How To Get Rid Of Hiccups For Kids? Tips For The Perfect Parents

Arpitha Rajendra
Feb 29, 2024 By Arpitha Rajendra
Originally Published on Oct 27, 2021
Edited by Jade Scott
Cute baby having a hiccup
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.6 Min

Hiccups begin in a human even before we are born and babies hiccuping whilst still in the womb is completely normal.

Hiccups normally go away on their own but we often don't have the patience to wait until they subside and so look for a way to stop them. Before we can learn to get rid of hiccups, it can be useful to know what causes a hiccup in the first place.

It can feel like hiccups take forever to go away but what causes them anyway? The short answer is your diaphragm. The diaphragm is a dome-shaped muscle present right below your chest. The diaphragm contracts and does the job of pulling the inhaled air into your lungs when breathing. It then relaxes after you exhale, releasing the air from your lungs. Like all our body parts, the diaphragm can feel irritated. Due to the irritation, the diaphragm pulls down with a jerk or spasms making you suck air into your throat. This air hits your voice box, suddenly closing the vocal cords, and you give out the 'hic' sound. This can happen if you eat too much or too quickly, if you are feeling excited or nervous, if there is a change in surroundings or body temperature, or due to an irritation in your throat or stomach. A normal hiccup can last for a few minutes, however, if hiccups last for days or months, then it could be due to other medical conditions.

We get told a lot of tips and remedies when we 'hic-hic' like counting to 10 and holding your breath. Some of it might even work, and some won't. Some people might even try to scare you out of nowhere to help you get rid of the hiccups. Children are way more energetic and active than adults, so it is natural for them to hiccup more than adults do due to their breathing when undertaking physical activities.

If you enjoyed reading these facts about how to get rid of hiccups for kids, then make sure to read some more interesting facts about animals that hibernate and animals that live in the jungle here on Kidadl.

Are hiccups for kids dangerous?

No, hiccups in kids are not dangerous and can happen to kids way more than adults. However, frequent hiccups in children for days or weeks will need medical advice and attention.

A child can get its first hiccup even before birth and it is a frequent occurrence in a newborn child. It might seem a little funny but there is a reason behind this involuntary movement. The word was created by imitating the sound when we hiccup. Hiccups are nothing but spasms and can occur for various reasons. A child is a lot more excited about simple things in a day than an average adult. In simple words, when we usually breathe, the air through the nose is pulled into the lungs and the diaphragm muscle relaxes to release air. During hiccups, however, the air that is taken in gets stuck reaching the vocal cords. You might think that breathing and hiccups are related actions, but studies indicate that these are two distinct mechanisms of the body. So, hiccups do not mean that your body is in need of air. Studies also show that hiccups in babies do not affect their oxygen saturation, heart rate, respiratory rate, or health in any way.

Hiccups are usually not concerning or dangerous in any way. If a child has persistent hiccups lasting hours then it could be due to other conditions concerning your child's health.

Child trying to control Hiccups

How long do hiccups last?

Hiccups can last anywhere between one minute to 48 hours.

Eating too fast or not chewing enough before kids swallow their food can cause hiccups. Hiccups can last for a minute or more than a minute before going away. Some other facts that cause your child to experience hiccups are drinking carbonated beverages, eating a large meal, change in temperature, excitement, or emotional stress. Your small child might experience more hiccups than any adult because the control mechanism of their reflexes has not yet settled down meaning the nerve impulses can be confused by these conflicting signals. To avoid hiccups in your child, you can teach them to chew food for a little longer before swallowing, eat slowly and avoid gulping beverages or food. Avoid them eating hard candy or chewing gum, and do not let your baby drink water through a straw. Your baby also should not eat large amounts of food in one sitting because a full stomach can cause hiccups. You can also help your child when they are excited or emotionally stressed. If you notice any sign of change in your child's health then immediate medical treatment and advice are needed. Overall, hiccups should naturally go away after a few minutes but they can take a few hours to subside.

Is it normal for kids to have frequent hiccups?

Frequent hiccups in kids are common especially, in a newborn, and hiccups usually go away in minutes.

Some babies do enjoy their hiccups. It is completely safe for your infant to get hiccups a number of times. However, try not to use the age-old scare and hiccups vanish technique. There is no exact technique to know when hiccups occur as more than one cause can produce the spasm. We have seen a number of causes for hiccups; not eating slowly or drinking fast can cause a diaphragm spasm. Persistent hiccups, however, are often caused by the phrenic nerve or vagus nerve. These are the nerves controlling the movement of the diaphragm. When these nerves are affected, hiccups happen in your baby. The nerves can get affected by irritation caused in the eardrum due to any foreign object inserted into the ears, throat soreness or irritation, esophageal cyst or tumor, goiter, or gastroesophageal reflux.

Doctors think that your baby can get hiccups during the first trimester of pregnancy. However, these hiccups are so small that mommies cannot feel them until their third trimester. Make sure that the hiccup is gone within 48 hours. If it hasn't stopped within this timeframe, it might be a sign of tumors, kidney failure, pneumonia, or digestive problems. You can get medical help and treatment from a doctor, however, it is rare for hiccups to be a symptom of these illnesses.

Even after finishing the milk in a bottle, your baby might continue to suck on it, taking in huge amounts of air. This causes hiccups in a newborn baby. They might also get hiccups if they are drinking breast milk or any formula too quickly. It is also possible for toddlers to get hiccups in sleep.

How To Get Rid Of Hiccups For Kids

Hiccups in kids can be stopped by using home remedies like making them drink a glass of water (cold water), hold their breath for a few seconds, take slow breaths, breathe into a paper bag, put their head between the knees, and distract them.

There are simple home remedies that do work when used on kids to stop hiccups. It is also important to teach kids to stay calm while drinking or eating, chew food well before they swallow, eat an adequate amount of meals, and protect them from sudden temperature changes. Making your toddler drink cold water might soothe the spasmic diaphragm. Some of the safest herbs to relieve the hiccup causing muscle spasms are peppermint, chamomile, or fennel tea. It is recommended to squeeze 2-3 drops of tea into your child's mouth using a dropper until their hiccups stop. Toddlers can drink cold water to help their diaphragm relax. A better alternative to the common scaring tactic is tickling but do make sure to stop if your kid tells you to. Your toddler can use a paper bag for breathing into it. They can also try inhaling air forcefully through the mouth right when the hiccups arrive. You can also lightly press on their upper stomach with a downward movement and try to coincide with the hiccups. Toddlers can also be picked up and rubbed on the back if the hiccups increase. For babies that are bottle-feeding, make sure to regularly change the teat if the baby has chewed on it a lot. Your kid could also pull out their tongue to stop hiccups as this sends a signal to their brain to relax.

While these remedies often work, there are other tricks that should not be used to get rid of hiccups. Although spicy food like cayenne water or hot peppers can get rid of hiccups, they can also make the hiccups worse. Toddlers can also get upset after eating peppers as they mostly dislike peppers. Scaring them is also not a good idea as it can traumatize your kid. Making toddlers drink while upside down is not healthy and can lead to choking.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestion for how to get rid of hiccups for kids, then how to get rid of raccoons or how to groom a goldendoodle?

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Arpitha Rajendra

Bachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

Arpitha Rajendra picture

Arpitha RajendraBachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

With a background in Aeronautical Engineering and practical experience in various technical areas, Arpitha is a valuable member of the Kidadl content writing team. She did her Bachelor's degree in Engineering, specializing in Aeronautical Engineering, at Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology in 2020. Arpitha has honed her skills through her work with leading companies in Bangalore, where she contributed to several noteworthy projects, including the development of high-performance aircraft using morphing technology and the analysis of crack propagation using Abaqus XFEM.

Read full bio >