According to Wikipedia, “Breath-holding spells are the occurrence of episodic apnea in children, possibly associated with loss of consciousness, and changes in postural tone.” There are two types of breath-holding spells: Cyanotic and Pallid. The first type of spell is triggered by frustration, anger or pain. Parents who have witnessed cyanotic spells before can already tell when another one is about the come because the child’s face slowly turns into a blue-ish/purple-ish color. The second type of spell, however, is not very common and is unpredictable. It is triggered when the child is frightened or startled. You’d know that the child is having a pallid breath-holding spell when he/she becomes very pale (sometimes, almost white). Most children who hold their breath when crying pass out up to a minute. In severe cases, seizures occur. Imagine the horror that parents go through! What should you do during a breath-holding spell?
- The number one rule that our pedia said is to stay calm. When a spell is about to come or has started, try to get the little one’s attention to veer him away from the trigger. In the Little Man’s case, we clap our hands while singing nursery rhymes, we offer him a rattle or we take him outside. He eventually gets out of the spell when he sees or hears something more interesting.
- Never let your child see that you get scared every time a breath-holding spell occurs. This is going to be a problem when he gets older because he might use it to get what he wants.
- When he does get into a spell, calmly talk to him while rubbing his chest to stimulate breathing. We also gently blow on his face so he’d gasp for air.
- If the child passes out, check his mouth for potential choking hazards.
Do your kids have breath-holding spells? Share your tips on handling these spells!