32 answers

2 Yr Old Passing Out When Crying

My son is 2 years old. He has always been very healthy. Ever since he was a little baby, when he cries really hard, like when he's really upset about something (getting shots at the doctor's office, for instance) he doesn't breathe when he's crying. In the last month, he's started passing out when he cries really hard like this. He starts crying and is holding his breath, and then after about 10 seconds, he just goes limp. As soon as he passes out, he starts breathing again, and then he's only out for a few seconds before he comes back again. Has anyone else experienced this? I can't decide whether to take him to the doctor for this. I'm pretty sure the reason it's happening is because he is not getting enough oxygen for those few seconds.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hi M., I have not personally dealt with this with my daughter but my nephew does this as well. They blow in his face which makes him stop and calm down or at least it keeps him from passing out. It was very scary for them and now he is doing it less.

Hope this helps you. Also I have heard of other kids doing this so I don't think you need to go to the doctor but try this first and see if it helps.


My 2 year old also holds his breath while crying. We have found that by splashing water on his face while he is holding his breath and then he will breath before passing out.

hello! just wanted to offer some support for you - i have 2 boys 3 and 2 and they both did that (and still do occassionally) when they cry hard. Same symptoms - his dr said that it is fairly common and that they do grow out of it - best thing to do is to blow in their face when you see it coming, they are losing a little oxygen at that time and the blowing usually makes them breathe in because it startles them. Though very scary i know it doesn't seem to be harmful - i would let the Dr. know at his next visit just to keep them in the loop, and notify any other caregivers to give them the heads up

More Answers

Our oldest used to do this same thing when she was little. As long as they start breathing when they pass out - no worries. He will outgrow it. I'd mention it at his next appt, but wouldn't make a special Dr appt for it. Lots of kids do it.

God Bless-

My oldest did the same thing. She's now 5, it's been at least a year since it happened. They grow out of it. I asked her doctor, and he told me it's perfectly normal. He also said that he used to say that without much sympathy until he had a kid pass out in his office. He admitted it's scary, but when they hold their breath, the body does what it's supposed to do to get them to start breathing again. It's normal, and best to just lay them flat, arms above their head and let them come to. Sometimes, if I'd blow into her face really hard, she'd remember to breathe. I KNOW it's scary. Even knowing she was fine it would still freak me out a little. But he's fine and will grow out of it. I also noticed my daughter would be extra tired for the rest of the day when she would pass out - just something to watch for. Good luck!

My 2 year old also holds his breath while crying. We have found that by splashing water on his face while he is holding his breath and then he will breath before passing out.

The child I knew who did this ended up having a heart murmur and has had to have heart surgery, so I would also take him to a doctor to rule that out.

My Dad did this as a kid. It's normal and they grow out of it. If you are nervous about what it does to his brain and heart take him to a doctor. Though if it is a heart murmur, if you have a stethoscope, you can listen to his heart and rule that out yourself. It also depends on what type of heart murmur he would have. My son has a heart murmur and does not need surgery. He has been monitored every year and now that he is two, he won't have another appointment until he is 5, but I have things to watch for if something goes wrong. But it really is normal. Like the one said, blow in their face. This forces them to take a breath as a natural response. But otherwise ignore him and teach him to show his anger in other ways.

I am sure he is fine and you are probably right that this is related to him getting upset. I would take him to the doc anyways. Depriving your brain from oxygen just doesn't seem like the best thing. Maybe the doctor has some ideas to get him to calm down.

Good luck.

Some kids to that. Don't make a deal of it and he'll grow out of it. (And be grateful that he isn't one who cries so hard he throws up *grin*)

I haven't had my son pass out on me, but when he gets going crying, I usually feel the need to say, "Breathe!", we also joke with, "Wait for it...".
I can't imagine how scary it is to have him pass out, but from the responses below, you aren't alone, and just make sure that he isn't doing it for attention. Good luck.

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