KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Adults aren’t the only ones who complain frequently of chest pains.

Children with chest pains are often rushed to the emergency by concerned parents. The good news is chest pains in children are RARELY serious. However, it’s still something that should be checked out.

Dr. Katy Stordahl with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital identifies some common causes and what parents should do when their child has chest pains.

Do you see chest pains often at Children’s Hospital? 

Yes, we see kids complaining of chest pains regularly.

Some of the signs and symptoms

  • Tightness
  • Discomfort
  • Burning sensation
  • Pain when taking deep breaths

Common causes of chest pain 

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

When should your child be rushed to the ER? 

While sudden cardiac arrest isn’t common, it does happen to children. Those that have a certain family history of genetic heart problems are at greater risk.


Ways to prevent chest pains include: regular physicals, routine immunizations to prevent infection, avoidance of foods known to cause indigestion, and know your family history.

There are usually no warning signs for sudden cardiac arrest. It is important to know CPR and act quickly if you notice warning signs.

Many schools and other public places have Automated External Defibrillators 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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