When Things Go Wrong: The Vomiting Child

When I took my Safe Sitter® class we talked about how to deal with a vomiting child and that when the vomiting stops you need to call a back-up adult.

So let’s chat about the time before you call the back-up adult. You know, when the vomit is flying out of the child’s mouth at what appears to be a record-setting speed.

It’s gross. I’m not going to pretend that it’s a pleasant experience. But if it happens while you’re babysitting, you need to know what to do. And you need to know how to contain the vomit so that you’re not looking up carpet cleaners on Yelp as a courtesy to the parents.

Keep in mind that no one wants to vomit, and it might be a little embarrassing for the child to experience this with someone other than his mom or dad. Should you face this challenge, always remember that you need to provide comfort to the child. To find out what else you need to do, check out this video on dealing with a vomiting child.

When things go Wrong: The vomiting child.

I love so many things about babysitting. The money. The smiling faces of the beautiful children I watch. The money. The way the kids look up to me like I’m a role model. The money. I’m not even phased by the tough stuff. Changing diapers … whatever! Dealing with tantrums … psshh! Dealing with siblings who bicker and fight … please! I fight with my own sister more than that.

But nothing, and I mean nothing, prepared me for the horror show that was … drum roll please … a vomiting child. That’s right if you babysit a lot, sooner or later a kid is going to vomit. They might even vomit on you. Sometimes you’ll get some warning. The child you’re babysitting might come to you and tell you that their tummy hurts, or they don’t feel too good. Little kids aren’t that great at giving you a lot of advanced notice, so if this happens, get that child to the bathroom quick.

If there are signs of stomach upset but puking doesn’t seem imminent, grab a bowl just in case and keep it handy. But let’s say you have little to no warning. If the unthinkable happens and it catches you unaware, here’s what you’re going to do.

Do not, I repeat do not scream, cry, cringe, gag, or otherwise express how much you really want to be five rooms away at the very moment. Pull yourself together, you’re a babysitter!

If possible, have the child lean over something to catch the vomit. It doesn’t have to be a toilet, although it’s super convenient if you’re near one. But it could be a trash can, a wastebasket, or a bowl. Grab whatever is handy and have them lean over it. When it stops, and I know the moment seems to last forever, like it’s happening in a slow-motion shot in a Michael Bay movie. But it will stop eventually. Help the child wipe off their mouth and wipe off any vomit that got on their t-shirt or hands. Then have them rinse out their mouth with water and wash their hands.

Are you feeling better? I feel better now. Good.

If any vomit got on you, wipe it off as best as you can and wash your hands as well. Grab your phone and call their mom or dad or back-up adult like a relative or neighbor that the parents have told you is available if you need help. Because, girl, you need some help right now.

As soon as the child is clean and safe, clean up any vomit that spilled with paper towels or disposable wipes. Wear disposable gloves during the clean-up if they’re available. And just remember, the smell will fade but the memory of the puke in slow-motion never will. There you have it. Check out more Babysitter Boss videos and find out what to do when things go wrong.

Check out more Babysitter Boss videos.

A baby spitting-up food after feeding is almost like an introduction to dealing with vomit. Learn more about babysitting infants with What To Expect When Babysitting Infants.

Take a Safe Sitter® class and learn more child care skills. Find a class near you!