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  • Post last modified:July 30, 2022
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A baby passing out while crying, can this really be normal..?

Read a mom’s question here, what’s going on, and how to address the situation.

baby passing out while crying

Mom’s Question:

My son is 13 months old, and since he started walking 3 months ago, he, of course, has been clumsy and tripping and falling. But when he hits his head he cries, I run to pick him up and he stops crying and breathing for a few seconds, before you know it he gets all stiff and blacks out for a few seconds. The whole time, I’m blowing air in his face (hard), and kinda patting his back, and telling him he’s okay. When he finally opens his little eyes, he takes a deep breath, cries for a few seconds, then he looks really tired and acts really melo.

I’ve asked his pediatrician about it the last 3 times I’ve taken him in for check-ups. He says it’s just him freaking out from the fall, and he passes out because of a lack of oxygen to the brain, not from the hit itself. I have 3 kids, this only happened to my 4-year-old once. I took him to the ER and they told me the exact same thing. But my baby does this I’d say about once every couple weeks.

I just want to know if anyone’s going through this…I try to be around him all the time to avoid accidents, but it’s hard to keep up…


Baby Passes Out When Crying – Normal or not?

This is actually not uncommon and I think the advice from your pediatrician is correct. What your son may have is something called breath-holding spells. Many young children do experience them, they are not dangerous and children grow out of them at around 5 years of age. You can read more about breath-holding spells, how to identify and treat them here.

As parents we want to protect our children and stop them from getting hurt. When something does happen like a fall, we tend to rush over in a panic, fearful that our child is badly hurt. We make a big fuss and unfortunately our anxiety and fear is transmitted to our babies and it increases their fear and shock.

Falling over and bumping heads is part of growing up and learning to take risks. Babies need to be able to explore and challenge their bodies to learn new skills. They do get a fright sometimes when they lose control and fall, but we make it worse by our reaction. By making a big event out of it we increase the child’s shock and through this we can actually reinforce whatever strong reaction they have.

Sure you need to make sure that they haven’t really done any damage, but mostly little children are so relaxed when they fall, there is seldom anything other than a little bruised.

Yessenia, you are obviously a very caring and loving Mom, but just see if you can back off a bit and make it more light hearted. “Woopsie” or “up you hop” – or wait a few seconds and check first, do you need a cuddle? Running in panic to him is not helping! Just try to trust that he is learning to control his world and yes the will be a few bumps and bruises on the way, but you offer him so much more when you keep control of your panic reaction and empower him to keep trying.

Some kids left to their own devices would have a tumble, a bit of a surprised cry then go and do exactly the thing they were attempting before the fall. How’s that for a lesson in perseverance! Our kids can teach us a lot about learning and trying and taking risks!

Your little boy is clearly very tuned in and sensitive to your emotions, so focus on having fun and enjoying him, rather than worry or anxiety. If you try to stay calm then maybe you can help preventing these episodes to occur quite as often. When they do occur, just stay calm. Read more among the links below about parents who have experienced similar situations.

I hope this helps,

Read Next: Babies That Pass Out

Research references

Breath-holding spells in infants

Find comments below.


Nov 21, 2016 Passing out
by: donna
My little girl does exactly the same. It’s every time she falls backward, she is two now and has been happening since she was one. It’s happened at home in the playground at school!! It’s the most terrifying thing ever to feel your baby go limp and lifeless when you go to pick them up. I wish someone could give some more in-depth answer. I also have a little boy older who has never done this.

Jan 03, 2017 Passing Out

by: Anonymous

My daughter just did that for the first time but it was not after a fall. My neighbor was leaving and she got upset (she loves our neighbor). She was crying in my arms and cried out and would not breathe back in. I tried to blow in her face but she went limp. When I laid her on the ground she started breathing and crying again.

I have known for a while that this is not uncommon. I was once told by a Pediatric Neurologist that it is actually partly developmental. He said that there is a trigger mechanism in the brain that makes them breathe back in when they are crying. Sometimes with some children, this mechanism fails and they don’t breathe in. He said it is ok and they grow out of it.

I was always worried that my son would do this because he would cry out until his face was bright red but never passed out. My daughter is the same way and guessess this time she just did it a little too long.

I know it is very upsetting to any parent and it was for me even though I knew it was ok.

Jan 06, 2017 My daughter

by: Anonymous

Everything that you are saying is the exact same thing that my daughter does… Except for one night she was running a fever and she was sleeping and all of a sudden she screamed so my husband grabbed her she was having a seizure so we rushed her to the hospital and he said it wasn’t anything thing major but I explained the whole passing out thing and he says that’s not her passing that’s her having a seizure so now I don’t know what to think… Because i had one doctor tell me it was her holding her breath another tell me to get her checked and the er doc tells me she has been having seizures this whole time… So what do I do!!!!!

Jan 07, 2017 Passing out with Temp vs holding breath

by: Baby Help Line – Paula


When a child has a temperature and passes out that is completely different from the breath-holding thing, and you are right it is dangerous. That is one of the reasons it is really important to get a child’s temperature down when they are running a fever.

It is always better to check with your Doctor if you are worried your child may be unwell. Never rely on internet information – ours included!


Feb 10, 2017 same thing

by: Anonymous

I also have a 16-month-old son who has been doing this exact same thing. Falling down, bumping his head, and crying until he passes out. I am glad to see it is not uncommon. I have been very freaked out.

Jul 05, 2017 Same here!

by: Anonymous

I’m so relieved to read all the other comments, because my 9 months old just fell and went out of breath, all blue in the face until it looked like a type of unconscious state where his eyes were not straight…then all of a sudden he was fine again! I completely freaked out & am so glad to here it’s common….

Dec 23, 2017 My son has for two years
by: Anonymous
My son is now 2 and has been doing this since he was 4 months old. He does it at least once a week. He is always fine, but just gets very upset when he gets upset. It could be because he falls, or because I didn’t give him an m&m.
It is very scary to see and witness, and I do not think that gets better. No matter how many times they do it.

I just try to change the environment and talk to him (usually go outside).
He will pass out, and them reflexes take over and he catches his breath.

I wouldn’t worry unless when he does it he starts to shake…then you may be looking at a seizure.
Good luck, and remember they are just little people and it is so hard for them to communicate.

Apr 26, 2018 It happened just tonight

by: Anonymous

My daughter does this too. She is almost three and it has only happened three times in her life, but it really freaks me out. This is my fourth child and has never happened with any of my other children. She hit her head tonight on the bathroom floor, started crying really hard and did not inhale. Then her eyes rolled back in her head while I was holding her and she went limp. As she went unconscious, she still wasn’t breathing and didn’t for about five seconds. Then she awoke for about two seconds, and the same thing happened again. By that time, I was screaming at her and she finally opened her eyes and seemed fine, other than being upset that I was screaming at her to wake up. She immediately asked for Rice Krispies. She acted perfectly fine after that and ate all her cereal. Weird!!

Jul 02, 2018 baby cries and passes out

by: Tim

my 9-month-old baby does the same thing, at first she hit her head and did it which was really scary, she has done it a couple more times while mildly hurting herself ie fall or bump, but recently I took a toy off her and she did it out of anger or frustration, I have tried to read a lot on the net about it but can’t find anything about how to prevent it from happening, the earlier post by Annie Desantis was really good and made a lot of sense to me. if anyone knows how to stop this from happening let me know, please

Aug 07, 2018 This used to happen to me as a child
by: Anonymous
Hello, moms out there! I’m 28 years old, and this would happen to me when I was a baby, until I was 6 or 7 years old. IT IS NOT a thing you do to call the attention of the parents, as the person who suffered from it for so many years as a child I can say that is awful not be able to cry without running out of oxygen. I still remember the times when it would happen and I felt like I was going to die, my parents would freak out and start pounding on my feet and back, one time it was so bad I wouldn’t come back and they had to pour water on me to make me come back.
I don’t want to scare anybody! As this seems to happen to small kids and they can’t really communicate with you that well, I thought I would tell my story, and since I never knew myself why this would happen to me. Don’t worry… Your child will grow out of it! Much Luck!

Sep 08, 2018 Concussion or Seizure???
by: Scared Mom
The same thing has been happening to my 9-month-old… When I post online other moms say she is holding her breath but she not!!! After she bonks her head she isn’t even crying for more than a second before she goes unconscious. The ER doctors say its tiny seizures but her pediatrician thinks she is passing out as a response and her bodies way of responding. I have read everything I can find on concussions and seizures and neither one is exactly what is going on with her!!! Just waiting to see get an EEG and finding out what is happening to my poor baby!!!

Sep 11, 2018 same
by: Anonymous
Wow, reading that was like reliving last night with my daughter. She just turned one and has done this twice now. The first time I hysterically called 911 by the time they arrived she was running around like nothing ever happened. Her doctor said the same thing that she just works herself up. My mother said I did it when I was little and my grandmother said my father did it when he was little. It is still is very scary and I will still call the doctor every time it happens. Good luck to you!

Sep 13, 2018 5year old fell
by: lia
We were at a party yesterday when the kids were playing on the slippery water slide on the ground and my daughter ran and jumped on that slippery mat and fell very hard on her back and head and I think more so she felt embarrassed by the other kids, that she went into a deep cry and couldn’t come out then she turned blue in her face and collapsed on me, my dad took her and somehow she came back to herself but couldn’t stop crying, my heart was finished for her.
It is one experience I don’t ever want to go through it is very scary to see that happening, I didn’t know what to do or how to help. I just thank God she is her normal self…….

Sep 21, 2018 Same thing
by: Veronica
My son does the same thing & it started as soon as he turned one. He’s had an EEG & an EKG done and the results come back fine. They gave him some iron supplements cause they said he had low iron & that that would prevent the fainting. It happened yesterday again. I want answers :-(

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Familia First

    Wooo I was so worried befor reading all of these ^^^ comments because my 20 month old baby does the same thing ..the 1st time it happend he was like 9 months and I was super scared and it has happend like 3 times after that and its really really starting to scare me…I didnt think it was so common..I told my friend about it and she said it could be some kind of seizue so that freaked me out even way more…should I take him to the E.R since his docter doesnt do anything about it….could it be harmful to his brain?

  2. Dee

    I’m so relieved to read this..my 14 month old son fell this morning..I didn’t see where he himself but I’m sure it was his head..I ran to him and he was just lying there looking like he was about to cry he let a cry out I picked him up and he went completely limp and closed his eyes..I lost it! Screamed at him to wake up and he started flickering his eyes two seconds later..I called ambulance becAuse I was freaked out and like story above by time paramedics left he was running around happy as..I was shaken for hours afterwards!