Common childhood illnesses & well-being
A guide for parents and carers
Diarrhoea & vomiting

Diarrhoea & vomiting

Not nice for you or your baby

Sickness and diarrhoea bugs are caught easily and are often passed on in places where there are lots of children.

Feeling sick and suddenly being sick are normally the first signs. Diarrhoea can follow afterwards. If your child is not vomiting frequently, is reasonably comfortable in between and you are able to give them frequent small amounts of sugar-containing juice or cordial, they are less likely to become dehydrated and probably don't need to see a doctor. Juice or cordial containing sugar is only recommended for this treatment. Speak to your GP if they are unwell for longer than 24 hours or sooner if they are newborn or if you notice signs of dehydration.

If you're breastfeeding, keep on doing so even more frequently. Offer older children plenty of sugar-containing juice or cordial, or an ice-lolly for them to suck. If they want to eat, give them plain foods like pasta or boiled rice (nothing too rich or salty).

A baby or child can choke on inhalation of food or vomit. Always supervise your child when eating.

Keep them away from others, especially children, who may pick up infection. Be extra careful with everyone’s handwashing.

Signs of dehydration

  • Less wet nappies.

  • More sleepy than usual.

  • Dry mouth.

  • Sunken fontanelle (the soft spot on the top of the head that is more dipped in than usual).

Try a rehydrating solution from your pharmacist.


Pharmacist says

There are lots of ways you can care for your child at home. Things to try are:

  • Give them regular drinks - try small amounts of juice or cordial containing sugar.

  • Breastfeed on demand if breastfeeding.

  • Being extra careful with hand hygiene (use soap and water or antibacterial hand gel and dry hands well with a clean towel).

  • Rehydrating solutions come in pre-measured sachets to mix with boiled cooled water. It helps with dehydration.

If your child is unwell for more than 24 hours speak to your GP. If your baby is newborn or very unwell contact your GP straight away.

Health visitor

Health visitor says

If you are breastfeeding continue to do so and keep drinking plenty of fluids.

Source: 2015


My baby has diarrhoea and is being sick.


Have you given them lots of sugarcontaining fluids? This will help prevent them becoming dehydrated if it is a tummy bug. Speak to your pharmacist and ask about a rehydrating solution.


Speak to your GP if symptoms show no sign of improvement after 24 hours or straight away if they are newborn.