Dealing With A Sick Child

One of the most stressful things that parents have to deal with, may in fact be dealing with a sick child. You feel like your hands are tied and that there is really not much you can do for them except what the doctor’s tell you, and sometimes that can be extremely frustrating. Here are some of the rules that I have found in dealing with a child who has suddenly become ill or injured and they really have helped. Obviously if it is a life or death crisis then get to the ER as quickly as you can, or call 911.

If it is not a life or death crisis then take a second to breathe and think. Most of the time our initial reaction to our child becoming ill or injured is to rush into action. This is fine if you are going to stop them from bleeding, or start CPR to keep them breathing, however when your child is ill you must think clearly. Many times a watch and wait approach is the best one. Initially when a child becomes sick or injured, they may react as if they are dying, however, this will usually calm down within a few minutes and then just monitor them closely. Make note of their behaviors, eating, sleeping, and breathing. These will more than likely clue you in to whether or not you need to get them to a doctor.

Finally, remember that the head bleeds a lot, so any injury on the head, they may gush for a few minutes, but it will more than likely stop and they will be fine. Vomiting children must drink. They can drink anything, but they must keep hydrated. Drinking through a straw is the best, this encourages sipping, and keeping the liquid at room temp is best for the upset stomach. Ginger ale is especially effective as it has not only the water and sugar to hydrate, but ginger is known for its calming effects on the stomach as well. And sick children must rest, so don’t try to cure them with over the counter meds that just make them feel better. Allowing a child to feel run down or have a fever, helps them to get the rest they need to make a speedy recovery.

Keeping these things in mind when dealing with a sick child, can help you to deal with things more effectively and help you avoid the unnecessary panic that comes with a having a sick or injured child.

The first time your little one falls ill can be very worrying and stressful. Thankfully, children bounce back quickly and with lots of love and attention from you, they’ll soon be back to their normal selves. These mums share their best advice for when your baby is under the weather.

Bend the rules
“When your child is sick, it’s okay to break a few rules, like letting them watch TV or having custard for dinner. Let the house go a bit too, as a sick baby usually just wants to be held constantly.” – Jane Lawless, mum to Frankie, 19 months.

Make a call
“If it’s the middle of the night and you’re up with a sick baby and worried, call a helpline such as Tresillian or the Parent Line. They can give you solid, practical advice and put your mind at rest. It can be incredibly comforting even just to hear a reassuring voice on the other end of the line.” – Sarah Warren, mum to Theresa, 22 months.

Go bananas
“A frozen banana is great soothing treat for teething babies. Peel the banana, cut it in half and put it into a plastic bag in the freezer. When the baby is grizzling, feed them little chunks or give them half of the banana to suck on.” Suzanne Murphy, mum of Olivia aged 2 and owner of Baby Butler (

Teething problems
“Put an amber necklace on as soon as they are born, I have had one of my seven boys start teething at six weeks old.“ – Meredith Marshall of and mum of 7 (almost 8).

Cold comfort
“Fess nasal spray is great. It comes with a little suction device that we call the ‘snot sucker’. Great for babies when they can’t blow their nose. Use a humidifier in winter for chesty coughs. We had ours going for about five months straight the first winter. Put a phone book under the top two legs of the cot when they’re chesty. They seem to find it easier to sleep when they’re elevated.” – Gail Virgona, mum to Luca, 6 and Leo, 3.

When in doubt
“If your baby is unwell, never be afraid to bring them to the doctor for fear of being thought of as a ‘fusspot mum’. It’s always good to get the all-clear for your own peace of mind, especially when they are very small.” – Jessie Brookes, mum to Lee, 4.

Look after yourself
“Taking care of a sick child can be tough on you, so make sure you get plenty of rest, eat well and get out for a little fresh air and exercise. You will be far better equipped to look after a sick child if you feel strong and healthy.” – Kate Floyd, mum to Ashley, 5 and Finn, 3.

Call in the troops
“Ask for help if you need it. Get your partner to stay home for the day to pitch in, call your mum, a friend or a neighbor – anyone who will help pick up other kids from school or make dinner so you can focus on the patient. If you don’t have family around, pay a nanny or babysitter to help out for a few hours.” – Amy Doyle, mum to Frank, 5.

Bond with your bub
“Amidst all the sleeplessness, coughs and vomit, you can have some amazing bonding times with your bub. They’ll never be as cuddly as they are when they are unwell. So slow down and focus on giving them all the love they need.” – Ines Enright, mum to Henry, 4 and Eve, 1.

Tummy troubles
“If your baby has a tummy bug, avoid dairy and stock up on bland, easily digested foods like soy milk or formula, soups and broths, plain crackers and toast and mashed banana. Don’t fret too much if they’re not up to eating much, just keep their fluids up as much as you can.” – Laurie Harrison, mum to Gavin, 8 and Robbie, 7.


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