Breath-holding is when a baby or child stops breathing for up to 1 minute and may faint. It can happen when a child is frightened, upset, angry, or has a sudden shock or pain. It’s usually harmless but can be scary for parents, particularly when it happens for the first time.
What to do if a kid stops breathing?
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.
Why does it look like my baby stops breathing?
This is called periodic breathing. There may be several such pauses close together, followed by a series of rapid, shallow breaths. This irregular breathing pattern is common in premature babies in the first few weeks of life. Even healthy, full-term babies sometimes have stretches of periodic breathing.
What causes breath-holding spells?
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.
How do I know if my child has sleep apnea?
What are the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea in a child?
- Loud snoring or noisy breathing (gasping or snorting) during sleep.
- Pauses in breathing, lasting usually a few seconds up to a minute.
- Mouth breathing.
- A nasal voice.
- Restlessness during sleep.
- Too much daytime sleepiness or irritability.
What happens if you stop breathing for 1 minute?
For most people, it’s safe to hold your breath for a minute or two. Doing so for too much longer can decrease oxygen flow to the brain, causing fainting, seizures and brain damage. In the heart, a lack of oxygen can cause abnormalities of rhythm and affect the pumping action of the heart.
When should I be concerned about my child’s breathing?
Call 999 and ask for an ambulance if: your child has difficulty breathing or exhaustion from trying to breathe (you may see the muscles under their ribs sucking in with each breath, they may be grunting with the effort of trying to breathe, or they may be pale and sweaty) they’re breathing very fast.
Can you stop SIDS while it’s happening?
SIDS can’t be completely prevented, but there are things you can do to reduce your baby’s risk as much as possible. Safe sleeping practices are at the top of the list, and setting up a healthy sleep environment is the most effective way to keep your little one protected.
What are the first signs of RSV?
The most common symptoms of RSV include:
- Runny nose.
- Short periods without breathing (apnea)
- Trouble eating, drinking, or swallowing.
- Flaring of the nostrils or straining of the chest or stomach while breathing.
- Breathing faster than usual, or trouble breathing.
Is it normal for a baby to stop breathing for a few seconds?
Some babies can take a pause in their breathing for up to 10 seconds or a few seconds longer. Their next few breaths may be fast and shallow. Then they breathe steadily again. This is called periodic breathing.
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.
Can breath-holding spells be fatal?
Some children have them every day, and some have them only once in a while. Breath-holding spells are usually not serious and don’t cause lasting damage. With time, they go away on their own.
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.