Does Your Kid Have Trouble Breathing? 6 Tips

Regardless of whether your child's condition is acute or not, you should consult a pediatrician so that they can determine what's causing the issue. In addition, if you take some tips into account, you can improve their condition as soon as you notice a problem.
Does Your Kid Have Trouble Breathing? 6 Tips

Last update: 11 July, 2020

We must be aware of the symptoms and know how to recognize when a child has trouble breathing. Although in most cases it may be due to a buildup of mucus, difficulty breathing is a symptom that can hide other conditions.

In this article, we’ll tell you what to do.

Dyspnea in children

Difficulty breathing, or dyspnea, is a symptom of the respiratory system, and it may occur with varying intensity. This shortness of breath can even mean the child has to stop talking in order to breathe.

However, being a symptom, there are many conditions that can cause it. Indeed, it could come from a cold, as a consequence of the mucus that accumulates and prevents your little one from breathing well. It can also be caused by other conditions such as laryngitis, bronchitis, asthma or adenoids, for example.

Similarly, dyspnea is a symptom of allergies, pneumonia and, obviously, also when the child is choking. Likewise, we should note that anxiety and stress can also lead to episodes of dyspnea.

You may be interested in: Childhood Asthma: Causes and Diagnosis

What should I do if my child has trouble breathing?

Go to the doctor

Mother bringing her daughter to the doctor.
If your child has persistent or more severe symptoms, you should to go to the doctor to get a proper diagnosis and treatment.

First of all, depending on the type of difficulty the child has, you have to decide if you should go to the hospital. If your child makes noises or whistling sounds, has rapid breathing, bluish color on their lips, or the hollow of their sternum is pronounced when breathing, then you should go to an emergency center to have the child examined.

Additionally, whether it’s an emergency or not, you should consult your pediatrician about your child’s respiratory difficulties so that he can make a diagnosis, and determine the cause.

Keep calm

Whatever the source of your child’s dyspnea, it’s important that the parents or caregivers remain calm. If you get stressed, then you can make your little one nervous and even make his difficulty breathing worse.

Avoid “contaminated” environments

Baby in a car seat with person smoking in front seat.
Exposure to tobacco smoke and other contaminated environments can compromise the respiratory health of young children.

If your child has trouble breathing then you should avoid areas that are full of tobacco smoke. You should take them out to get as much fresh air as possible. Oxygen will help him feel better and calm down in the event of an episode of acute dyspnea.

In any case, regardless of the severity of his trouble breathing, you should always prevent minors from being exposed to this type of environment.

You may be interested in: How to Cure a Dry Cough in Children

Nasal irrigation

Saline is the best remedy to dissolve accumulated mucus. Thus, it helps your kid breathe better. In the case of babies, we also recommend you do it frequently in order to prevent this accumulation.

In effect, nasal irrigation cleans the nasal passages, preventing them from clogging and accumulating mucus. For this reason, it helps alleviate and prevent the appearance of dyspnea. However, if your kid still has trouble breathing, you should go to the doctor. It could be another, more severe condition.

Lay them on their back, slightly inclined

Child sleeping with pillows stacked up to keep him inclined, to help with trouble breathing.
The right sleeping position will help your kid have good air flow and be able to breathe better.

Your child’s sleeping position is important to prevent dyspnea from appearing at night. Therefore, you should keep your kid from sleeping on his stomach or completely lying down. A semi-upright, face-up position will facilitate the flow of mucus and breathing.

Make sure your house is humid enough

The level of humidity inside the house can improve or worsen dyspnea. For this reason, if you have a humidifier, you should use it to keep the humidity at an adequate level.

In any case, as we have shown, trouble breathing can be due to very diverse and different causes. Therefore, if the difficulty is acute or persists, you should consult a doctor. Indeed, after the necessary tests, the doctor will be able to diagnose the cause and start treatment.

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    • Hendriekje Eggink et al. “Clinical Scores for Dyspnoea Severity in Children: A Prospective Validation Study”, PLoS One. 2016; 11(7): e0157724.
    • Ana Alice Amaral Ibiapina Parente et al. “Perception of dyspnea in childhood asthma crisis by the patients and those in charge of them”, J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) vol.87 no.6 Porto Alegre Nov./Dec. 2011
    • Woodgate, Roberta, “The Experience of Dyspnea in School-Age Children with Asthma”, MCN, The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing,May/June 2009, Volume :34 Number 3 , page 154 – 161 [Buy]