Child symptoms. Heartburn is generally not normal in children. Some newborns, especially those born prematurely, can suffer from excessive reflux due to an immature sphincter, but this generally resolves itself with time. Sometimes older children do develop acid reflux disease. GERD in children can lead to poor dietary habits as well as put them at risk for serious gastrointestinal disorders later in life. Children who complain of chest or abdominal pain, belch frequently, have a dry, lingering cough, or any of the previously listed symptoms should be evaluated by their pediatrician as soon as possible.