Have you noticed your child snoring while sleeping? Although this is understandably a concern, rest assured that it is perfectly normal, especially when they are in deep slumber. In fact, about one in ten children snores regularly. Often, this could occur due to your child’s sleeping position – they are more likely to snore when lying on their back – and do not require medical intervention.

Problematic Snoring In Children: When Should You Be Concerned?

Problematic Snoring In Children

So, when should you be concerned about your child’s snoring? If your child’s snoring is loud enough to hear down a hallway and is accompanied by gasping and laboured breathing, your child could have sleep apnea. While it is not expected for a family member to immediately recognise an apnea pause, persistent, loud snoring is generally a sign that you should get your child assessed by an ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) specialist.

Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed because it is easy to mistake it for regular snoring. However, timely diagnosis is essential for early intervention and to ensure your child receives restful, restorative night-time sleep. If left untreated, this condition could affect your child’s school performance and overall well-being.

Learn More: What is Sleep Apnea? Is it Harmful for my Child?

Signs And Symptoms To Look Out For

Sleep and Symptom of Sleep Apnea

Snoring by itself is not always an indicator of sleep apnea. Your child’s sleeping position or even swollen nasal passages caused by chronic allergies can disrupt airflow from the nose and mouth to the lungs, causing them to snore. However, if the snoring is accompanied by the additional symptoms below, it could be a sign of sleep apnea.

Sign #1: Long Pauses Between Breaths

Obstructive sleep apnea, the most severe form of sleep disturbance, can disrupt airflow in your child’s nose and mouth throughout the night, causing them to take long pauses in between breaths (longer than two regular breaths) and choke or gasp for air. These episodes can even jar them from their deep stages of slumber into lighter stages of sleep or to the point of waking up, affecting their overall sleep quality.

Sign #2: Frequent Awakening At Night Combined With Snoring

Sleep-disordered breathing can cause your child to snore and awaken throughout the night. When these rapid, frequent transitions occur, it could even contribute to bedwetting. While there are various possible reasons for bedwetting, you should consider consulting a child ENT specialist about the possibility of sleep apnea if it occurs with regular snoring.

Sign #3: Mouth Breathing

Mouth breathing throughout the night could indicate your child’s nose is blocked by enlarged adenoids or nasal tissues, forcing them to breathe through their mouth instead.

Sign #4: Restless Sleep

Children with sleep apnea often struggle to breathe normally at night, which can disrupt their sleep patterns and cause them to frequently toss and turn during slumber, affecting their sleep quality. That can have an adverse daytime effect on the child, with many often having trouble waking up in the morning. Even upon awakening, the child may feel exhausted and sleep-deprived. As a result, they tend to fall asleep easily during the day.

Their fatigue can even affect their behaviour, causing them to become inattentive and impulsive. Sometimes, these symptoms can be mistaken for ADHD. So, if your child is displaying disruptive behaviours during the day, you should keep an eye on their sleep quality and an ear out for snoring at night.

Sign #5: Night Terrors

Conditions interfering with sleep, such as sleep apnea, can sometimes trigger night terrors.

In addition to loud, persistent snoring, has your child displayed any of the associated symptoms listed above? In that case, they may benefit from a paediatric ENT evaluation. A specialist can accurately diagnose your child and determine an individualised snoring treatment plan to enhance their sleep quality, thus improving their overall health and well-being.

Are you looking for a suitable paediatric ENT clinic in Singapore? The team at Dr Jenica Yong’s provides comprehensive care through the use of evidence-based medicine to address outstanding snoring conditions in toddlers and kids. Contact us to schedule a medical appointment with our ENT specialist today.

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