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MLA Full: "Why Can It Be Hard to Breathe After a Fall? | Biology for Kids." YouTube, uploaded by SciShow Kids, 29 November 2018,
MLA Inline: (SciShow Kids, 2018)
APA Full: SciShow Kids. (2018, November 29). Why Can It Be Hard to Breathe After a Fall? | Biology for Kids [Video]. YouTube.
APA Inline: (SciShow Kids, 2018)
Chicago Full: SciShow Kids, "Why Can It Be Hard to Breathe After a Fall? | Biology for Kids.", November 29, 2018, YouTube, 03:16,
Have you ever fallen down and had trouble catching your breath? That's called "getting winded" and Jessi and Squeaks are here to explain what to do when it happens.

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[ intro ].

Whew! Made it!

Squeaks and I raced allll the way down here! He won, but I finally caught up. And now we’re both kind of out of breath, huh?

That happens sometimes when you’ve been moving a lot, like if you’re running around. Your body needs more air to keep your muscles pumping, so you start breathing in and out very fast! Sometimes people call being out of breath like that “getting winded.” But other times, when they say “getting winded,” they mean something different: getting the wind knocked out of them.

That’s when the air gets pushed out of someone’s lungs very suddenly and it becomes hard for them to breathe for a minute or two. Most of the time it happens because the person fell down and landed on their back, like at the playground, or they were playing sports and a ball accidentally hit them in the stomach. It happened to me once while I was diving for a catch in softball.

It can be a little scary to have trouble breathing for a minute, but getting the wind knocked out of you isn’t dangerous, and it goes away pretty soon. The muscles the person uses to breathe just get a little shock, and it takes them a minute to start moving normally again. You can actually feel these muscles for yourself!

Try taking a deep breath. Do you feel how your chest and stomach rise and fall? Now let’s try it again, but this time we’ll put a hand just above our stomachs, right under the bones in our rib cages.

Those are the bones around your lungs in your chest. Right there, where you put your hand, is where your diaphragm is. That’s the main muscle we use to breathe.

When we breathe in, it moves down, making our lungs expand and open up so the air rushes in. Then, when we breathe out, it moves up again, making our lungs smaller and pushing the air back out. When someone falls backwards or a ball hits them in the stomach, this muscle gets a big, sudden shock that it wasn’t expecting.

That can make it clench really hard for a minute. Try clenching your fist, like this. It’s pretty hard to pull open your fingers when you’re doing that, right?

Well, when someone gets the wind knocked out of them and their diaphragm clenches, it can’t move very easily, either. And that makes it hard to breathe. Pretty soon, though, the muscle starts to relax again, and they go back to breathing normally.

I learned about all this when I dove for that softball, and the fall knocked the wind out of me. And I also learned that there were some things I could do to help my diaphragm relax faster. Pulling my knees up to my body helped, and so did breathing slowly, instead of trying to pant quickly.

I breathed in through my nose and out through my mouth, and pretty soon the feeling went away. And once I understood more about what was happening and how to help it go away faster, the next time I got winded wasn’t so scary! It’s always important to tell a grownup if you fall or get hurt.

But when we learn more about how our bodies work, it can help us know what to do to feel better faster. Thanks for joining us! Do you have questions about breathing, or your body, or anything at all?

We have a website where you can send them to us! Just ask a grown-up to help you go to to check it out. We’ll see you next time, here at the Fort! [ outro ].