Signs of breathing problems in children
When should I call 999 about my child's breathing?
Call 999 now if your child has any of these breathing-related symptoms.
If you’re worried about your child's breathing, and afraid your child is becoming very ill right now, it’s vital to act quickly. Your child may need urgent treatment.
- Your child has severe breathing difficulties or is exhausted from trying to breathe.
- You can see the muscles under their ribs sucking in with each breath.
- Your child is grunting with the effort of trying to breathe.
- Your child is breathing fast:
- more than 50 breaths per minute for infants (2-11 months).
- more than 40 breaths per minute for children (12-59 months).
- You're unable to wake your child or, if woken up, they are very drowsy and don't stay awake.
- Your child’s breathing stops for more than 10 seconds at a time, or there are regular shorter pauses in their breathing of 5-10 seconds while they are awake.
- Your child’s skin turns very pale or blue, or the inside of their lips and tongue are blue.
- Your child has had or is having a fit, and has never had one before.