Childhood Hiccups

Hiccups happen when the diaphragm tightens up. (The diaphragm is a muscle used in breathing. It sits like a cap on top of the stomach.)

Babies usually get hiccups because they swallow air when feeding. The stomach gets bigger and squeezes the diaphragm. Sucking hard or eating too much can make hiccups worse. It helps to burp the baby often when feeding.

Older children get hiccups from drinking too much soda pop or eating too much too fast. An upset or too-full stomach can lead to hiccups. Hiccups can hurt, but they are usually harmless. And they don’t last very long.

Questions to Ask

Does your child have these problems with the hiccups?
  • Very bad stomach pain
  • Spitting up blood
Yes:See Doctor
Have your child’s hiccups lasted longer than 3 hours?Yes:Call Doctor
Did the hiccups start after your child took a prescription medicine?Yes:Call Doctor

Self-Care Tips

  • Give your child 1 teaspoon of sugar. Have him or her swallow it fast. Do it 3 or more times, once every 2 minutes, if the hiccups don’t stop right away. (Note: For younger children, use 1 teaspoon of corn syrup.)
  • Give babies a swallow of water.
  • Have your child lie down.

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    Written by American Institute for Preventive Medicine

    Explore Wellness in 2021