Home Infant Reflux and GERD Info About Reflux and GERD Symptoms of Infant Reflux and Pediatric GERD
Symptoms of Infant Reflux and Pediatric GERD PDF Print E-mail
Written by RMacLean   
Friday, 05 January 2001 14:38
Some common symptoms of uncomplicated reflux can include:

 constant or sudden crying or colic like symptoms

 irritability and pain

 poor sleep habits typically with frequent waking

 arching their necks and back during or after eating

 spitting-up or vomiting

 wet burp or frequent hiccups

 frequent ear infections or sinus congestion

Your child does not need to exhibit all of these symptoms, in fact, only having one of the above could mean they have reflux. It does not; however, mean they need treatment.  If your child is showing one or more of the above symptoms but is otherwise happy and healthy then some simple lifestyle modifications will likely make life better until they outgrow it.

Symptoms indicative of Reflux Disease or GERD:

 refusing food or accepting only a few bites despite being hungry or the exact opposite requiring constant small meals or liquid

 food/oral aversions


 excessive drooling

 running nose, sinus infections

 swallowing problems, gagging, choking

 chronic hoarse voice

 frequent red, sore throat without infection present


 chronic ear infections

 respiratory problems—pneumonia, bronchitis, wheezing, asthma, night-time cough, aspiration

 gagging themselves with their fingers or fist (sign of esophagitis)

 poor weight gain, weight loss, failure to thrive

 erosion of dental enamel

 neck arching (Sandifer's Syndrome)

 bad breath

As with reflux, children with GERD will not necessarily exhibit all these symptoms, for example children with silent reflux will not throw up. Another child suffering from asthma or chronic ear infections may actually have undiagnosed reflux that requires treatment.  One or more of the symptoms listed could mean your child has reflux or GERD.

If you believe your child shows any of these signs, educate yourself on the treatment methods and then contact your doctor to discuss the best way to treat your child.

Symptoms of Reflux in the Older Child ( 2- 11)

Although by this time your child is probably able to talk it is actually very hard for them to pinpoint or communicate to you exactly what is sore or hurting. It is theorized that it isn’t until the child is 6 years old that they will know where pain is and be able to verbalize it properly.

Symptoms for 2-5 year olds


 Throwing up

 A hoarse or scratchy voice

 Complaining of tummy aches

 Burping, regurgitation and trouble swallowing


 Weight loss or food refusal


 Chest Pain

Symptoms for Ages 6-11


 Throwing up

 A hoarse or scratchy voice

 Stomach aches

 Burping, regurgitation, and trouble swallowing

 Weight loss


 Chest pain

At this age the children are a lot better at verbalizing their pain, look at them when the symptoms are present and see if anything is given away by gesture or reaction. You can also ask them to draw where they are hurt, as it is sometimes easier for a child of this age to draw it than to vocalize it.

Like reflux at any age, symptoms can vary. If your child has any of the above symptoms or you are worried in general, you can try the 14 Steps To Reducing Your Infants Reflux.

If things do not improve, please contact your health provider to see if they agree with the diagnosis and if medical treatment needs to be given.


Reviewed By Dave Olson, MD
Fellow, American Academy of Pediatrics
Graduate University of Michigan School of Medicine

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 25 March 2008 14:49 )

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Site Last Modified: April 2009
*Disclaimer:The information available on this website should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care for the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of your child's reflux. Please consult with your child's doctor or pharmacist before trying any medication (prescription or OTC) or following any treatment plan mentioned. This information is provided only to help you be as informed as possible about your child's condition.