Scary Moment [Breath Holding Syndrome]

I’ve had my share of scares while babysitting: calls to Poison Control, car accidents, kids hiding from me, and unexpected trips to the doctor; yesterday however was a first.

I was was at Jaime’s yesterday afternoon and we were trying to get the kids ready to head to the gym.  Shoes were almost all on, kids were milling around, Jaime was getting her stuff together…you know typical events when trying to get out of the house with four kids.

The twins were on the stairs heading down to the playroom when the boy tumbled down the last couple steps.  When he got to the bottom he was mad (pretty sure his sister knocked him down!). 

He was still screaming and had thrown himself on the stairs in protest so I went to pick him up, that’s when I realized something wasn’t right.

I rolled him over to pick him up and his eyes rolled back in his head and just looked out of it.  I picked him up and he went limp in my arms.

I immediately told Jaime to call 911, something wasn’t right.

By the time I got back up the stairs he was fine.  Crying which was the best sound in the world because it confirmed he was breathing.  A HUGE sigh of relief for both myself and Jaime.

Jaime, by this time was on the phone with the 911 operator and we could hear sirens in the distance.

The medics came, checked him out and said he looked fine.  After they left Jaime took the twins home and I hung back with the girls. 

He turned out to be just fine .  I had the opportunity to see him today at the beach and he was his normal goofy self.

Scary moment.  Makes me so thankful we have 911 ready and able to help!

 

Updated 6/29/12 @ 10:35am:

After visiting the doctor, he was diagnosed with Breath Holding Syndrome, which I had never heard of, but now that I’m aware I’m surprised that more kids don’t (or they do and haven’t been diagnosed) have it.

Breath Holding Syndrome:

Childhood breath-holding conjures up an image of a stubborn toddler willfully holding his breath until he gets what he wants. The reality is quite different, however. The typical breath-holding episode begins when a child becomes upset, is startled, or suffers a minor injury, and then begins to cry. Crying may be brief or prolonged, but typically, after a few cries, the child becomes silent and apneic in what is described as noiseless expiration. This stage quickly is followed by a dramatic change in skin color. The skin becomes cyanotic or pallid or has a mixed-color appearance.

In simple BHS, the event resolves with no associated syncope or postural change. In severe BHS, however, subsequent loss of consciousness and change in postural tone do occur. Usually the child falls limp, and occasionally a few myoclonic jerks may be observed. In some cases, a brief period of increased muscle tone, or opisthotonos, may be seen after or instead of limpness.

The entire episode, which lasts from several seconds to more than a minute, may end with a sudden, deep inspiration or with the return of normal breathing. Especially with severe BHS, the child may be drowsy for a few moments before recovering completely and resuming normal activities.

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16 Responses to Scary Moment [Breath Holding Syndrome]
  1. Tesa @ 2 Wired 2 Tired
    June 28, 2012 | 3:59 PM

    Oh wow. That sounds so frightening. Glad to hear he is doing well and nothing was wrong.
    Tesa @ 2 Wired 2 Tired recently posted..Necessary Roughness Episode 204 His & Hers Review

  2. Jen
    June 28, 2012 | 7:46 PM

    I am scared for you now! What did the dr say?
    Jen recently posted..Save 23% on a Disney D23 Fan Club Membership

  3. Cassie
    June 28, 2012 | 8:06 PM

    That would have been so scary! I am glad he is okay. Did they follow up with a doctor with what happened?
    Cassie recently posted..Getting back on the Weight loss Band Wagon

  4. Emily @FamilyNLifeLV
    June 28, 2012 | 10:51 PM

    That is so scary! You reacted exactly right though! I am surprised they didn’t take him for further monitoring! Head injuries can be so tricky! So glad he is okay!
    Emily @FamilyNLifeLV recently posted..DreamWorks Pictures PEOPLE LIKE US Movie Review @PPLLikeUS

  5. Satakieli
    June 29, 2012 | 5:03 AM

    Oh my goodness Cori, how terrifying! So glad to hear that all was well after he was checked out. My son fell over the back of a chair when he was a toddler, I saw it happen and couldn’t get to him fast enough to catch him. I remember the pause before he started crying was so scary because I didn’t know if he was breathing.
    Satakieli recently posted..Radio Controlled Truck

  6. Melissa
    June 29, 2012 | 6:53 AM

    Oh my gosh! How scary! I would have done the same thing. I’m so glad he is okay.
    Melissa recently posted..Betty Crocker’s Summer of Frozen Pops: Red, White and Blueberry Lemonade Pops

  7. Cori
    Twitter: Corisbigmouth
    June 29, 2012 | 10:34 AM

    After being checked out by the doctor he was diagnosed with what’s called Breath Holding Syndrome, yes that actually exhists.

    “Childhood breath-holding conjures up an image of a stubborn toddler willfully holding his breath until he gets what he wants. The reality is quite different, however. The typical breath-holding episode begins when a child becomes upset, is startled, or suffers a minor injury, and then begins to cry. Crying may be brief or prolonged, but typically, after a few cries, the child becomes silent and apneic in what is described as noiseless expiration. This stage quickly is followed by a dramatic change in skin color. The skin becomes cyanotic or pallid or has a mixed-color appearance.

    In simple BHS, the event resolves with no associated syncope or postural change. In severe BHS, however, subsequent loss of consciousness and change in postural tone do occur. Usually the child falls limp, and occasionally a few myoclonic jerks may be observed. In some cases, a brief period of increased muscle tone, or opisthotonos, may be seen after or instead of limpness.

    The entire episode, which lasts from several seconds to more than a minute, may end with a sudden, deep inspiration or with the return of normal breathing. Especially with severe BHS, the child may be drowsy for a few moments before recovering completely and resuming normal activities.”
    Cori recently posted..Scary Moment

  8. Cassie
    June 29, 2012 | 10:49 AM

    Holy Cow! I too have never heard of this. At least it isn’t serious and you now are aware of what is going on.
    Cassie recently posted..The Playdate with Time to Play

  9. Tricia Nightowlmama
    June 29, 2012 | 11:08 AM

    My now 4 yr old did this from the time he was 1 until the time he was 3 1/2!! I can’t tell you how many times he terrified me and others. It happened every time he cried when he hurting himself. Even the kids scream when they see him cry now. He’s holding his breathe again Mom!! I thank god the episodes are few and far between but YES enough to make your heart skip a beat and call 911
    Tricia Nightowlmama recently posted..Thursday Giveaway Linky Live Week 54

    • cori
      Twitter: Corisbigmouth
      July 6, 2012 | 6:41 PM

      It’s such a horrible feeling! Happy to hear that your little one did grow out of it! Hopefully Jake will too!

  10. Becca
    June 29, 2012 | 12:03 PM

    That is so scary!! I hope it never happens again, but it sounds like you have an awesome response team close by.

  11. Jenn @therebelchick
    June 29, 2012 | 1:18 PM

    I am so glad he’s okay, I would have freaked out!
    Jenn @therebelchick recently posted..How this mom takes a 5 minute break with Pogo.com #Poppit

  12. Bobbie
    June 29, 2012 | 1:18 PM

    How SCARY!! I never heard of this! I had some sassy toddlers too! I’m glad that everything was okay in the end!
    Bobbie recently posted..Post: Happy 10th Anniversary To My Best Friend, Soul Mate & Husband!

  13. Tesa @ 2 Wired 2 Tired
    June 29, 2012 | 1:42 PM

    Glad you figured it out. I had never heard of this either and I’m happy to hear it’s not serious.
    Tesa @ 2 Wired 2 Tired recently posted..Simple Strawberry Pie In A Tempting Tortilla Shell

  14. Lolo
    June 29, 2012 | 2:43 PM

    Yikes, that is very scary!

  15. Alissa
    June 30, 2012 | 10:22 AM

    Wow – this is super scary. Thank you for sharing (and updating). Glad he’s ok and now I know what to keep an eye out for with my own kids, too.
    Alissa recently posted..SwimWays Swim Steps Sweater Vest {review}