When should you worry a child’s chest pain?

Caring For Our Kids

Adults aren’t the only ones who complain frequently of chest pains. Often, children with chest pains are rushed to the doctor or emergency room by parents fearing the worst, but the good news is chest pain in children is rarely serious.

It’s still something that should be checked out by a pediatrician. Dr. David Hurst, a cardiologist with Children’s Hospital, says the signs and symptoms can include, but are not limited to, tightness, discomfort, a burning sensation and pain when taking deep breaths.

Common causes include asthma; injury to muscle or bones of the chest wall, which can be caused by things like lifting heavy weights, getting hit hard in the chest or even coughing; inflammation of the “joint” between the breastbone and ribs; stress and anxiety; or even acid reflux.

While sudden cardiac arrest isn’t common, it does happen to children, particularly those who have a family history of genetic heart problems are at greater risks.

Prevention includes regular physicals, routine immunizations to prevent infection, avoiding foods known to cause indigestion, and knowing your family history.

Many schools and other public places have Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) to use in case of sudden cardiac arrest. It’s important that staff know where to find them and how to use them properly.

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