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Brue (Brief Resolved Unexplained Event)

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jan 5, 2023.

A BRUE 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 or her healthcare providers may want to observe him or her in the hospital to see if he or she has another BRUE. You will need to continue to watch for any breathing problems after you take your baby home.


Call 911 if:

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

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

Tell the provider 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 or she was awake, were his or her eyes open or closed?
  • What position was your baby in when the BRUE happened? Did he or she become limp? Did his or her arms and legs shake? Were his or her eyes rolling?
  • What color changes did you notice? For example, did your baby become pale or blue? Did his or her face turn red?
  • Did your baby start breathing on his or her own, or did he or she need help? Describe what was done to make the baby breathe.
  • Did your baby make any noises? For example, did he or she grunt or wheeze? Did he or she cry or whimper?
  • When did your baby last breastfeed, eat, or drink formula? Did he or she choke or gag during the feeding? Did you see any milk or blood in his or her mouth or nose?
  • Has your baby received any medicine? Is it possible he or she accidently swallowed medicine or other substance?

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

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 or her 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 or her to respond. Your baby may respond to someone rubbing his or her back or feet. He or she may respond to his or her name spoken loudly. If he or she 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 or her often during a feeding. Keep your baby upright for a time after he or she finishes. Do not lay him or her down right after a feeding.
  • Make sleep time safe. Always lay your baby on his or her back to sleep. Make sure his or her crib has a firm mattress.
    Back to Sleep
  • Do not smoke around your baby. Do not let anyone else smoke around him or her.

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

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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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.