Breath-holding spells are brief periods when young children stop breathing for up to 1 minute. These spells often cause a child to pass out (lose consciousness). Breath-holding spells usually occur when a young child is angry, frustrated, in pain, or afraid. But the spell is a reflex.
How do you stop a child from holding their breath?
The best thing to do is let your child lie on their side while they’re out. That helps the blood flow to their brain and gives them a chance to recover more quickly. In very rare cases, a child may not start breathing again after 1 minute. If this happens, call 911.
Can you pass out from holding breath?
Holding your breath for too long underwater, especially while alone, can lead to fainting or blacking out while you are still underwater. This can happen even if you are in shallow water. This phenomenon is called a shallow water blackout or hypoxic blackout.
Can a child die from breath-holding spells?
Young children, when faced with an upsetting situation or sudden pain, can hold their breath, causing them to turn bluish or pale, and pass out. Although this is alarming to parents, breath-holding spells are generally not harmful.
When do kids grow out of breath-holding spells?
Breath-holding spells can run in families. Starts between 6 months and 2 years of age. Goes away by age 6. Many young children hold their breath when upset, turn blue, but don’t pass out.
Are breath holding spells normal?
Breath-holding spells happen in healthy children from 6 months to 6 years old. They’re most common when kids are 6–18 months old, and tend to run in families.
Why is my child holding his breath?
Breath holding is usually involuntary, and is caused by a slowing of the heart rate or changes in your child’s usual breathing patterns. Sometimes breath-holding spells are brought on by strong emotions such as anger, fear, pain or frustration.
Can breath holding spells cause death?
Serious complications of breath holding spells are rare, but cases of sudden death, prolonged asystole, and status epilepticus have been reported. A detailed history and exam are important to diagnose theses spells and help distinguish from epileptic seizures and other causes of syncope.
Can breath-holding spells cause brain damage?
Breath-holding spells are not dangerous. They do not lead to epilepsy or brain damage. Breath-holding spells usually begin when children are between 6 months and 2 years old. Children usually outgrow them by age 5 or 6.
How do you treat breath-holding spells?
A doctor may recommend iron supplements for a child who has cyanotic breath-holding spells, even when the child does not have iron-deficiency anemia, and treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (if the child has it).
What helps with breath-holding spells?
What should you do when your child has a breath-holding spell? To protect your child during a spell, lay your child on the floor and keep his or her arms, legs, and head from hitting anything hard or sharp. Your child may stop breathing for up to 1 minute (60 seconds) during a spell.
Are breath holding spells hereditary?
Breath-holding spells are more common in children with: Genetic conditions, such as Riley-Day syndrome or Rett syndrome. Iron deficiency anemia. A family history of breath-holding spells (parents may have had similar spells when they were children)
How long can a child hold their breath?
Most kids outgrow breath-holding episodes by the time they’re 5 or 6 years old. Occasionally, kids may pass out for 30–60 seconds during a breath-holding spell. If this happens, talk with your doctor to be sure nothing more serious is going on.
Why does blowing on a baby’s face take her breath away?
Blowing on the face is a common trick. It triggers a reflex to hold the breath for a short moment. That stops the crying, and can also be used when washing the child’s face etc.