- A spell that involves holding the breath, then turning blue and passing out
- Breath-holding spells were diagnosed by your child's doctor
Symptoms of a Breath-Holding Spell
- An upsetting event happens right before the spell. A common trigger is being angry about parents setting limits (temper tantrums). Another is getting scared. Some spells are triggered by a sudden injury, such as falling down.
- The child gives out 1 or 2 long cries
- Then holds his breath until the lips and face become bluish
- Then passes out and falls to the floor
- Then often becomes stiff. May also have a few muscle jerks.
- Normal breathing starts again in less than 1 minute. Becomes fully alert in less than 2 minutes.
- Only happens when child is awake, never when asleep
- A reflex response to strong feelings. This reflex allows some children to hold their breath long enough to pass out. Spells do not happen on purpose.
- This happens in 5% of healthy children. Breath-holding spells can run in families.
- Starts between 6 months and 2 years of age. Goes away by age 6.
- Many young children hold their breath when upset, turn blue, but don't pass out. This is common and normal.
- Frequent spells can happen in children who have anemia (low red blood count). This can happen if your child doesn't eat enough foods with iron. If your child is a picky eater, your doctor may order a blood test.