Mum's terrifying ordeal as baby stops breathing sparking 'new fear' among parents

A condition, known as BRUE, can be scary to parents (stock image)
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

A mum was left terrified after her baby girl suddenly stopped breathing in her cot.

Sarah Bendel was checking on her newborn daughter when she noticed the infant had turned red, was struggling to breathe and was frothing at the mouth. The terrified mother-of-three called out for her partner to dial 999 while she picked up her daughter.

Thankfully, the baby girl made a full recovery after Sarah learned she had suffered a BRUE episode – a brief resolved unexplained event when an infant's breathing, tone, colour, or level of responsiveness changes. A clip of the incident posted to TikTok amassed millions of views after Sarah shared the traumatic incident.

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Now children's medical adviser Doctor Yoshi has joined the effort, offering guidance about how to deal with such incidents on his TikTok page, @doctor_yoshi. Doctor Yoshi explained BRUE can result in an infant temporarily ceasing to breathe or displaying abnormal breathing.

It can also cause changes to their skin colour, making it look pale, blue or grey, and changes to muscle tone, causing stiffness or floppiness. The infant may also become unresponsive.

"These episodes can be alarming," he said. However, the US-based doctor added: "The good news is that most last less than a minute and don't indicate a serious problem. However others require more extensive evaluation to rule out heart, brain, and other conditions."

The doctor highlighted reflux is the most common cause of these episodes, leading to gagging. He advised: "The first step is to pick you baby up and give them some gentle pats on the back and check for responsiveness. If at any point your baby becomes unresponsive, start CPR and call emergency services."

He also recommended parents see a GP after a BRUE episode to rule out any underlying conditions. "To prevent future BRUEs follow safe sleep practices, he added. "Place your baby on their back to sleep, make sure there's no loose bedding in the crib and avoid overheating."

Reacting to Doctor Yoshi's video, one viewer said: "New fear unlocked." Another remarked: "As if having a baby isn't stressful enough." "Can't even imagine how traumatic this experience was for this poor mummy," another added.

A mum who revealed her son had a BRUE episode shared: "I turned him on his tummy and pat his back. It all came out his nose, he cried and I knew we were OK." Another parent said: "Our baby experienced a BRUE and it was the most terrifying thing I've ever witnessed. I can't help but worry it'll happen again."

An NHS spokesperson advised: "If your baby experiences another BRUE and you are worried that it is life threatening, call 999 for an ambulance. If you witness a similar episode or your baby develops additional problems please return to the Children's Emergency Department."

For more information visit the NHS website.