Chest Pain in Children

Basics of Chest Pain

Unlike adults, chest pain in children is rarely a sign of serious heart trouble. Its symptoms differ widely, depending on the cause.

Causes of Chest Pain

Children can experience chest pain due to many things, from asthma to a pulled muscle. One of the most common causes of children’s chest pain is a harmless condition called costochondritis, the painful inflammation of the cartilage that attaches the ribs to the breastbone (sternum). It can cause a sharp, stabbing pain that a parent may fear is a symptom of a heart attack or heart condition. (It might ease a parent’s mind to know children very rarely suffer from heart attacks.)

Symptoms of Chest Pain

A child may experience chest pain in many different ways, depending on the cause. Common symptoms include:

  • Tightness
  • Discomfort
  • Burning sensation
  • Pain when taking deep breaths
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing

Treatment for Chest Pain

It’s important that a parent call a child’s physician if the child is suffering from continual chest pain. Parents should seek emergency care by calling 9-1-1 if the child’s chest pain is accompanied by:

  • Trouble breathing or rapid breathing
  • A racing heart or heart palpitations (fluttering)
  • Pressure in the chest
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Blue or gray color around the lips
  • Exercise or exertion