Who is affected by breath-holding spells

Up to 5% of all children have breath-holding spells.1 Breath-holding spells can occur in children between the ages of 6 months and 6 years. They are most common from 1 to 3 years of age.

The tendency to have breath-holding spells may run in families.2


  1. Goldson E, Reynolds A (2007). Temper tantrums and breath-holding spells section of Child development and behavior. In WW Hay Jr et al., eds., Current Pediatric Diagnosis and Treatment, 18th ed., chap. 2, pp. 90–92. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  2. Nordli DR, et al. (2003). Syncope section of Nonepileptic paroxysmal disorders. In CD Rudolph, AM Rudolph, eds., Rudolph's Pediatrics, 21st ed., pp. 2274. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Last Updated: May 5, 2008

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