Can a 3 year old take Tums? – What you should know

Watching my little girl – clutching her stomach and obviously in pain – tugged hard at my heart strings. Any parent would do anything to make their little ones feel better and I was no different. Then I wondered, could giving her Tums be the answer? So I did the research and found out that:

No, 3 year old children should not take regular adult-strength Tums as they are under the manufacturer recommended minimum age of 12. However Tums do make a special version for children called Tums kids. This has a lower dosage of the active ingredient (Calcium Carbonate). Tums kids has a dosage related to age / weight and should be followed strictly when being given to your child. When in doubt, please consult a doctor first before giving you child any seemingly harmless medication. (This medical information was reviewed by a registered nurse).

Whilst giving your 3 year old Tums Kids may be a possibility to settle their stomach. There are so many other options to consider, some of which you might find you prefer. Take a few minutes and read on below to find out.


The reasons why you would take tums are varied, but it is important for us to understand them if we are going to look at the alternatives to Tums. The following are the main reasons why you may consider Tums:

  1. Heartburn
  2. Bloating / Uncomfortable gas
  3. Indigestion
  4. Mild stomach ache
  5. Acid reflux

Tums as a medicine is part of the group called Antacids. The active ingredient in Tums is Calcium Carbonate and its main purpose in to neutralise excess acid in the stomach which may relieve some of the symptoms mentioned above. 

Over the counter medication isn’t the only way we can battle our children’s upset stomachs, its very possible that you might prefer one of the other more natural ways that I will describe below, so keep on reading.  

Sleeping Position
If their tummy’s are hurting, try changing their sleeping position.


Before resorting to over the counter medication, there are other remedies that you might want to try to settle your child’s stomach. I have used some of these methods myself to great effect and some others didn’t work for me. So why list those ones? I hear you say. As we all know, our children are all different and what works for one won’t necessarily work for another.So its worth considering them all to see which method may suit your little one.

Sleeping position

Try using a wedge underneath their pillow or mattress to elevate their upper body. This helps the issue by aiding gravity in naturally reducing the symptoms of heartburn by making it harder for any excess stomach acid to rise up.  


Try your best to soothe your child. This could involve cuddles and holding them, a relaxing warm bath and talking softly to them. You know your child best, so think of ways that they love to relax. This can go a long way to reducing their symptoms as stress can be a major factor in their stomach issues. 

Healthier Eating

This is a big one and should include thinking about giving your child appropriate portion sizes i.e. not too big for a 3 year old. It should also mean making sure that they are at a healthy weight for their age as this can also contribute to the problem. You can also consider what types of foods your child is eating. Certain foods such as spicy foods, carbonated drinks, high fat foods, citrus fruits and even chocolate can cause your little ones heartburn and stomach upsets! See here for more info on which foods to avoid.

Tightness around the stomach

Check that your little ones don’t have any tightly fitting clothes on. This is especially important for clothes around their waist. I know I’m guilty for fitting our girls in clothes that they are maybe just too big for, just so we a can get one more wear out of them before they are cast off forever. The waistbands of certain clothes can be particularly bad, so make sure they have room and feel comfortable as possible. 

Stand up

They might find that standing up feels more comfortable for them. This is because the natural force of gravity acts on the excess acid in their stomachs and reduces the chance that the acid can reach any sensitive areas. I know this one might be difficult with a 3 year old as it does mean that they kind of have to keep still. The main take-away from this point is that although lying down is what we all feel like doing when we feel ill, in this case it might not be the best option.  

Natural Remedies


The following foods, if incorporated into their diet, could help reduce their heartburn / upset stomachs. Far for being bland and boring, they can be used to provide variety and interest. Let your creativity flow when thinking of ways you can incorporate them into their daily routine and reap the benefits of their tummy settling abilities.

  1. Non-citrus fruits: Think bananas, apples, pears, papayas etc! The list is endless. You can always present them creatively and as finger food to increase the variety that they get in any one sitting.
  2.  Vegetables: These can include peas, sweetcorn, broccoli, carrots etc. The list is massive. Vegetables are low in fat and sugar and high in nutrients and fibre. These types of foods can help settle their gut and provide fibre to help their digestion work efficiently.
  3.  Whole grains and wholemeal bread: Brown rice, wholemeal bread, oatmeal and other grains are great for upset stomachs in small, kid friendly portions. They help to absorb the excess acid in their stomachs and tame that soreness.
  4.  Ginger: For many years a natural remedy for settling an upset stomach has been the ginger root. Many herbal remedy enthusiasts swear by ginger, I have tried it and did feel the beneficial effects personally and we have given our little ones weak ginger and lemon tea, which they enjoyed. You can buy the root whole and add it to foods or just hot water. Warm ginger tea can be a convenient way to get it into their diet.
  5. Mint: As well as ginger, mint is another age-old herbal remedy for an upset stomach and well worth a try before moving onto harsher chemical remedies.


Unfortunately, certain foods have a reputation (deservedly) for causing heartburn in ourselves and our children. It’s extremely useful to know what they are so that you can reduce or eliminate them from their diet if you decide that they are causing more trouble than they are worth. 

  1. Citrus fruits: Oranges, lime, lemons, grapefruits are only a few of the prime suspects. I would also include their juices in this category as they can be just as bad or sometimes worse at inflaming the problem for some people. 
  2. Spicy foods: Mexican and Indian food can be so delicious and I am all for introducing our children to a variety of foods and cultures. Sometimes, if too much spice or peppers, are used in the cooking. This could lead to an upset stomach. Try and make dishes at home so you can control the amount of spice and pepper in them and introduce these tastes gently.
  3.  Tomatoes: Surprisingly, these nutrient rich and flavorsome favorites are also highly acidic. This means we have to take care with how much we feed our children on a daily basis if it proves a trigger for them.
  4.  Cheese and Nuts: Tasty as they are, cheese and nuts are high in fat and this means that they can cause upset stomachs. It’s worth noting just how much the little ones are eating and see if it corresponds with their stomach upsets.
  5.  Chocolate: The kids favorite! obviously, we try and limit it for our children as we know it’s not too healthy for them but a poorly stomach may be another reason to limit it as a treat. Think of healthy non-citrus fruit snacks instead.
  6.  Onions and Garlic: This is a lesser known issue, and can be quite difficult to eliminate altogether as they are often used in a lot of cooking to add flavor. The key here might be home-cooking if it turns out to be an issue, to make sure it is eliminated entirely.
  7. Soda: High sugar sodas can make your child’s stomach feel queasy at the best of times. The sugar content of some sodas seems excessive and although kids find them very attractive we should be careful as parents about how much we let them have.
  8. Avocado: Known as a super-food the world over, they definitely pack a nutrient punch. Their high natural fat content can cause problems for little ones. This is one you shouldn’t remove too eagerly, see if a pattern emerges first between eating avocados and their stomach upsets. It would be a shame for them to miss out on all those nutrients.


Although giving your 3 year old Tums wouldn’t be what I would recommend. I hope I have given you plenty of alternatives to try before a visit to the doctors is needed. I have also tried to highlight the foods that might make your little 3 year old experience discomfort. SO you can nip the problem in the bud before it starts.

I hope that your little one finds relief from their stomach ache, as a fellow parent I know how it feels to see them in pain and want to try anything you can to take that feeling away from them. We have to be careful about the ways we decide to help them, as some seemingly harmless remedies might make the problem worse.

I sincerely hope this article helped.