Why do toddlers get the hiccups?

Updated April 17, 2017

Hiccups are very common and normally not any cause for concern in your toddler. However, they can be distressing to your child, so it's good to know ways to prevent and in some cases stop the hiccups. Unfortunately, there is no magic cure for the hiccups that will always work, but certain things will make hiccups less likely and shorten the duration of them when hiccups do occur.

What Hiccups Are

Hiccups are involuntary and are caused by repeated spasmodic contractions of the child's diaphragm, followed by the glottis quickly closing. The glottis is the part that allows the inflow of air. This is what makes the sound that is thought of as "the hiccups."

Why Toddlers Get Them

There are several causes of hiccups, but the most common cause of hiccups in children is swallowing too much air, especially for toddlers who are still drinking from a bottle. Hiccups can also result in toddlers from drinking soda or other carbonated beverages or from eating large amounts of food quickly, reports

Home Remedies

There are several things you can try to get rid of your child's hiccups. Give your toddler a swallow of water and have him or her lie down for a bit. If that doesn't help, try giving the child a teaspoon of corn syrup.

Prevention of Hiccups

To avoid hiccups in the future, avoid giving your toddler carbonated beverages, such as soda. Also, the Mayo Clinic recommends cutting back on large meals and avoiding sudden, dramatic changes in temperature to reduce the chances of getting hiccups. For toddlers that are still being breastfed, consider pumping and feeding the toddler from a bottle, as in some cases less air is swallowed from a bottle than while nursing.


Although hiccups are common and normally nothing to worry about, there are some cases where special attention should be paid. Call your child's paediatrician if the hiccups last longer than three hours, he is spitting up blood or if the hiccups are accompanied by bad pains in the stomach. A doctor should also be consulted if the hiccups start after beginning a new prescription medication.

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About the Author

Kathy Gleason is a freelance writer living in rural northern New Jersey who has been writing professionally since 2010. She is a graduate of The Institute for Therapeutic Massage in Pompton Lakes, N.J. Before leaving her massage therapy career to start a family, Gleason specialized in Swedish style, pregnancy and sports massage.