Food Poisoning Symptoms in Kids

food poisoning symptoms in kids

Has your child felt awful since last night after they ate your chicken dish for dinner? When you consider the possibility of raw foods and cross-contamination with fruits and vegetables while cooking, you are safe to question whether food poisoning was behind it. This illness’s possibility becomes even more apparent when they complain about stomach cramps and feel weak.

However, if you are a new parent or your child’s symptoms have developed further than you have seen online for food poisoning, it can be terrifying to see them suffer. When you are not aware of their specific condition, you can do nothing except treat symptoms, which may or may not take care of the issue.

Instead of relying on your parental instincts when they could have a more severe condition, we have listed various food poisoning symptoms in children and the bacteria/viruses that cause them. You can compare them to your child’s experience and see whether they have it or not and, if they do, how severe it is.

Different Causes of Food Poisoning

In addition to drawing upon your child’s symptoms to diagnose whether they have food poisoning, a board-certified pediatrician will discover what the cause is, narrowing down their specific illness. They will ask you and your child questions about what food they ate the day before during your pediatric consultation to indicate if they have food poisoning and, if so, what kind they have. In addition, they will ask about who was preparing food, what utensils they touched, etc.

You may be familiar with some of these sickness catalysts, such as Hepatitis A, yet have never connected them directly to your child’s vomiting and abdominal cramps. They are the real problem behind your child’s suffering, and an in-person or virtual pediatrician can help them once they figure out the culprit.


Your child can get food poisoning when bacteria infect them via the food they eat. Staphylococcus aureus is a prime example, where they may ingest food left out at room temperature for too long, making them vulnerable to enterotoxins. They become susceptible to a long night and painful day of vomiting, watery diarrhea, and either no fever or a low-grade fever. These symptoms should disappear after 12-24 hours.


Hepatitis A is widely known in the United States since most doctors will give your child a vaccine shot at 12 months to prevent contracting it. You may not have realized this virus is responsible for your baby’s suffering.
Unlike typical food poisoning, your child can catch this version’s symptoms 10-50 days after eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water, making it harder to diagnose. It is not as easy as counting a certain number of hours after eating and then expecting them to recover.

Your child under 6 years old will probably not experience physical signs you can easily see, although your older children will undergo appetite loss, fever, dark-colored urine, and abdominal discomfort. These will differ between cases of food poisoning, which is why it is crucial to obtain professional medical advice for your child.


Many parents, including yourself, may have always been extra careful to bake chocolate chip cookies a little bit longer to prevent them from getting salmonella, another agent of food poisoning. You may not be aware that this bacteria also comes from your child’s contact with animal/human feces. If they do not practice healthy handwashing after playing with their pets or using the restroom, they can sustain food poisoning.

Keep a close eye on your child for 4 to 7 days of watery diarrhea, cramping abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. If these become unbearable for them and you are unsure what to do, you should contact a board-certified pediatrician. They can, in the least, ease their physical pain and give you their professional opinion.

General Food Poisoning Symptoms

After your child eats raw meat, food with cross-contamination, etc., you can watch out for noticeable signs during food poisoning’s beginning stages. It is not, at this point, dire, and your child is likely to recover just fine. However, to distinguish this condition from other urgent care illnesses, the general symptoms of food poisoning that make them feel sick include:

  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea (even with solid foods)
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Feeling weak
  • Headache

When General Symptoms Worsen

You will need to take your child to a board-certified pediatrician immediately if their predictable symptoms develop into something much worse. While the original signs are not dangerous, these more severe indicators should push you to call the doctor as soon as possible:

  • Blood in vomit/poop
  • Trouble breathing
  • More than 12 hours of vomiting
  • Blurry vision
  • Arm tingling
  • Fever over 101 F
  • Muscle weakness

Dehydration Dangers

Your child also needs to visit a board-certified pediatrician immediately if they reveal signs of dehydration, which can be deadly if they do not see a medically-trained kid doctor. Depending upon the circumstances, you may have to call 911 or rush them to the emergency room since dehydration marks the worst of food poisoning.

  • “Sunken in spot” on your infant’s head
  • Little to no peeing
  • Intense thirst
  • Weakness, dizziness, or lightheadedness
  • Extreme confusion
  • Little or no tears when crying

Seeing a Board-Certified Pediatrician

Especially when you recognize that general symptoms have grown exponentially, it is vital for them to see a kid doctor, although it is best to catch these sooner than later. Again, the emergency room with professionals or a virtual hospitalist is your go-to if you notice severe dehydration that cannot wait for someone else’s timetable. Give your kid drinking water on the drive over and follow the best dehydration emergency tips.

You want to ensure you have your child’s medical history, a complete list of symptoms, and notes of everything they ate the day before, including snacks and drinks. The in-person or virtual pediatrician will consider these when formulating their diagnosis, which could potentially be another condition, given that many illnesses blend with similar urgent care symptoms.

Kid Doctors with Food Poisoning Expertise

Your child’s food poisoning symptoms do not have to confuse or worry you in the beginning stages or as they worsen. If you are a new parent or mom with several kids, you can clarify your child’s stomach pains, bloody vomiting, and dehydration. Then, you can obtain urgent care help quickly so they can start feeling better and receive the proper treatment.

Do you still have questions about food poisoning and wonder how you can treat your child if they have it? Our team of board-certified pediatricians is exceptionally knowledgeable about infants, toddlers, and children with food poisoning. We would be glad to assist you with your little one if you call us at (888).961.8885.

Misha Harris

Get Treated Now

with high-level Pediatricians

  • ci_check-bold
    No Cost Per Visit. Cover All kids at Home.
  • ci_check-bold
    Unlimited virtual calls, chat, and consultations.
  • ci_check-bold
    On-demand access to Board-certified Pediatricians.
Doctor Call

Full Access to Pediatric Care from Home

Discover what Telepeds can do for your children's health.

Doctor - svg

Our caring MDs and PNPs are ready to see your kiddos!

We see all your kids when it's convenient for you. Don't wait and let your child suffer any longer. Create a free account and see pediatricians from anywhere.

I'll Decide Later