Thereâ€™s nothing more frightening than a child struggling to breathe. There are many causes of breathing problems in children: pneumonia, asthma, allergies and foreign objects, just to name a few.Â Whatever the cause, having your child evaluated and treated by a physician as quickly as possible is paramount to a positive outcome. How do you know when breathing problems in children are an emergency and when theyâ€™re not? Because symptoms range between subtle and obvious, itâ€™s sometimes difficult to tell.
Symptoms of Difficulty Breathing
A child with a cold will have different symptoms than a child with a foreign object stuck in their throat. Â Â Familiarizing yourself with a wide-range of symptoms will help you differentiate between mild symptoms and those that are life-threatening:1
When to Call 911
Itâ€™s always better to be safe than sorry. If youâ€™re not sure if your childâ€™s breathing problem is serious, no one will fault you for calling 911 if it turns out that itâ€™s not. There are some signs and symptoms of respiratory distress in children that should always warrant emergency medical attention. According to WebMD, call 911 if your child:2
What to Do While Waiting for the Ambulance
The most important thing in any medical emergency, especially when it involves a child, is to remain calm. If your child sees that youâ€™re upset, it will only increase their level of anxiety which may worsen their symptoms.
While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, implement the following steps:3
Breathing problems in children should always be taken seriously. For more tips on how to manage them, talk to your pediatrician.
Author: Deborah Leader RN, BSN, PHN