Many parents have had their child faint at least once. One second, they appear healthy and upbeat. Then suddenly they look a little off, and down they go.
Some kids know ahead of time when they might pass out and report dizziness, weakness, head spinning, or feeling sick. Others drop without warning.
While fainting can be a symptom of a bigger cardiovascular problem that may need additional workup, the top five causes are easy to fix.
A person can pass out when they have a drop in blood pressure, reducing blood flow to the brain. Kids will often go and go without stopping to hydrate, until it is too late.
They may not even realize they are thirsty, or that they have been sweating while playing or in sports practice. Making sure that the children stop to drink water or other sugar-free, caffeine-free liquids on a regular basis can make a huge difference.
2) Low blood sugar
Kids may skip meals, forget to eat, miss their snack, or grab something small on the fly and be out the door before any adult has realized there is nothing nutrition and wholesome in their belly. At school they may pick at their lunch, skip it all together, only eat the dessert, or load up on sugar and carbohydrates that can cause blood sugar issues.
As a result, children may start to feel faint and dizzy, as their body struggles with the lack of nutrients available. If we explain to children the importance of eating healthy food regularly, they can hopefully avoid feeling weak and passing out.
3) Becoming over-heated
Much like some adults, some kids faint when they are too hot. Hot baths or showers, hot days, crowded rooms or events, and hot cars, can induce a drop in blood pressure and cause them to feel sick or pass out.
Be aware of your surroundings, and check in with your child about how they are feeling, or if they start to look sweaty and red-faced. They may require fresh air, a cold drink, and food to help them improve.
Sometimes when kids are over-excited or scared, they begin to hyperventilate which induces a dizzy sensation, and then they may pass out. Helping them to slow their breathing while staying calm can help improve the situation.
5) Iron deficiency
Children who do not eat a whole-foods healthy diet, or who consume too much cow’s milk, may be at risk for iron deficiency which can cause dizziness, fatigue and fainting. Iron is found in leafy greens and meat, but is blocked in the intestines by dairy products, according to the National Institutes of Health. If kids have a high-carbohydrate, high dairy-product diet, they may not be getting or absorbing enough iron.
If you have made these adjustments and your child still continues to pass out, please do not hesitate to talk with your health care provider today.
1) The Children’s Hospital of Phildelphia. (2015). Fainting (Syncope). Retrieved Aug. 23, 2015 from
2) Ozdemir, N. (2015). Iron deficiency anemia for diagnosis to treatment in children. Retrieved Aug. 23, 2015 from
3) Iron. Medline Plus. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved Aug. 23, 2015 from
Reviewed August 24, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith