My three year old has been having breathe holding spells since he was born and it terrifies me.Help

Kimberly - posted on 05/21/2010 ( 14 moms have responded )

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My son has been holding his breathe when he gets hurt or throws a fit. Today, he threw himself on the ground and smacked his head. He held his breathe again. It was terrifying. He was arching his back, struggling and finally caught his breathe. But when he did his eyes glazed over and his whole body went limp. I thought he was dying. He finally snapped out of it crying and completely responsive. The doctor says that are children who do this and it is gonna keep happening until he is 4. I am terrified. I have never been more scared in my life. My mom said that I used to do this as a child as well. Anyone?

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Amy - posted on 05/21/2010

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Hi there, I have 2 children out of four who have done this - one started at 6 months and finished at 16 months the other started at 6 months and is now four and occasionally will have one.
It is terrifying and i don't care what anyone says - until they actually see it they don't know how it feels. It really is like they die - they go totally limp - which apparently is good for them - because then even though they can become pale and sweety etc, it is a protection for the body!
My dr was telling me to try to put him somewhere safe and let him do it so he is not getting attention - however he did it in the room with him and a paedatrition and they seemed rather taken back too! Not as easy said as done.
My advice - just go with it - try to stay calm - my second child would have them 5 or more times some days and then the next hardly at all. It seems more if they don't get something they want, if they get minorly hurt etc. However if they get extremely hurt - they don't seem to do it - i found anyway.
Stay strong and believe me - it will pass - my dr said "before they go to school anyway"
I tried blowing in his face, i tried cold washers and ice on the belly anything to shock him out of it and nothing worked for me - my paed - called both my boys different suffers of breath holding - one suffered from the pale face and was lifeless for 5 mins and the other one seemed to not get the pale face but would just sit around for a bit afterwards.
I used to find when i went out too - other people would be scared to watch him in case he did this on them and even my parents would be reluctant to have him in case he did it and i guess! My little boy would do it in town and everyone would be looking at me like i had just done something terrible too him and it may have been that i didn't give him a toy or a lolly. Many a time my little boy would do this when i wasn't around outside etc and would pass out and when i would get to him he would have just fallen flat back on the concrete and end up with a big egg on the egg. So it's not always when your around either.
Hope this helps, go with the flow and try to relax. I never could, my hearts still races when it happens, but the main thing is to make sure they are safe. Sometimes i found my little boy would be eating and then start choking as well. Thank goodness now it only happens maybe once a month and now he never actually gets to the point of going limp. phew

Amy - posted on 05/21/2010

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my daughter does something like this, when she was younger i would just blow in her face and it seemed to shock her or something cuz she would start breathing again, still crying but breathing, she doesnt do it now as much, maybe try distracting them, i think thats what happened when i blew in her face, distracted her from what was going on, she still does it rarely from time to time, shes 2, and the blowing in her face works pretty well still, but she also didnt do the arching or anything like that

Gabrielle - posted on 05/21/2010

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My son (9 months) has never done that...yet! My nephew did that ALOT when he was younger....so much so he actually got tested for Epilepsy. Finally, after alot of testing and nothing...doctors concluded it was extreme breath holding spells. I dont know how you feel on this issue but my sister would give him a good spanking on his butt or a smack on his hand. It would starled him to the point where he would gasp for air (of course he would continue to cry) but he was not acring his back, turning blue, being dazed and confused after wards. After a while of this routine...he stopped. Good luck!

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Janelle - posted on 04/16/2012

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after he passes out he will breathe again and come back around. my cousin did this when she was little to get out of having a spanking, once she did it and my aunt spanked her anyway she quit.

Donna - posted on 04/16/2012

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my daughter has been doing that since she was 3 mths now shes 3 years old very scary have brought her to doctor they said its temper tantrums

Nicki - posted on 05/26/2010

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My friends daughter would do this then pass out. Doctors told her not to worry because once she passed out she would start to breath again. What she did though was carry around a water spray bottle and when she wiould start to hold her breath she would spray her right in the face. This would give her a little shock and she would start to breath again. Hope this helps

Jo - posted on 05/25/2010

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My daughter had been doing the same thing it is quite scary to watch your child. Its due to the lack of oxygen to the brain that causes them to lose consciousness and possibly have a mild seizure. What i found to be helpful is to shock them gently out of holding their breath. At one stage I used a small glass of water thrown on her chest which sounds abusive but it was better than a seizure, and it was enough to get her breathing again. My daughter is now 13 and she did eventually grow out of it by the age of about 5.

Kimberly - posted on 05/25/2010

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Thank you everyone!!! It is nice to know that I am not the only one who has to deal with something this crazy. I was taken back by the fact that my doctor didn't really provide me with anything comforting except that he will grow out of it. So thanks for the support.

Joan - posted on 05/22/2010

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hi

my son used to do this blow in his face really hard this will distract him and should cause him to take a breath.

good luck

Kathy - posted on 05/22/2010

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Stop worrying. His brain will kick in and make him pass out so he starts to breath if he holds his breath too long. It can be scary to see but alot of kids do this. This is something he can control when he can't control what is going on around him. It is alot better than refusing to poop. That one is just about impossible to break. Breath holding can only last so long til his body will take over and make him breath. Now is a good time to apologize to your Mom for putting her through this! LOL It is just one of those little quirks he got from you. He will outgrow it just like you did. One day he may have child that does the same and you can sit back and think about sweet revenge all parents get.

Ruth - posted on 05/21/2010

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My oldest daughter did this a lot, starting from when she was a few weeks old, she would hold her breath, tense up and fling herself backwards (in a similar way to when you startle a baby).



I asked the doctor and he said the same as your doctor. Said she would grow out of it. She would sometimes hold her breath til she nearly passed out. She has got a lot better and now rarely does it and when she does, it is nowhere near as severe.



I found either distracting her, blowing in her face or holding her arms gently but firmly by her sides helped. If all else fails, place your child on a few pillows or a quilt on the floor, at least then they won't hurt themselves. Hope this helps

Danielle - posted on 05/21/2010

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My son used to do the same thing when he was around that age. Its a way of getting attention and weather your fussing at them or over them your giving them exactly what they want They will continue to do it as long as they know theyre getting what they want from it. My advice is to put him somewhere that he cant hurt himself or anyone else and let him trow his fit. If he hits his head enough to where it hurts him he'll stop. If he doesn't i would start really pushing his doctor to look at other things that may be going on with him. Good Luck

Kimberly - posted on 05/21/2010

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I have tried blowing in his face to get him to take another breath. But it didn't work this time. This was the worst thing that I have seen. I was so scared. I have heard of people sitting them in a cold water bath cause that will shock them out of it.

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