Does your child ever hold their breath when they cry?

Chrissy - posted on 07/22/2010 ( 6 moms have responded )

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My son who is almost 3, hold his breath when he gets hurts. He has passed out 4 times and now I throw water on him when he starts turning white. He says he can't breath so I'm sure if he's holdin his breath or just can't catch his breath. Its so scary. Any advice?

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Joan - posted on 07/22/2010

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have you tried blowing in his face(really hard) when he starts holding his breath? my son used to do this and blowing in his face would distract him enough that he would begin to breath.

Abby - posted on 07/22/2010

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It's called a breath holding spell. It's quite common for toddlers and children (between 1 & 5 years of age) to do this when they are angry, frustrated, hurt or scared. Their little bodies can't communicate properly and get overwhelmed. It's not harmful to them, as much as it is frustrating for you. If your child is only doing it when they get hurt, just cuddle him. Hold him gently. Do not try to restrict his movement, just be calm, hum or sing, rock a little bit, hold him and assure him that momma is there. If he does pass out, his body will "restart" as soon as he passes out. It's recommended that you do not throw water in their face or blow in their faces once they have passed out, or during the breath holding spell because it can cause them to choke. After he passes out, gently move him, make sure his tongue isn't going into his throat, let his body naturally breathe again and assure him that it's okay, you're there and that he's okay. If it is the cause of him being told no, or not getting what he wants, it's recommended that you lay him on a soft area, and let him act out his spell. It can be a form of attention getting because it makes you take notice and dote on them and it freaks you right out! If you are worried you can put 911 on speed dial and if he stays unconscious [ not including the spell, holding his breath and behavior leading up to passing out ] for longer than 30-45 seconds, call 911. Otherwise, it is normal. I would absolutely 100% recommend talking to your doctor about the spells because there is a small chance that there could be an underlying condition. If there are obvious triggers, such as being told no, getting hurt, or being frightened, then I would suggest talking to your doctor but don't worry too much about it. It isn't rare for a child to hold their breath.

Samantha - posted on 07/22/2010

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My 11 month old does the same thing but she turns blue. We blow in her face but it never seems to help, she just goes limp in my arms. I have asked the dr. about it every time we go and we always get a different answer. The last thing they told me was if they turn blue they are called Cyanotic Spells and if they turn white they are called Pallid Spells and there is really nothing you can do. I'm not saying don't try bc I always do and I freak and make a huge deal bc it's the scariest thing ever!! The dr. also said to not make a big deal for fear of them doing it for attention.http://books.google.com/books?id=YCH-RW2... this is the handout they gave me at the dr. Chapter 30

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Virginia - posted on 04/27/2011

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MY GRANDSON IS 19 MONTHS OLD AND WE HAD TO CALL 911 YESTERDAY AS WE HEARD WHAT SOUNDED LIKE A FALL. HE CAME RUNNING TO ME AND COULD NOT CATCH HIS BREATH. THEN HE PASSED OUT.YES, IT WAS VERY SCAREY..

Katie - posted on 07/22/2010

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I would sit him down and tell him that its dangerous to hold his breath. I also read on the other post about this subject that you could also blow in their mouth. Throwing water on him to distract him sounds good too.
When my daughter gets mad she starts to hit herself and other things and runs into walls. I'm not really sure what to do about that.....other than to put her in her crib.
Hopefully this stops as he gets older.

Jen - posted on 07/22/2010

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there was a post on about this just the other day. its called holding their breath spell. has your son been to the doctors about it.

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