11 Tips for Tending to a Sick Child

Tis the season for giving.  Unfortunately, the giving isn’t limited to presents or Happy Holiday wishes.

All of this holiday gathering means germs are exchanged as readily as Christmas cookie recipes.  Invariably someone in your office will pass a bug along to you, or the germ pool preschool will have an outbreak, or the bagger at the grocery store will sneeze and cough their way all over your food. (I seriously watched this happen earlier today – thank goodness not in my line.)

One way or another it’s almost a given that someone in your family is going to wind up sick.  So what’s the secret to surviving?

Maybe you already know – so let’s test your mom skills.  Can you name what illness this set of items is used to remedy?

stomach bug

Did you stay stomach bug?  Ding! Ding! Ding!  We have a winner!  But do you know the other 7 tips I’ve shared?

My Kid is Sick – Now What?

My littlest woke me up at 4am announcing that she’d just thrown up all over herself and the bed.  As I was caring for her last night and this morning, it occurred to me that I’ve learned a few survival skills for nursing sick kids over the years.  If you are a seasoned veteran in this parenting gig, you have likely discovered these for yourselves, but this post is for those just starting out or those that are looking for a few new tricks.

stomach bug

My tips and tricks to surviving a vomiting child:

Tip 1:  Change the sheets, the kids’ clothes, your clothes, and wash the child.   On occasion I have thought that the child didn’t get any vomit on themselves, or the sheets were somehow spared, but inevitably the vomit stench lingers unless you change and wash everything.  Yes, this includes your clothes.

**Tip 2:  Get a bucket (aka bowl) for the child to throw up into if they can’t reach the toilet in time (like the green bowl in the picture).  This is especially helpful for the younger kids that can’t feel the signs of imminent vomit yet.  Make sure the bowl is big enough that any *splash* will stay in the bowl instead of hitting things around it and also so that shaky hands won’t spill it.

**Tip 3:  Put a towel under your child‘s head and another in front of your child on top of the blankets.  Why?  This is for the roll over and throw up without waking up maneuver.   It is much easier to switch out the towel and throw it in the washing machine than switch out all the bedding each time.

Tip 4:   Ginger ale used to contain real ginger which is a natural remedy for nausea.  If you can get real ginger ale (with actual ginger in it), that would be ideal, but even regular Canada Dry seems to help.  BUT, don’t serve it cold!  Leave it at room temperature.  Cold seems to irritate upset bellies so room temperature is best.

Tip 5:  Stock up on chicken noodle soup.  The rumor is that chicken noodle soup contains a chemical that truly helps you recover from an illness.

Tip 6:  Follow the B.R.A.T. diet for a couple of days after your child stops vomiting.  This helps the stomach enzymes build back up and is bland enough not to irritate sensitive tummies.

  • B = Banana
  • R = Rice
  • A = Applesauce
  • T = Toast.

Tip 7:  The biggest concern with a stomach bug is that your child will become dehydrated.  To get fluids into them as easily as possible, consider Popsicles.    Kids love them, they melt slowly so can’t eat them too fast, and they get some calories and moisture into those little bodies while soothing sore throats at the same time.

Tip 8:  Take out an antibacterial wipe or wet a washcloth with water and bleach and start wiping.  Start with door handles, light switches, the fridge handles and toilets.

Tip 9:  Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands.  There is nothing worse than tending to sick children when you are sick yourself.  Yes, it will inevitably happen but washing your hands diligently sure helps reduce the number of times you find yourself in that situation.

Tip 10:  Comfort yourself with the knowledge that most stomach illnesses are short lived – 24 hours is usually the longest and 12 hours of active vomiting has been the norm (for my kids anyway).

Please realize that these tips are not intended to take the place of a doctor’s advice, but are intended to help get you through.  With that in mind I’ll throw in one more tip:

Tip 11:  If you are questioning whether to go to the doctor but aren’t sure if your child is sick enough, go with your gut.  To make the decision, I often ask myself “Am I willing to pay the copay for the comfort of them telling me – It’s just a cold, go home.“?  If the answer is yes, then I pack up the kiddo and head to the doctor.

Any family remedies or tips and tricks you’ve discovered along the way that I haven’t mentioned?  Please tell us in the comments!  I am always looking to add new tools to my Mom tool belt.

Here’s wishing you a vomit free Holiday!!  

27 Responses to 11 Tips for Tending to a Sick Child

  1. Thanks for the great tips, I learned about the brat diet while working in a cila home, and I use it for me and mu hubby when we are sick also

  2. Holy cow these are some awesome tips! I never knew that about ginger ale (I always kept it cold.. no wonder it never really helped, genius I am!).. and the towels idea. You have all kinds of things I would have never known. I definitely appreciate this post, as my daughter is only 19 months old right now but I’m sure I’m headed for something like this eventually. Sadly.

  3. This is such an awful time of year when it comes to sickness! Thanks for sharing your tips…while most of them I already do there were a few that I’ll be doing next time around (like the towl under their head and beside them idea!)

  4. Excellent tips – love the towel idea. My kids have been really healthy lately so we are overdue. Better be to be prepared than be unprepared! :)

    • I just bought more Ginger Ale and on the bottle it says “Made with real Ginger Ale”, but it doesn’t make the ingredients list so must be a super tiny amount… (Canada Dry)

  5. Having a sick kids is no fun I worry and hate to see my babys sick at all. But it happens one thing I been told and it works is when your child has a fever dont break it right away watch that it dose not get to high but dont break it because the fever is what is helping to kill whatever it is making your little one sick so as long as its not super high let it stay for just a little longer it may just kill off the bug faster

  6. thank you for the tips, my son always catch virus easily due to his heart condition. sometimes he just throw up or having fever just for playing with his friends. i surely need to stock on ginger ale

  7. Thanks for the “tips”! My 1-year old grandson, along with my son and his wife are currently sick – so I think these helpful tips will be appreciated by them.

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