Like it or not, dealing with toddler tantrums are part and parcel of raising your kids. It’s how they show us they’re upset or frustrated. And as we know, they usually happen when they’re tired, hungry or having a meltdown because they can’t get something they want, like a sweet or a toy.
But for one little girl, it’s a red flag for her parents that she could go into cardiac arrest.
According to a report , when 3-year-old Charlie Drinkwater “throws a wobbly and holds her breath” it triggers a potentially deadly sequence of events. This is because of “a string of health conditions affecting her, including Chiari malformation, where brain tissue extends into the spinal canal, creating serious implications for the respiratory system and heart.”
According to her parents, Rebecca Barrow and Andrew Drinkwater who live in the UK, they live in constant fear that she’ll have a tantrum that could kill her. Apparently, they have to perform CPR on her at least once a week when she “has a wobbly.”
Rebecca, who is Charlie’s full-time carer, says “it usually starts with a typical toddler tantrum, where she’ll hold her breath. But unlike other toddlers her age, whose brains will kick in and force them to breathe, hers doesn’t and she’ll go into respiratory or cardiac arrest.”
When this happens, Rebecca and Andrew have been trained to either pump air into her lungs with a self-inflating resuscitator (if it’s respiratory arrest), or they have to perform CPR with chest compressions (if it’s cardiac arrest.).
According to her parents, the toddler usually bounces back really quickly, but it’s still frightening each time. And there have also been a few close shaves when they’ve had to call the emergency response.
Charlie who has some intellectual impairment and is “mentally around 18 months” has had 11 operations to help her breathe and relieve her symptoms since her birth in 2017.
Her parents hope she’ll grow out of these episodes – as they’re usually brought on by a tantrum.
Content editor and writer on Living & Loving, Sonya has over 25 years experience in the media industry. She edited Living & Loving magazine for six-and-a-half years and is the former editor of Longevity magazine. She’s won numerous media industry awards and is passionate about the health and wellbeing of moms and children.
Outside of work, she enjoys trying out recipes, reading crime mysteries and thrillers, practicing yoga, and exploring new destinations.
Learn more about Sonya Naudé.