Fort Worth, Texas,
13
December
2016
|
12:02 AM
America/Chicago

8 Facts On Kids Holding Their Breath

Some kids turn blue or even pass out

Have you ever seen a child get upset, hold his breath until turning blue or even passing out?

It happens.

It’s terrifying.

But it’s usually nothing to be worried about.

These events when children hold their breath for a spell are cleverly named “breath-holding spells.”

Despite the fact that they are scary, here are 8 facts about these events that might dispel some of that fear.

  1. Fear, anger, pain, and frustration are all possible triggers.
  2. Episodes usually start between 1 and 2 years and stop between 4 and 6 years.
  3. Seizures should be ruled out, so talk to your doctor after the first episode.
  4. Recovery takes less than 1 minute.
  5. Imaging of the child’s head is not routinely necessary.
  6. Brain damage does not occur as a result of the episode.
  7. Treatment at the time of the episode is not helpful.
  8. Punishment for breath-holding spells is not helpful because they are an involuntary reflex.

While breath-holding spells can be scary, hopefully these facts will help you remember that things are going to be OK. Children will usually outgrow them at some point (over 50 percent are gone by 4 years of age) as they develop better coping skills.

Until then, make sure you don’t allow tantrums. Teach your kids this is not OK. If you are having trouble disciplining your child or there are other concerns talk to your pediatrician or a counselor.

About the author

Justin Smith, M.D., is a Cook Children's pediatrician in Lewisville . View more from The Doc Smitty at his Facebook page. He attended University of Texas, Southwestern Medical School and did his pediatric training at Baylor College of Medicine. He joins Cook Children's after practicing in his hometown of Abilene for four years. He has a particular interest in development, behavior and care for children struggling with obesity. In his spare time, he enjoys playing with his 3 young children, exercising, reading and writing about parenting and pediatric health issues.

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