Treating Bloody Stools in Children

Call 911 if:

  • Bleeding is severe or there are clots.
  • Your child seems weak, faint, or very sick.
  • Your child is in pain.

Blood in the stool is usually not a serious problem in young children, but you should always call a pediatrician to make sure.

Call Doctor If:

Your baby has blood in the stool.

1. Get Details

  • Is the blood bright red or dark?
  • Has your baby eaten anything unusual or started any new medications? Foods such as tomatoes, beets, and artificial flavorings can cause reddish stools. Some antibiotics may also discolor stool.

2. Look for Other Symptoms

  • Is the blood associated with diarrhea, vomiting, fever, or pain?

3. Call Your Pediatrician

  • If there was very little blood and your baby seems otherwise healthy, call the pediatrician during normal office hours.
  • If your baby is under 12 weeks old; has black or tarry stools, bloody diarrhea, or blood mixed with mucus that looks like jelly; or if your baby seems sick, upset, or lethargic, call a pediatrician right away or go to the nearest emergency room.


  2. “Stools — Blood in."
  3. MedlinePlus: “Bloody or Tarry Stools."
  4. Seattle Children’s Hospital: “Stools, Blood in."

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