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Brief resolved unexplained event (BRUE)

What is a brief resolved unexplained event?

A brief resolved unexplained event, or ‘BRUE’, is a condition that affects children under 12 months old.

A BRUE can be a very frightening experience for parents. During a BRUE your baby may:

  • change colour (pale, grey or blue)
  • look like they stop breathing or breath differently
  • become floppy or stiff
  • become less responsive

Afterwards, they return to normal and seem fine again. These episodes can happen to about 1 in 200 babies.

Is there something wrong?

No, BRUE episodes can happen to otherwise healthy babies. A healthcare professional will have assessed your baby and will have decided that they are healthy and that no concerning cause for the event can be found.

Babies who are discharged from hospital after a thorough assessment are at very low risk of having another BRUE, or of having an underlying serious problem

What do I do after discharge?

You should continue care for your baby as you normally do.

In general it is important to ensure your baby keeps up to date with immunisations, attend their health checks, is not exposed to smoky environments and you maintain safe sleeping practice.

Advice for safe sleep for babies can be found here: The best sleeping position for your baby – The Lullaby Trust

What to do if it happens again?

If your baby becomes floppy, unresponsive or you are worried they are not breathing normally call 999 for an ambulance.

If your baby has another episode but recovers quickly you should still come to the Emergency Department. Having a second episode may mean that more tests need to be done in hospital.

Advice on sleeping and stopping smoking

It is important to have a safe sleeping environment for your baby and they should never be exposed to smoky environments.

Please see the links below or talk to your midwife, health visitor or GP for further information:

Though your baby is not likely to need it , it is a good idea for everyone who cares for an infant to learn CPR.

Find more advice on first aid and courses here:

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Please note this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s. The details in this resource may not necessarily reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If you have specific questions about how this resource relates to your child, please ask your doctor.

Resource number: ED56

Resource Type: Article

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