Fun & Easy Science for Kids
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Hiccups. They’re loud, embarrassing, and mildly uncomfortable. We have no control over them and they can happen anytime, anywhere. But what causes them?


Fun Facts

  • Hiccups happen when the diaphragm – the dome-shaped muscle beneath the lungs – suddenly contracts.
  • “Singultus” is the scientific name for hiccups. This word is Latin for “to catch one’s breath while crying.”
  • All humans hiccup. Even unborn babies have been observed with the hiccups. Babies tend to get hiccups more often than adults.
  • Dogs, cats, rats, and horses can get the hiccups. Almost all mammals get the hiccups.
  • Scientists aren’t sure why hiccups happen. They don’t seem to serve a purpose. Hiccups seem to be similar to the spasms that push water through amphibians’ gills while closing off their lungs.
  • Hiccups occur more frequently after drinking soda. They can also happen when you eat or drink something too quickly.
  • Hiccups usually go away on their own, but occasionally people can hiccup for hours, days, or even years. The longest case of hiccups lasted from 1922 to 1990. Charles Osborne had hiccups for more than 60 years. They stopped one year before he died. He was 96-years-old. Long-lasting hiccups are often a sign of serious disease.



  1. Latin: an old language from which most scientific words come
  2. Spasm: an involuntary jerk


Questions and Answers

Question: How can I get rid of hiccups?

Answer: There’s no one proven way but you could try a folk remedy like breathing in and out through a paper bag, holding your breath, eating a spoonful of peanut butter, or taking slow, deep breaths.


Learn More

Watch a video about one possible cure for the hiccups.



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Declan, Tobin. " What Causes Hiccups? Fun Facts for Kids ." Easy Science for Kids, Aug 2020. Web. 14 Aug 2020. < >.

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