“Problem child Holding their Breath parenting tips”
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This behavior is one of the most alarming in the toddler behaviour displayed.
There are two forms of breath holding, the most common cyanotic (blue) type and the rare pallid (faint) type.
With the cyanotic attack, the child willingly holds his breath and in doing so he reaches the point of passing out; it’s kind of a wild tantrum used to get his own way.
THE CYANOTIC (BLUE) ATTACK…
These attacks are more likely from 18months to 4years.
What usually happens is when the child becomes frustrated and his lesser tantrums are not working for him, he decides that breath holding will be more effective.
The crying starts, this is about three long cries, with the last cry completely empting his lungs of any air.
What to expect next, the next fifteen seconds the child by choice holds his breath, with this behaviour leads to him going blue in the face and passing out.
Once unconscious, the child loses any control of his breathing; at this time the body immediately turns to ‘auto pilot’ and breathing begins, with breathing back on track full consciousness returns around fifteen seconds after.
Helping parents to help the child:
The breath-holding attacks are terrifying for the parents, and if the breath holding is to be stopped, the behaviour really needs to be handled in the same manner as a tantrum or any other form of attention seeking behavior.
It must absolutely be ignored, turn a blind eye.
Fussing over the child will encourage past performances to continue.
THE PALLID (FAINT) ATTACK…
The less common pallid attack is not like the true breath holding attack, it is more related with a painful experience, such as a minor injury and passes out suddenly in a form of a fainting fit.
Children who experience these attacks tend to get them from either pain or fear, and either one can set off an attack. (It is thought that children that have these attacks become adults that faint with the sight of blood).
In the pallid attack, if the child takes a hard knock on the head he would not cry out or hold his breath, he will go weak and fall to the floor.
The child’s heart rate drops considerably and their skin color is quite pale, but usually recovers quickly after the attack.
Treatment: providing the child is in no danger and lying flat, let nature take its course, nothing else needs to be done.
If an involuntary reflex genuinely caused the attack, the child should be held and comforted upon recovery.
Article contributed by Theresea Hughes, creator of
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