Skip to main content

Brue (Brief Resolved Unexplained Event)



is when your baby suddenly stops breathing and will not respond. The event can be very frightening to the person who sees it. A BRUE may end quickly and not cause serious problems. It may be a sign of a medical problem that needs to be treated. His healthcare providers may want to observe him in the hospital to see if he has another BRUE. You will need to continue to watch for any breathing problems after you take your baby home.

Common signs and symptoms:

  • Apnea (periods of not breathing), trouble breathing, or fast breathing
  • Limp or stiff muscles
  • Being irritable or jittery, or not responding to someone who touches or talks to him
  • Shaking or tremors in his arms or legs
  • Feeding problems, vomiting, or having milk in his nose or mouth
  • Blue or pale skin, or a red face
  • Choking or gagging
  • Eyes that roll or stare without seeming to see anything

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • Your baby stops breathing and you cannot get him to breathe.
  • Your baby's throat or mouth swells, a rash spreads over his body, or he has hives.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your baby has another BRUE.
  • Your baby's skin or fingernails turn blue.
  • Your baby has trouble breathing.

Contact your baby's healthcare provider if:

  • You have questions or concerns about your baby's condition or care.

Treatment for BRUE

may include medicines to treat a bacterial infection or to control seizures. The cause of your baby's BRUE may need to be treated in the hospital.

What to tell your baby's healthcare provider about the BRUE:

Tell him as many details about the BRUE as possible:

  • When and where did the BRUE happen?
  • How long did the BRUE last? Panic can make it difficult to know how long the BRUE lasted. Even a few seconds can seem like a long time. Tell the healthcare provider anything you remember about how long the BRUE lasted.
  • What happened just before the BRUE? Was your baby awake or asleep? If he was awake, were his eyes open or closed?
  • What position was your baby in when the BRUE happened? Did he become limp? Did his arms and legs shake? Were his eyes rolling?
  • What color changes did you notice? For example, did your baby become pale or blue? Did his face turn red?
  • Did your baby start breathing on his own, or did he need help? Describe what was done to make the baby breathe.
  • Did your baby make any noises? For example, did he grunt or wheeze? Did he cry or whimper?
  • When did your baby last breastfeed, eat, or drink formula? Did he choke or gag during the feeding? Did you see any milk or blood in his mouth or nose?
  • Has your baby received any medicine? Is it possible he accidently swallowed medicine or other substance?

Manage a BRUE:

  • Do not shake your baby during or after a BRUE. It is important to stay calm and not panic. Panic could lead to shaking the baby to make him breathe. This can cause shaken baby syndrome (also called abusive head trauma). The shaking can cause permanent brain damage or blindness.
  • Try to get him to respond. Your baby may respond to someone rubbing his back or feet. He may respond to his name spoken loudly. If he still does not start breathing after these methods, call 911 .
  • Learn infant CPR. All of your baby's caregivers may want to learn infant CPR. Your healthcare provider can give you information on classes you can take. Infant CPR is different from adult CPR. You will need to take an infant CPR course even if you already know adult CPR. Ask for more information on infant and child CPR.

Prevent a BRUE:

A BRUE happens suddenly. This makes prevention difficult, but the following can help reduce your baby's risk:

  • Prevent feeding problems. Feed your baby small amounts at a time. Burp him often during a feeding. Keep him upright for a time after he finishes. Do not lay him down right after a feeding.
  • Make sleep time safe. Always lay him on his back to sleep. Make sure his crib has a firm mattress.
    Back to Sleep
  • Do not smoke around your baby. Do not let anyone else smoke around him.

Follow up with your baby's healthcare provider as directed:

Take your baby in as soon as possible. The cause of his BRUE may need to be treated.

Ā© Copyright IBM Corporation 2021 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotesĀ® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.