Seriously…breath-holding spells???

I do whatever I can to keep Mary safe – it is my job.  But that little girl is strong-headed and is trying, even at 12 months – to get her way!

This week has dealt us our scariest moment with her yet.

We were Skyping with my in-laws and my husband was just holding Mary up to the computer screen when she started crying and then held her breath, and with her eyes rolling back she turned blue and passed out.  She was rigid in Jeremy’s arms.  We freaked…what was going on? I was fidgeting for my phone to call 9-1-1 when she came to and we realized that she had a breath-holding spell.

This isn’t new to me…I guess this is something that I did as a child.  And when I called my parents (after assuring my in-laws over Skype that we were fine) – my parents reacted “well – now you know what we put you through!” Thanks mom and dad.

After doing some more research about breath-holding we realized that this is common for kids – actually 5 percent of young children have breath-holding spells.  I guess Mary and I were both part of that 5 percent!

Since it was after office hours and didn’t seem like an emergency (she was back to playing and talking and doing Mary-type activities) we decided we would call our pediatrician in the morning.

The next morning, after relaying everything to day care, I called our doctor’s office.  Dr. Roer, Mary’s pediatrician, called me back and assured me that even though this seemed so scary, breath-holding spells were not dangerous and have nothing to do with epilepsy.   He also explained that kids typically have these spells because they are frightened, frustrated or angry but it’s important not to give into them or the spells will continue.  He told us to stay relaxed and don’t let Mary know we might be frightened – here is where that tough love must come in.

I’ll admit – I worry about the next time this happens.  I know to say calm now that I know what to expect – but it’s so scary.  I’ve talked at length with day care so that we are all on the same page of how we’ll be handling more spells.  Mary has already pulled a couple there – just not to the pass-out stage.

Anyone else out there in this 5 percent?  Care to share how you handle it?


  1. Reply
    Lisa February 9, 2012

    I’m glad she’s scary! :-O

  2. Reply
    Marcy February 16, 2012

    I actually had a friend’s little sister do this to me while we were playing in a pool when I was about 11-12.  Thankfully her dad is an ER doc and was in attendance at the party.  SCARY!

  3. Reply
    Lisa Cramer January 12, 2013

    My daughter started having spells when she was 11 months old. They became frequent and really bad and eventually began having seizures with them. She wouldn’t sleep and cried all day everyday. A cluse friend shared essential oils with us and they have made the world of a difference with Farrah! I suggest essential oils to all children with BHS. This us our story…

  4. Reply
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