If your child cannot seem to get enough breath in his lungs (shortness of breath) or is having a hard time breathing, he probably has a medical condition that needs treatment. If your child is old enough to talk, he can tell you that he is having difficulty breathing. If your child is younger, you may notice that he is breathing harder or faster than usual, isn't feeding well, or is cranky. Seek emergency medical care immediately if your child is in severe distress -- no matter his age.
Answering the following questions in this Health Decision Guide will help you understand more about what usually causes shortness of breath in children, and help you know when you should contact your pediatrician for medical care. Please note, this guide is not meant to take the place of a visit to your pediatrician's office.