Vomiting children (and children with diarrhea) feel like crap and don’t usually want to eat or drink. Don’t worry about the food part but do your best to “push fluids” so that your child doesn’t get dehydrated. 

Here are 5 Tips to Help You “Push Fluids” & Ward Off Dehydration

Disclaimer: There are different “oral rehydration” techniques, so ask your child’s doctor which one he/she likes best. The technique below is just a guideline and doesn’t have to be followed “perfectly.”

1. Don’t Bother “Pushing” Fluids for the First Hour of Vomiting Because Anything That You Give Your Child Initially, Will Probably Just Come Right Back Up.

2. After the First Hour, Offer Your Child Pedialyte (Which is Sold Over the Counter at Your Local Drugstore).

  • Pedialyte (the equivalent of Baby Gatorade) helps replenish electrolytes.

    Caution: Don’t give your toddler actual Gatorade.

    Why Not? Because the electrolyte ratio in Gatorade is designed for grownups, not kiddos. 
  • If your child refuses to drink the Pedialyte, pour it into a teaspoon or a syringe (like the one that comes with Tylenol or Motrin) and give it to him/her that way. If you use the syringe-technique, squirt the Pedialyte into the inside of your child’s cheek (to make it harder for him/her to spit out). 
  • Give your child 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) of Pedialyte every 15 minutes, to start.

3. If Your Child Tolerates the Pedialyte, Increase the Serving Size to 2 Teaspoons (10 Milliliters) for the Second Hour. Continue to Increase the Amount of Pedialyte You Give Your Child by 5-10 milliliters Every Hour Until Your Little One is Taking About 30 Milliliters (One Ounce) at a Time. 

PediaTip: If your child doesn’t tolerate the Pedialyte, try a Pedialyte popsicle (if you have one) or take a break from giving fluids for 30 minutes. Then start over.

4. After 4-5 Hours or So of No Vomiting, You Can Switch Your Child to Water and Encourage Him/Her to Take a Few Sips of It Every Hour.  At This Point, the Obsessive Measuring Can Stop. Hooray!

5. After 8 hours of No Vomiting, You Can Offer Your Child Bland Food (Like Dry Cheerios) if He/She Seems Hungry. 

If your child remains vomit-free after introducing solid foods back into his/her diet, then he/she can probably return to a normal diet within 24 hours.

The Bottom Line

I know the above technique sounds somewhat labor-intensive, but it will help your child stay ahead of the hydration curve.  If your child refuses to take any liquids, continues to vomit profusely, or starts to show signs of dehydration (such as a low urine output), let the doctor know. In addition, Get Wise about the Top 10 Signs of Dehydration in Toddlers.