Breath Holding Toddlers – So Glad My Kids Don’t Do This!

toddler breath holdingWhen the crap hits the fan in this house with a toddler, like when I say “No, you can’t have cookies!” or “Sorry, we are not going to Grandma’s” – my kid is known to throw a fit. His fits include screaming, crying and yelling and sometimes, if he is REALLY mad – throwing of whatever object is around him. While I totally can’t stand his behavior and wish fits didn’t exist – I can say I’d take a fit any day over the behavior that I learned that some toddlers have.

This behavior I speak of? BREATH HOLDING!

WTH! Breath holding? That’s insane – I had this same reaction when I heard that teenagers are hair pulling (yes, teenagers are acting out pulling out hair – crazy I tell you!).

Of course the YouTubes has an example of this behavior:

ABC News recently interviewed Ari Brown, an Austin, Texas, pediatrician and author of the book, “Toddler 411 about breath holding. What she says even wigs me out more!

“Breath-holding spells are pretty common in the toddler set,” said Ari Brown, an Austin, Texas, pediatrician and author of the book, “Toddler 411.”

“However, they are not harmful in healthy children because if the child actually holds his breath until he passes out, the body’s natural mechanism to breathe — just like when you are sleeping — kicks in and overrides the child’s forced breath-holding.”

Dr. Brown goes on to say….

“Don’t let your toddler’s breath-holding hold your parenting discipline strategy hostage.”

Brown estimated, “1 in 100 or 1,000, but not 1 in 20,000” children are breath-holders.

The only time these attacks deserve a medical evaluation is if they occur on a regular basis or happen more frequently. A small number of children actually have an iron deficiency that can cause the incidents.

I had no idea that such a thing existed, but I do know one thing My kids are so not perfect – but I am so glad my kids aren’t doing this as I would be at the doctor’s office every time that it happened thinking they were having a seizure.

If your child is doing this, do mention to a doctor.

Have You Experienced Breath Holding With Your Toddler? 

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Molly blogs parenting, geekery and technology at


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Article Posted 4 years Ago

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