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Anyone have a child who has involuntary breath loss spells?

(21 Posts)
sureitsgrand Sun 12-Mar-17 10:33:52

Hi, just that really. My son is 2, he had one once before, but it happened again yesterday after he fell over. Its so scary seeing him limp, unresponsive etc. We ran outside into the cool air with him and made lots of noise and he came back. If anyone has experience of these I'd love to chat.

sureitsgrand Sun 12-Mar-17 16:01:17


SnugglyBedSocks Sun 12-Mar-17 16:02:25

It is quite a common thing in children to breath hold.

SnugglyBedSocks Sun 12-Mar-17 16:03:27

falgelednl Sun 12-Mar-17 16:06:34

All three of my DC have done this. DS has probably been the worst for it but then, he is the most physical so falls more often than the older girls did. He is now nearly 4 and has not 'stopped breathing' for several months so we are hoping he has now grown out of it - as the girls did at around the same age.
We blow hard into his mouth to set off his gag reflex to get him back to normal. He has gone blue a few times.
GP is not sure what causes it - they were all born very early and it has been blamed on immature reflexes which can't cope with the shock.
I agree it is scary but hopefully DS is now over it and your DS will grow out if it too.

insancerre Sun 12-Mar-17 16:08:27

Reflex anoxic seizures
They can look really scary but are normally harmless, though it's always best to get some medical advice
The child holds their breath but if they become unconscious the body's reflexes kick in and they start breathing automatically

flapjackfairy Sun 12-Mar-17 16:12:34

I have a 2 yr old woth epilepsy who also has a nasty habit of breath holding.
I called an ambulance first time as a friend who was here who was a nurse was even getting concerned!
We have a sats monitor and it is terrifying watching the oxygen level fall but i am quite used to it now.
It is normally triggered by emotional events like fear or pain and children get stuck on out breathe and cant breathe in again.
They will start to breathe if they pass out and relax so best i find to stay calm and just keep them safe until they have recovered though that is definitely easier said than done.
Not a nice experience .

sureitsgrand Sun 12-Mar-17 22:25:53

Thanks for the replies. You all sound really relaxed about it, I wish it didn't freak me out so much!

sureitsgrand Sun 12-Mar-17 22:25:53

Thanks for the replies. You all sound really relaxed about it, I wish it didn't freak me out so much!

flapjackfairy Mon 13-Mar-17 05:38:25

Oh believe me well freaked out!
Especially at first. And if it makes you feel better the nurses at hosp were in a right state when he did it coming round from an anaesthetic for a minor op and would have had him on a ventilator in intensive care if i hadnt been there to tell them to wait and he would be ok .
It is truly terrifying at the time but i suppose after lots of incidences you get better at hiding the panic thats all .
Nobody tells you about these things when you read the baby books do they ?!

flapjackfairy Mon 13-Mar-17 05:39:53

P. S dh even worse and cant even begin to pretend he is calm about it .

Crumbs1 Tue 14-Mar-17 08:06:01

It could be just conscious breath holding in a toddler - occasionally you get one that goes to full unconsciousness it this is self limiting as when they pass out they start breathing again.

Or it's reflex anoxic episodes by sound of it. Small trauma - paper cuts, grazed knees, bumps trick the body into thinking it's a major accident and cause a degree of 'shut down' where it triggers 'breath holding/ twitching/fainting/ loss of consciousness and grumpiness. Their blood pressure dropping is the actual cause as body thinks it's in shock.
They grow out of it but it's quite common in adolescents. Treatment is same - leave them to it and they'll come round but will be feeling groggy for a bit.

sureitsgrand Tue 14-Mar-17 08:39:43

Thanks. His carers at nursery are a bit wary of it as they have never heard of it, so looking for some info in case it happens in there.

YellowRoses6 Tue 14-Mar-17 14:32:50

I actually used to do this as a child - involuntarily held my breath when I hurt myself; I'd pass out and that would set things right again. I grew out of it when I was about eight.

butterflymum Tue 14-Mar-17 14:44:06

If it is a Reflexic Anoxic Seizure he had, and that does seem possible, then you can get lots of helpful info and support from


butterflymum Tue 14-Mar-17 14:49:53

Forgot to add, you can also get a helpful leaflet from them for Nursery, School etc., to explain things. You used to be able to loan out a video too, but not sure if they do similar nowadays.

insancerre Tue 14-Mar-17 17:31:01

I would try to get a leaflet for the nursery and give them some info on what to look out for and what to do if it happens in their care of it is anoxic seizures

It can be very distressing for the other children and the adults involved, especially if they have no experience of it

katty339 Wed 22-Mar-17 22:31:44

I am glad I saw this thread as was just looking for someone elses experience to calm myself down. My daughter is 28 months and has had a few episodes of involuntary breath holding in the past but she has always started breathing again as soon as she passed out. Tonight she fell over and got a fright and basically stopped breathing and passed out but didn't start breathing again. She went rigid and blue. I called an ambulance while she was not breathing but my husband started giving her breaths and she came round while they were still on the phone. Paramedics came round anyway and checked her obs, all fine. This was so so scary and really awful to see. Will take her to gp tomorrow but feeling really shaken

flapjackfairy Thu 23-Mar-17 05:49:20

Oh katty it is so horrible i know.
I have called an ambulance before as i said earlier and it is truly terrifying.
The main thing to remember is that they will start to breathe again if they go unconcious as muscles relax but at the time it seems like an eternity.
Hope you feel a bit better today. Sending a hug xx

katty339 Thu 23-Mar-17 14:48:33

Thank you, yes feeling a bit better. Saw the GP but they didn't really have anything to add, although she did say we should continue to call ambulance if she turns blue again. What a horrible thing ! If anyone has any ideas of good distractions to stop it from happening please post them! Thanks!!

flapjackfairy Thu 23-Mar-17 16:53:37

Sometimes clapping or a sudden noise shocks mine out of it but other times just have to wait it out.
Glad you feel a bit better
One thing that helps me is to view genuine seizure videos online as there are some kids on there who have this and it is interesting to watch them as it not only helps you realise that they do all eventually come round but it also helps to desensitise you (in a good way if there is such a thing) so that when it happens it is a bit less panic inducing. They are distressing though so advise caution if you think that might make you worse .
My little one has epilepsy anyway and after several months of being seizure free is having them again so i am going through this all over again because the natural instinct to panic kicks in in much the same way so i really do know how you feel .
Hopefully your little girl will grow out of it sooner rather than later x

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