Stomach Viruses and the Kid with Special Needs

For most Moms the stomach flu comes with extra loads of laundry and puke bucket patrol.

But for this Mama any kind of stomach issues come with the fear of aspiration.…..and aspiration pneumonia. 

This means that when Parker pukes his chances of the contents of his stomach going into his lungs is huge.


Parker has a long history of aspiration pneumonia.  We’re taking him down today for a chest x-ray to see if yesterday’s puke session ended up in his lungs.   It’s a miracle the Brave Hero doesn’t glow in the dark.


We do have a couple of safeguards in place for when the a stomach virus strikes.  First in line is Parker’s Nissen.  It doesn’t prevent him from throwing up, he can still throw up over the Nissen, but he doesn’t throw up as violently or with as much volume because I can go in via his g-tube and suction his stomach contents out that way.

Gee, hope nobody is eating while they are reading this.  heh.

His next defense is cuffed trach.  Again the inflated balloon at the bottom of his trach helps to seal off the path of puke, keeping it out of his lungs.  This isn’t a perfect solution either, but it helps.


We try to keep Parker’s crib up on an angle to help with all of his aspiration issues too.  It’s a good plan, but it’s actual operation is kinda sketchy as  Parker often just slides down to the bottom of the bed.  sigh.

Parker’s been evaluated for a Sleep Safer bed which would address the issue of keeping his head and chest higher than the rest of him.  The guy said that it used to be a lot easier to get these for kids, but insurance companies have been tightening up on a lot of things……beds like this being one of them.  Parker’s waiver might be easier to work with, but they want to try a variety of other options first.  I’m not picky.  I just need something to keep Parker safe.

Aspiration pneumonia kills kids with Down syndrome each year.

Aspiration also plays a big role in Parker’s Pulmonary Hypertension.

So, what do you use to help your child stay safe while in bed?  Wedges?  Slings?  Special beds?  I’d LOVE to hear your ideas…….and see links if you have any.

Without a doubt this is an issue we need to address.  Parker’s made it in his crib for 7 years, but it’s time to come up with a new strategy.

About Tammy and Parker

Special Needs Blogger, and homeschooling Mom, heavily involved in advocacy for all kids with special needs in Utah.


  1. Phoebe aspirated too, andit almost killed her as a baby. Everytime she thows up i freak out too. The nissen is not really intended to last forever for her. At least that is what ive been told. She grew up and was better able to protect her airway. I do not know if that applies with kids who have a trach. She will cough and sound like she is choking sometmes when she is trying her new found ability to drink thin liquids, but im told that is a good sign because she is protecting the airway. We increase the breathing treatments when she is sick and the vest keeps everything moving even if there are infiltrates. It has worked so far. She sleeps where i can hear her also.

  2. I hope the brave hero is doing well. Somehow, I’m not getting update notices lately, and I’ve missed your last few posts. Reading back now to catch up.

    We’ve started that bucket patrol here, too, this weekend, and I just keep praying that God keeps it out of Aaron’s room. I made a long circular pillow (think 16 inch circumference snake?) that I would used under Aaron’s bum and up his sides, kind of like a nest, that would help him stay more upright in his crib. We have it tilted like yours. I used memory beads as filler, and it stays in the right shape pretty well that way. BUT it also can hold in heat, so often he would be sweaty. But he’s pretty sweaty anyway, family, you know, not necessarily trisomy. Good luck!!!
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