit, we may ask “did we really have to come to the E.R.?”

We are going to outline a few of the symptoms parents see that cause concern and whether it would be better to simply stay home.

Abdominal Pain

There are a few specific abdominal pain symptoms to look out for. First, does the pain last longer than 30 minutes and is this pain constant? Second, is the pain isolated from the belly-button and below? These may indicate appendicitis. You should call your doctor.

At times, abdominal pain may feel more like cramps and fluctuate in intensity. This would be an indicator of food poisoning or the flu. In such a case, there may be no need to visit the emergency room.


Fever may cause a child to appear ill, prompting parents to rush them to the E.R. First, you should check if any of the following applies. Are they not observant or interested in what is going on around them? Do they have severe neck pain? If so, going to the E.R. may be needed. Otherwise, you could give them Tylenol or Motrin to help with symptoms. If they do not improve after an hour you should call your pediatrician.


Vomiting can lead to severe dehydration which is dangerous. Thus it is important to be alert to its symptoms. Check to see if they have urinated in the past six hours. Also, check their saliva: is it unusually thick, or missing? If this is the case, you should visit the doctor.

Other Considerations

* If your child is under three months old and is sick, they should always be brought to the doctor or emergency room.

* Practice food safety to avoid food poisoning.

* Prevent illness by promoting healthy habits such as regular hand washing.

By following these guidelines, you may be saved from making a trip to the emergency room.