Every child complains about a bellyache now and then. How can a parent tell what is wrong, and if it is dangerous? It is not always easy. Children less than 5 or 6 years of age often do not have the words to describe their sensations accurately. Toddlers do not separate emotional from physical distress. The young child’s bellyache may represent hunger, fatigue, or a need to use the bathroom. School age children may wake with bellyaches on school days. Are they sick, or just anxious about an important test? Revised and updated 2009.