The causes of a young child often taking deep breaths while at rest range from perfectly benign to conditions that require medical intervention.

“Children often have periods of shallow breathing,” says Dr. Lisa Lewis, MD, a board certified pediatrician in Fort Worth, Texas, and author of “Feed the Baby Hummus, Pediatrician-Backed Secrets from Cultures Around the World.”

“To compensate, the brain sends a signal for the child to take a deep breath to ensure the lungs are fully oxygenated,” continues Dr. Lewis.

“Often, if a child is tired or bored, he may take a deep breath that ends in a resulting audible sigh.

“Deep breaths at rest as a common daily complaint should have an examination by the doctor to ensure the lungs sound clear.

“Frequent deep breaths at rest accompanied with fast or difficulty breathing should be seen promptly in the emergency department, as this could be a sign of illness such as asthma or lung infection.”

Dr. Lewis has been a practicing pediatrician for 25+ years. She completed her pediatrics residency at Texas A&M University Health Science Center, Scott and White Memorial Hospital where she served as chief resident.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.