Wheezing and breathing difficulties

Look at the signs


Any kind of breathing difficulty your infant or child experiences can be scary for parents. It may be nothing to worry about and could just be normal baby 'snuffles'.

Use your instincts with newborns and babies. It could be:

  • Rapid breathing or panting, which is common. There is no other sign of illness, it comes and goes and your baby is breathing comfortably most of the time, there's normally no need to worry.
  • Breathing may sound a bit rattly. Try holding your baby upright.
  • Occasional, coughing or choking which may occur when a baby takes in milk too quickly with feeds. Try to slow things down a bit. Check feeding position.
  • A cold or mild cough. Keep an eye on them at this stage and use your instincts. If you are worried talk to your Health Visitor or call NHS 111.

In older babies and toddlers you may notice:

  • Coughing, runny nose, mild temperature - (see Coughs & colds).
  • On-going Croup (hoarse voice, barking cough) needs to be assessed by a Doctor and may need further treatment. Mild Croup can be treated at home. Try junior Paracetamol if your child is in discomfort or distress, give lots of water to drink and allow them to breathe in steam from a hot bowl of water or bath (with supervision).

If you are worried even after reading this, contact your GP or call 999 immediately.

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Source NHS Choices - Symptoms of Bronchiolitis