Do Toddlers Hold Their Breath Underwater?

Toddlers can enjoy holding their breath underwater when it is simple and straightforward. It is wonderful. It is only fair to acknowledge that there are tears and fears along the way. In return, however, the rewards and health benefits are enormous. The three-phase approach below – dry land, above water, and below water – has shown great success in combination with instruction and practice. 

Students learn about safety and set age-appropriate and student-specific goals through sensational lessons. When you see your child submerged for the first time, it is normal to feel a little uncomfortable and scared. I have observed, however, that when they first learn to breathe under the water, that is the time when we are most attentive. 

This makes them safe in the beginning. In the end, when they are relaxed and have no fear of going underwater, we are also relaxed. When we need to be diligent at that time, we need to be consciously engaged. Here’s a reminder, and I’ll repeat it at the end.

What happens during breath-holding?

Breathing-holding may cause your child to:

  • Their skin turns blue or gray
  • They have a jerking sensation
  • They faint for a minute or two
  • Hold their breath while crying and then remain silent
  • Until they scream (leaving their mouth open but not making a sound)

After the procedure, your child might feel sleepy or confused for a few hours.

Do’s and Don’ts when a child has a breath-holding

  • Do not panic – it will pass in less than a minute
  • Please keep your child on their side and avoid picking them up
  • Stay if they’re experiencing difficulty
  • Watch them, so they don’t hurt themselves.
  • Be sure they’re reassured, and be sure they’re getting plenty of rest afterward.
  • Splashing water or shaking your child is bad for them
  • You should also avoid putting anything in their mouth (including fingers).
  • CPR or mouth-to-mouth resuscitation are not recommended.
  • They are doing it accidentally; you should not confront them.

How to Handle a Breath-Holding

When a breath-holding incident occurs, it’s critical to handle it properly. Similarly, if you make a big deal out of your child’s behavior, they are more likely to repeat the behavior. Throwing tantrums and holding her breath seems to get her what she wants, so she may deliberately decide to do these things. It is possible to startle your child by clapping or shouting, although it is not always practical. 

Many parents have found that putting a cold washcloth over their child’s face will allow them to breathe again. There’s nothing harm in using one that you have on hand. But if you have to go for one, your child will likely be breathing again once you return. In order to avoid hurting your child when facing a breath-holding attack, you should make sure that they don’t get injured. If possible, place her on the floor so she will not fall if she passes out. Likewise, remove any objects that could be dangerous if she falls. 

There is little chance of a child sustaining a severe injury by holding their breath. The breaths they contain are not long enough to cause brain damage because once they pass out and begin breathing again, it will be too late for them to suffer any damage. Try to remain calm if your child appears to be holding their breath. Keeping the behaviour isolated will make it less likely to become a regular occurrence, and your child will outgrow it sooner.

So how did you assist your toddler in learning to hold her breath in the water? You model deep breathing on dry land by practicing breathing intensely into your belly and then controlling how it is released. Having puffed up your squirrel cheeks, you left them feeling your stomach fill with air as you stood above the water. When you held, you counted 1-2-3, and when you let go, you counted 1-2-3. It was your job to lead them through those hold and release exercises. 

While your pig snorted and alligators snuck just below the surface, you watched as they crept beneath the surface with only your eyes exposed. This time you took your child below your lap rather than holding them in your lap. This helped you help your child work through their fear and resistance. It was as if you duck dived together. When they got water in their mouths, you asked them if they got wet. They said how they felt about experiencing the water.

Children can practice 

Holding their breath with these Games.

From the moment he or she starts taking swimming lessons at our Gilbert swim school, your child will learn to hold their breath underwater. Their safety and comfort are impacted by this skill, which will help them grow into independent, strong swimmers. Your child will learn how to hold their breath through EVO’s Otter classes taught by our expert instructors. As with any other educational endeavor, the best swimmers are the ones who have practiced outside of the classroom. Once you take your child home after swimming lessons, play a few of these games to let them practice what they have learned.

Bathtub play: Pour a lot of water over your toddler’s head when in the bath. In the process, they learn how to hold their breath and become accustomed to having water sprayed in their face simultaneously. Before you pour the water, count to three to let them know it’s time to breathe deeply and pucker up!

Bubble blowing: Make bubbles and allow them to blow them. It will enable them to practice breath control while their mouth is underwater and learn how to expel air.

Eyes wet: You can test your child’s endurance in the tub or pool by keeping their eyes moist for as long as possible. Place their face in the water and keep it there for as long as they can. Start with 5 seconds of shooting (ensuring you allow them to breathe before becoming scared or uncomfortable), then gradually work your way up to 10 seconds.

Submerge intervals: Submerge your child under the water in the tub or pool by counting out loud to three, and just as soon as they are entirely submerged. Keep doing this for between 5 to 10 seconds at a time. By holding their breath, breathing, and then having their breath again many times in a row, they learn how to hold their breath. You can start by submerging them once, then increase the number until they are comfortable doing it up to ten times in a row.

FAQs on Toddlers Hold Their Breath Underwater

Do toddlers naturally hold their breath underwater?

A diving reflex in children lets them breathe underwater almost automatically. When they hold their breath automatically, it encourages them to breathe heavily. Take a moment and imagine for a moment you are underwater for the first time.

Is it common for toddlers to hold their breath?

Holding your breath might seem strange, but it happens pretty often to toddlers – and it will probably scare you more than it will harm him. If he exhibits such behaviour, the best thing you can do for him is to make sure he is safe, keep him lying down on his side, and stay calm.

How long can a baby hold their breath underwater?

Is a baby able to hold his breath underwater? Babies are known to hold their breath underwater, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you. Babies younger than 6 months old can hold their breath underwater for a minute.

How do I teach my 18-month-old underwater?

Your child must be held horizontally in the water so that the water does not enter their nose (this can sting). Submerge your baby as soon as their eyes are shut, and you can see their face and use a verbal cue. Move with them as you submerge, and lift on the word under.


If you decide to go swimming with your baby one day, you won’t have to worry about anything! Despite having swimming abilities, you should not abandon all precautions just because your baby is able to swim. I hope this article has clarified any doubts you may have had about babies holding their breath underwater.

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