Saturday, October 18, 2008
Over the past 2 years I've become a certified expert at dealing with a puking child (even 2 children and 1 parent, me, vomiting simultaneously, while other parent, Robert, was TDY, which was particularly fun). I know that this is not a pleasant topic, but I have developed a process that might be helpful next time your child gets a stomach bug.

One thing I have noticed is that these bugs are pretty short lived. Vomiting tends to occur (in my house anyway) only about 2-3 times with the occasional recurrance the next day.

Unfortunately, there is no good way to predict the first explosion which makes the first clean-up a bit of a challenge. (Any suggestions on that are welcome, however.)

In a crib:
  • Remove clothing while child is in crib so as not to contaminate the rest of the room
  • Remove child and clean-up child
  • Lie child on a towel on the floor with pillow and blanket (if alone) or have partner hold child if you are the designated "cleaner upper"
  • Remove bedding and place in washer with powder, but do not run it yet! This will not be your first trip to the laundry room. No need to waste water!
  • Replace waterproof matress cover
  • Put towel over mattress cover (bring a stack in the room while you are at it)
  • Put crib sheet on top of towel (the towel will help reduce the number of waterproof matress pads you need. Usually, you'll have more sheets on-hand that matress covers.)
  • If there is a pillow, wrap pillow in large towel
  • Return child to bed
  • Place empty landry hamper outside bedroom door.
  • Go to bed, but don't go to sleep. Within about 10-20 minutes you'll be needed for Round 2.
  • When Round 2 comes (and it will), remove clothes and clean-up child, as before
  • Place child on floor in safe location, as before
  • Remove crib sheet and any soiled towels and place them in the empty hamper outside the bedroom door.
  • Place fresh towels on bed and pillow and put on a fresh crib sheet.
  • Return child to crib (probably with drink)
  • Take hamper of soiled linens to washer and this time you can probably safely run the machine. You don't want to leave the nasty items too long and you'll probably have to wash everything at least twice.
  • Return hamper to outside bedroom door for Round 3.
  • Got to bed, sleep lightly until 5:45 when you will finally pass out exahausted only to be wakened at 6:05 by your suddenly healthy little one who is raring to go.

In a bed:

This process is similar than in a crib, but requires more urgency as the potential damage can be more widespread. Be sure to brief your child on what he/she must do it he/she ever feels sick in the night.

The following instructions can be helpful:
  • Call loudly for help-do not try to self-manage the situation
  • Do not stand up (sit only)
  • Do not walk unless absolutely necessary or you have enough warning to make it to the toilet
  • Do not vomit on pillow
  • Do not vomit on floor
  • Do not vomit on favorite lovey or use the Clone Theory of lovey management
  • Do not vomit on cat (or dog) (Learned the hard way, folks!)
Your responsibilities are:
  • Respond immediately and with haste
  • Be sure to respond to the scene clearly giving instructions that are loud enough to hear (e.g. "Do NOT stand-up" or "Do NOT puke on the cat.")
  • Perform the same procedures required for children in the crib including the use of towels, hampers, washing machine, etc.
I hope this is helpful. I'll be sure to update the blog if I learn any new techniques tonight.


The Martin Family said...

I'm so glad I have you Helen. You teach me such valuable lessons.

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