Vomiting in children: What are the possible causes?

Most of the causes of vomiting among children are usually benign and self-limited. Nevertheless, there are instances where vomiting might be an indication of a serious ailment.

During assessment to determine the root of vomiting, the doctor will ask about the frequency of vomiting, color, presence of blood or bile and if the child has any underlying health condition.

Can gastroenteritis cause vomiting?

The viral form of gastroenteritis is the usual cause of vomiting among children. Certain viruses that trigger gastroenteritis include rotavirus and the Norwalk virus.

The bacterial causes include microbes responsible for food poisoning such as salmonella, E. coli and shigella. These microorganisms can trigger diarrhea and urge to vomit.


The viral form of gastroenteritis is the usual cause of vomiting among children.


The usual cause of vomiting among infants is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Among infants, the lower esophageal sphincter is weaker than the adults which is believed to contribute to GERD among children.

Children diagnosed with GERD experience frequent episodes especially after eating and spit more often. Most children can outgrow the condition over time.


Some children experience episodes due to an obstruction somewhere in the digestive tract. Infants below 1-month old might have pyloric stenosis which is characterized by constriction in the outflow region of the stomach that disrupts the movement of milk into intestines and results to vomiting.

Take note that any child can end up with malrotation which is abnormal twisting of the gut inside the abdomen. In such cases, the child vomits bile.

Children with previous abdominal surgery might have adhesions or scarring of the tissue bands on the inside of the abdominal wall at the site of surgery which results to vomiting.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on vomiting in children is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn more about the causes, register for a first aid and CPR course with Vancouver First Aid.


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