Breath Holding Spells Quiz

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Yoshinori Abe, MD (Internal medicine)

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Learn more about Breath holding spells

Content updated on Sep 20, 2022

What is breath holding spells?

A condition sometimes seen in young children. The child may stop breathing for up to 1 minute, causing him/her to lose consciousness. Although alarming to parents, this condition is common and can happen in healthy children, who will grow out of it as they age. Triggers for spells include frustration, pain, or fear.

Symptoms of breath holding spells

  • Child stopped breathing for a while after crying

  • Losing consciousness

  • Pale looking

  • Seizure

  • Lost consciousness, gone limp, or had convulsions after crying a lot

Questions your doctor may ask to check for breath holding spells

Your doctor may ask these questions to diagnose breath holding spells

  • After crying, did your child breathe out then stop breathing for a while?

  • Have you currently regained consciousness after temporarily losing consciousness?

  • Do you look more pale, wan or sickly than usual?

  • Have you had a seizure?

  • Has your child ever lost consciousness, gone limp, or had convulsions after crying a lot?

Treatment for breath holding spells

Treatment is unnecessary, and the condition disappears as children get older. Preventing triggers like frustration, pain or fear will help to reduce the frequency of spells. It is important for caregivers to understand that children do not do it on purpose, and to speak with someone if they have difficulty coping.

View the symptoms of Breath holding spells


  • Flodine TE, Mendez MD. Breath Holding Spells. 2022 Mar 15. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan–. PMID: 30969604.

Reviewed By:

Yoshinori Abe

Yoshinori Abe, MD (Internal medicine)

From our team of 50+ doctors

Just 3 minutes.
Developed by doctors.

Ubie is supervised by 50+ medical experts worldwide

Shohei Harase

Shohei Harase, MD


Kameda Medical Center, Japan

Yu Shirai

Yu Shirai, MD


Yotsuya Yui Clinic, Japan

Yoshinori Abe

Yoshinori Abe, MD

Internal medicine

Co-founder of Ubie, Inc.

Rohini R

Rohini R, MD

Ear, nose, throat (ENT)

Bayshore Health Centre, India

Seiji Kanazawa

Seiji Kanazawa, MD, PHD

Obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN)

National Center for Child Health and Development, Japan

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