Children and snoring

Does your child snore? If so, you are not alone. Researchers have found that 20% of normal children snore occasionally and 7% to 10% of children snore every night. In many cases, children who snore are perfectly healthy. But about 1% of children snore because they suffer from sleep and breathing problems. You should be aware of your child's sleep and snoring patterns and visit a sleep specialist if you suspect something out of the ordinary.

Children who struggle to breathe while snoring may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS). These children may snort or gasp as they snore, and may appear to "suck in" the chest. OSAS is described as breathing that starts and stops during sleep. The stoppage is usually caused when the throat narrows or even closes during sleep.

How do I know if my child's snoring is serious?

Sleep specialists put snoring into two categories: primary snoring and the kind of snoring that indicates OSAS. Primary snoring is "normal" and is not dangerous for your child.

Children with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome may experience difficulty sleeping at night and behavioral problems during the day. Undiagnosed OSAS can lead to school problem, delayed growth, and even heart failure because of decreases in blood oxygen levels. Both boys and girls can suffer from obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, and usually have some of these things in common. They may:


Some of these symptoms are similar to those described in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), such as trouble concentrating, hyperactivity, and nervousness. In fact, some children are misdiagnosed as having ADHD when they are actually suffering from OSAS. If you have noticed that your child has some of the above symptoms, you should talk to your pediatrician about referral to a sleep specialist.