Can Snoring Occur in Children and Can They Develop Sleep Apnea?
Snoring occurs in almost half of adults, but did you know it can also occur in children? In fact, it is estimated that up to 27% of children experience minor or occasional snoring and can start in children as young as two years old! It is not a major health concern for many children, but it can be serious for kids experiencing frequent or heavy snoring.
What Causes Snoring in Children?
Snoring happens when the air cannot freely move through your airways, which causes vibrations and noise. Occasional snoring is not much cause for concern, but there are things in your child’s environment that may cause snoring that is concerning. Some causes of snoring in children include:
• Cold & Flu-Like Symptoms
• Exposure to Tobacco Smoke
• Obstructive Sleep Apnea
• Poor Air Quality
• Swollen Tonsils
What are the Dangers of Snoring in Children?
Frequent or harmful snoring in children can be cause for concern because it can cause serious developmental issues. Children need plenty of sleep when they are young because their brains and their bodies are still forming. Long-term poor sleep quality can lead to negative effects on a child’s physical and mental health as well as their learning capabilities and behavior.
If a child is an infrequent snorer and the snoring does not impact their sleep, it is likely not cause for concern. However, if your child is frequently snoring and other symptoms accompany the snoring, it is wise to have those issues checked out. Our office has developed a sleep screener that is over 90% accurate at determining whether an individual has sleep apnea or is at risk of developing sleep apnea. This assessment only takes a few minutes to complete, free of charge in your own home. If the assessment returns a positive score for sleep apnea, our team will set up a virtual appointment with you to discuss your options and next steps.
Can Children Have Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Unfortunately, children are at risk for Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA. Research suggests that 1.2%-5.7% of children have OSA. This can cause severe health concerns throughout the child’s development and the rest of their life. If you suspect your child’s snoring is serious, you must address this quickly to get the treatment and lifestyle changes needed. Sleep apnea is a medical condition that will never go away if left untreated; it will continue to cause problems for the person throughout their life. The good news is that it is relatively easy to treat and manage, especially if caught at a younger age.
How Can I Tell if A Child’s Snoring is Serious?
There are a few things to look for that can tell you your child’s snoring is more serious than some noises at night. What Are the Side Effects of Snoring? | Sleep Cycle Center (sleepcyclecenters.com). Look for the following symptoms:
• Snoring 3+ times a week
• Daytime Sleepiness (Especially if they got a full night’s rest the night before.)
• Below Average Weight Gain
• Childhood Obesity
• Difficulty Concentrating
• Bed Wetting (Especially if they are past the age where this is common.)
• Headaches When They Wake Up
If you have concerns about your child’s snoring, we encourage you to contact us today. Childhood snoring can leave long-lasting consequences for their health and quality of life. Our sleep specialists can diagnose and treat your child’s snoring all without leaving our office. Dr. Denman has years of experience and extensive training in helping patients, both young and old, with their sleep apnea.