Holding Breath Underwater

If you’ve heard that very young children can hold their breath underwater, you need to know that this only applies to newborns—NOT toddlers.

Instinctive breath-holding is true only for babies for a very short period, just after they are born. The instinct disappears sometime after the child learns to use his lungs to breathe air, though there is no research that says when.

Submerging a toddler who does not know how to hold his breath can cause him to swallow or inhale water, both of which can be frightening and dangerous.

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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