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Your Child's Nasogastric Tube: Checking Tube Placement

Your child is going home with a nasogastric (NG) feeding tube in place. This is a soft thin tube inserted through your child’s nose down into the stomach. It delivers liquid food directly to the stomach. You were shown how to check the placement of the tube before your child was discharged from the hospital. This sheet can help you remember those steps when you and your child are at home. Arrangements may also be made for a home health nurse to help you.

NOTE: There are many types of NG tubes. Your child’s NG tube may look or work differently from the one described and shown here. Always follow the instructions given by your child’s healthcare provider or home health nurse. Ask them for phone numbers to call if you need help. Also, make sure you have the phone number for your child’s medical supply company. You’ll need to order more supplies for your child in the future. Write all of these phone numbers below.

Health care provider phone number: ____________________________________

Home health nurse phone number: _____________________________________

Medical supply company phone number: _________________________________

Home CareOutline of baby with head turned to side showing NG tube in nose, down back of throat, into esophagus, and ending in stomach. Lungs are shown in chest with airway in front of esophagus. Mark on NG tube is at nose. Stethoscope is placed on stomach.

Every time you feed your child, check to make sure that the NG tube is in the right place. The end of the tube must be in your child’s stomach, NOT in a lung or the throat. Perform this check BEFORE each feeding.


  • Stethoscope

  • 5 cc/ml syringe


  • Wash your hands with soap and water.

  • Put the tips of the stethoscope in your ears. Place the round chest piece on your child’s stomach.

  • Put 5 cc/ml of air into the syringe.

  • Connect the syringe to the feeding port at the end of the tube.

  • Check for proper tube placement:

    • Attach the syringe to the end of the tube and make sure the other port of the tube is closed off.

    • Pull back on the plunger of the syringe to get stomach contents.

    • Check the pH using pH paper. Gastric (or stomach) pH should be 1 to 4 if your child is not on a proton pump inhibitor or H2 receptor antagonist. Please discuss your child's medication with his or her doctor.

  • Disconnect the syringe from the tube.

  • When the placement of the tube is confirmed, adjust the tape on your child’s cheek to secure the tube in place, if needed.

  • Wash the syringe with soap and water and let it dry.

  • Proceed with feeding as you have been instructed.

NOTE: If you are NOT SURE the tube is in the stomach, DON’T proceed with the feeding. Reinsert or advance the NG tube as you were instructed by the health care provider and REPEAT the steps to check for CORRECT placement. If you’re still having trouble placing the tube, call the doctor right away for assistance.

Call the doctor right away if any of the following occurs:

  • Your child has trouble breathing.

  • Redness, swelling, leakage, sores, or pus develops in the skin around the tube site.

  • You see blood around the tube, in child’s stool, or in contents of the stomach.

  • Your child coughs, chokes, or vomits while feeding.

  • Your child has a bloated or rigid abdomen (belly feels hard when gently pressed).

  • Your child has diarrhea or constipation.

  • Your child has a fever 100.4°F or higher.


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