Snoring in Children isn’t Cute
Often our first reaction to a child who snores is that it is funny or even cute, however this seemingly harmless occurance can be a sign of disordered breathing. Snoring can occur as a result of nasal congestion due to the common cold or allergies but it can also be a symptom of sleep disordered breathing which is much more serious. Sleep disordered breathing or obstructive sleep apnoea is a condition that occurs when our airway collapses for 10 seconds to up to a minute or more and causes the child to stop breathing. In children this can have serious impacts upon their growth, learning and development, which makes early detection and treatment essential in protecting the health of the child.
So how can parents distinguish between snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea?
If you witness your child gasping for air, waking up several times during the night, if they are a sweaty sleeper, and are tired or irritable during the day this could indicate your child has obstructive sleep apnoea.
What should you do if you suspect your child might have obstructive sleep apnoea?
You should consult with your GP and request a referral to see a paediatrician who specialises in sleep medicine. They will usually recommend your child has a sleep study to assess the extent of their disordered breathing which will allow the paediatrician to create a suitable treatment plan.