When to seek medical advice

Spitting up is common in healthy babies. Spitting up is the easy flow of a baby's stomach contents through his or her mouth, possibly with a burp. As long as your baby seems comfortable and is eating well and gaining weight, there's little cause for concern.

Vomiting occurs when the flow is forceful — shooting out inches rather than dribbling from the mouth. The most common cause of nausea and vomiting is viral gastroenteritis, often called the stomach flu.

Seek emergency medical care if your infant is vomiting very forcefully (projectile vomiting).

Seek emergency medical care for a toddler or older child who has nausea and vomiting that:

  • Contains blood or greenish material
  • Is accompanied by black or bloody stools
  • Is accompanied by a severe headache
  • Is accompanied by severe abdominal pain or cramping
  • Is accompanied by severe swelling of the abdomen

Call your child's doctor if:

  • Vomiting lasts more than 12 hours for infants
  • Vomiting lasts more than 24 hours for children under age 2
  • Vomiting lasts more than 48 hours for children age 2 and older
  • Vomiting is accompanied by diarrhea
  • Your child has recently started a new medication

Also, call your doctor if your child shows any signs of dehydration:

  • No wet diapers or urine production in a period of eight hours
  • Dry skin
  • Dry mouth
  • Crying without tears
  • Unusual sleepiness or irritability
  • A sunken appearance to the abdomen, eyes or cheeks

Nausea or vomiting in children

Find possible causes of nausea or vomiting in children based on specific factors. Check one or more factors on this page that apply to your child's symptom.

Triggered or worsened by
Onset is
Accompanied by