Acid Reflux in Children
Studies conducted by Dr. A.D. Jung, MD, and published in the 2001 American Family Physician, show that acid reflux is common in children, but is often overlooked despite its symptoms (vomiting, coughing, and other respiratory problems). Children's immature digestive systems are usually to blame, says the NIH, adding that most children outgrow the problem. Parents should speak with their child’s pediatrician if symptoms occur regularly or if your child appears often uncomfortable.
Children may exhibit the following symptoms of acid reflux:
- hoarse or raspy voice
- chronic cough
- recurrent pneumonia
- difficult or painful swallowing
Parents can help their children deal with acid reflux by watching their diet. If your child is experiencing acid reflux, it may help to cut back on certain foods that often act as triggers. Consider greatly reducing or eliminating the following items from your child’s diet:
- citrus fruits
- drinks with caffeine
- fatty and fried foods
- garlic and onions
- mint flavorings
- spicy foods
- tomato-based foods such as spaghetti sauce, chili, and pizza
Also recommended for both adults and children is to avoid eating two to three hours before bedtime. You can also elevate your or your child’s head with pillows, or even slightly raise the head of the bed, to alleviate nighttime heartburn and GERD.
If these tactics don’t decrease your child’s symptoms, be sure to make an appointment with your child’s pediatrician. Further treatment may be necessary to help your child be more comfortable and to prevent damage to his or her esophagus.