Mum shares horrifying video of 18-month-old son struggling to breathe

Every parent needs to see this.

Mum Kristy Ann Pascall has filmed her son in breathing distress as a warning to other parents.There are few things that could be more frightening for a parent than watching their child in acute respiratory distress . Adelaide mum Kirsty-Ann Pascall experienced this terrifying reality when she took these videos of her 18-month-old son Zac struggling to breathe while they waited for him to be transferred to ICU .It began when Kirsty-Ann arrived to pick up her 18-month-old son Zac from his dad’s place at 4pm.

“When I got there I noticed he was breathing funny and he was really using his shoulders to push his breath out,” Kirsty-Ann remembers. She raced Zac into the car.

“By the time we got to the hospital it was 5pm and he was struggling even more,” she says.

Zac was rushed straight to emergency and put on a drip.

“My poor boy barely fought them while they were putting the drip in. He was so tired and had no energy. He was falling asleep and could barely even cry,” says Kirsty-Ann.

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breatheKirsty-Ann's fast thinking saved Zac. Picture: Supplied.

Two nights in ICU

Doctors decided to transport him to a specialist children’s hospital where he spent two nights in ICU and then a further two nights on the ward taking antibiotics and steroids. Mercifully Zac recovered, but only because his mum acted so fast.Rachael Waia, the co-founder and national training manager of Tiny Hearts First Aid, says that Zac’s respiratory illness is a particularly severe example.

“All three videos demonstrate what we call ‘increased work of breathing’,” she explains. She says parents should be alert to the telltale symptoms of acute respiratory distress that Zac is displaying: His belly is pulling in between his breastbone, an action called a ‘super-sternal retraction’. The notch in his neck where his collarbones and shoulders are pulling up, is known as ‘tracheal tugging’. And his ribs are sucking in and his belly is expanding, which is what is known as an ‘intercostal retraction’.

zac

Poor little Zac was not getting enough oxygen. Picture: Supplied.

Staying calm is crucial

If your child has these symptoms, Waia says, the best course of action is to call 000.

“At the same time, sit them upright to open their airway and talk in calm, reassuring tones.”

Other symptoms to look out for, especially in very young children include rapid breathing and nasal flaring. Young babies may also experience a ‘bobble head’ effect as they struggle to take in air.

Respiratory distress in children is usually caused by a viral infection that may progress to croup, asthma, pneumonia or bronchiolitis.

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“All of these conditions present in a very similar way, which is why it’s best to call Triple-0. Severe respiratory episodes can be fatal,” Waia says, “So it’s always better to escalate than not.”

zac

Zac thankfully fully recovered from his breathing distress. Photo: Supplied.

What to do if your child is in respiratory distress:

Sit them upright

Talk in calm tones

Stay with them to minimise their panic

Call 000

Taking a first aid course for babies and infants will help you respond in the best way for your child in an emergency and may even save their life. Contact Tiny Hearts for information about first aid courses in your ask your local GP.