The 4 subtle signs your baby is struggling to breathe – and when to get your little one help | The Sun

IF your little one is struggling to draw breath, it's often a sign they need prompt medical attention.

But it can be hard to know when to act due to the face symptoms caused by breathing difficulties can be subtle.

Ex-paramedic Nikki Jurcutz, who's behind the baby and child first aid Instagram page Tiny Hearts Education, shared four key signs that indicate your little one is struggling to breathe.

What you need to look at for is something called retractions, she said in a recent post.

They're a telltale sign that your baby is in respiratory distress and could be having difficulty drawing enough air into their lungs, making their body work harder.

If you're seeing a sucking motion under your tot's ribs or the base of their throat, it means their body is trying to help by using extra muscles to pull more air in, Nikki said.

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Their breathing will also sound different too, as your baby might be making a grunting or wheezing sound.

There are four different kind of retractions to keep your eyes peeled for, and four different spots on your little one's body to keep an eye on.

They include:

  1. tracheal retractions – a tugging at the base of their throat
  2. intercostal retractions – tugging between ribs
  3. substernal retractions – tugging just bellow the centre of your little one's chest
  4. subcostal retractions – tugging at the bottom of the ribs

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Tugging means you'll basically be able to see a sucking motion with each of your little one's breaths, as if their body is caving inwards in these specific spots.

The signs of laboured breathing can be subtle and sometimes hard to spot.

But Nikki suggested a nifty trick to help you distinguish them quickly.

She suggested taking a 30-second video of your little one breathing normally when they are healthy and well, in order to have a point of comparison.

That way you can easily refer to it when you think your child is having difficulty breathing properly.

"This way you can easily tell whether your child's breathing has changed or not when they are sick," the ex-paramedic said.

Asthma + Lung UK recommended you call 999 if your child has any of the following breathing-related symptoms:

  • Your child is having severe difficulty breathing
  • Your child is grunting with the effort of trying to breathe, their nostrils may flare in and out and they may be pursing their lips
  • The muscles under their ribs are sucking in with each breath
  • Fast breathing
  • Your child won’t wake up, or won’t stay awake
  • Your child’s breathing stops for 20 seconds or longer on one occasion, or there are regular shorter pauses in their breathing
  • They have very pale or blue skin, or the inside of their lips and tongue are blue
  • Fitting, if they have never had a fit before

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