Brief Resolved Unexplained Event (BRUE)

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A Brief Resolved Unexplained Event (BRUE) happens suddenly and can be scary for parents and caregivers. When a BRUE occurs, babies may seem to stop breathing. Their skin color may change to pale or blue. Their muscles may relax or tighten. They may seem to pass out. After a brief period of time they recover, with or without any medical help, and are soon back to normal. 


BRUE is a diagnosis made after the care team has examined your baby and determined that there was no known concerning cause for the event. Though we can never say that a baby who has had a BRUE is at no risk for future problems, we can say that babies are at lower risk if:

  • They are older than 60 days.
  • They were born on time (not premature).
  • They did not need cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) by a health care professional.
  • The BRUE lasted less than 1 minute.
  • This was the baby’s only such event.

If this should happen again, or your baby develops more problems, contact the baby’s doctor or health care team. The doctor may decide to have your baby come back for another visit.

Signs and Symptoms

In a baby less than one year old, the following are common signs of a BRUE:

  • Pale or blue skin
  • No breathing, decreased breathing, or irregular breathing
  • Tight or very relaxed, limp muscles
  • Baby appears more sleepy

What to Do or Watch for at Home

At home, these things are important:

  • Safe sleep practices (see Helping Hand HH-IV-69, Safe Sleep Practices for Babies)
  • Avoid exposure to any tobacco (cigarette, cigar or pipe) smoke
  • If your baby has another BRUE, and you are concerned that it could be life-threatening, call 911 or your local emergency numbers. Otherwise, call your baby’s doctor to report the event.

Activity and Diet

Continue to feed your child as recommended by his or her physician or health care team. We sometimes recommend that parents feed less food at a time, but feed more often, and practice reflux precautions. This is up to your child’s doctor according to the child’s own needs.

Follow-Up Appointments

Please schedule a follow-up appointment with your child’s primary care physician within 48 hours after a BRUE.

Remember to take your baby to regular well-child visits to help keep him or her healthy and safe.

Write down all your questions as you think of them. Bring this list with you when you see your child’s doctor. Be sure to call the doctor’s office if you cannot keep the appointment.

Brief Resolved Unexplained Event (BRUE) (PDF)

HH-I-429 12/19 | Copyright 2019, Nationwide Children’s Hospital