2 Types Of Breath Holding Spells In Children

 2 types of breath holding spells in children

Image : Shutterstock

Children tend to express their resistance by being stubborn in many ways. Of these, the scariest is the breath holding spell.

If your child does the same, it is natural for you to feel terrified, worried and helpless at this extreme measure of stubbornness.

What Is Breath Holding Spell?

Breath holding spell is a process where a child holds his breath until he passes out. Some children also turn blue as they hold the breath.

This causes anxiety to parents who often fail to understand what is really going on. Although breath holding spells look terrible, they do not cause serious health complications. They are mostly an involuntary reflex exercised by a child who wants to react strongly to being disciplined or reprimanded.

Usually your child may tend to exhibit the breath holding trait during the terrible twos. The spells can occur anywhere between 6 months to 6 years of age. Children usually outgrow this tendency once they turn 6 years of age.

[ Read: How To Deal With Stubborn Kids ]

2 Types Of Breath Holding Spells In Children:

It is important to understand the kinds of breath holding spells in your child. Here are the different types of spells that your child may try to use:

1. Cyanotic Breath Holding Spells:

Cyanotic spell happens when the child stops breathing and his face turns blue as a result. This is usually a reaction to parents who are very strict.

  • Often, you will notice the oncoming signs in your child as his face may turn pale first before turning completely blue after.
  • Cyanotic spells are often resorted to when your child simply wants to resist what is being imposed on him in the form of regular schedule, eating habits, etc.

2. Pallid Breath Holding Spells:

Pallid spells are less frequent and happen very suddenly. Your child will exhibit a certain kind of shock, as if he is startled from behind.

  • Your child turns pale holding the breath, losing consciousness for over a minute.
  • There are extreme cases too, when your child may have seizures as a result of this spell. However, there are no serious after effects post recovery.

[ Read: Epilepsy In Children ]

Things To Do During A Breath Holding Spell:

As a parent you don’t want to see your child going breathless. In case your child exhibits a breath holding spell, there are things you can do tackle the situation.

Here are a few things you have to do during the time of spell and passing out:

  • Check your child’s mouth for any food or other objects that can cause choking once consciousness is regained.
  • Roll your child over to the side for effective recovery.
  • If your child has a seizure, remove all the surrounding objects away from him.
  • Administer CPR if your child does not resume breathing after a minute. If you are not CPR trained, rush your child to the nearest doctor or an emergency room.

Extreme Cases That Require Medical Attention:

If your child exhibits a breath holding spell for the first time, seek medical help right away.

  • Sometimes these spells are derivatives of underlying medical condition that required further diagnosis
  • While most spells are caused due to anger, there are other conditions that also trigger breath holding spells, such as seizure disorder, arrhythmia or even iron deficiency (anemia)
  • Talking to your doctor is always safe to understand the root cause of your child resorting to spells.

[ Read: Giardiasis ]

Measures To Prevent Further Spells:

As a parent, it is your prime duty to make sure that your child does not go back to practicing the breathholding spells. This can achieved only through implementing some balanced measures at home:

  • Develop healthy communication with your child
  • Disciplining your child very strictly in the early years is not recommended. Go easy while being firm about rules.
  • Love and kindness always win over hostile situations. Make sure you give more of affection to your child when needed.
  • Food, diet and routine also play a very important role. Make sure you inculcate a healthy routine for your child.

Staying calm always helps during the spells. If you panic, your child will lose all the support at the time of crisis. Make sure that this situation does not arise in the first place.

Parenting is all about striking a perfect balance, and you would know best when to bring on the love! Take care.

Do share your thoughts with us.

Recommended Articles:

  • Eczema In Children – 7 Causes, 6 Symptoms & 4 Treatments You Should Be Aware Of
  • Epilepsy In Children – 9 Causes, 9 Symptoms & 2 Treatments You Should Be Aware Of
  • What Is Giardiasis And How To Prevent Your Child From It?
  • Bruxism In Kids – 6 Causes, 4 Symptoms & 8 Treatments You Should Be Aware Of