Sleep Apnea in Toddlers: What You Should Know About It

Sleep Apnea in Toddlers

Sleep apnea is very dangerous in toddlers. It is advisable to always watch out for signs of sleep apnea in your child so that you can take actions before it is too late.

There are three kinds of sleep apnea, but the most common type is obstructive apnea. It is characterized by a blocked airway that causes difficulty breathing.

The most common symptom is snoring. If there is not enough air entering the nose, then the mouth will tend to open in order to compensate. This results in a poor quality of sleep, and that can have a large impact on the behavior of the toddler during daytime.

Obstructive apnea may be caused by enlarged tonsils. The tonsils can block the airway while your child is sleeping at night. This causes a limited amount of air reaching the lungs of your child, and, ultimately, affect the quality of their sleep.

An overweight toddler can also develop sleep apnea, so it is good to keep your child’s weight in check. Facial abnormalities and Down’s syndrome can also cause sleep apnea. It is important to seek a doctor’s advice if you think that your toddler is suffering from sleep apnea.

Symptoms of sleep apnea in toddlers

There are a lot of signs of sleep apnea in toddlers for which you should watch. One of the most common signs is snoring. If your toddler snores while sleeping, it is a sign that they are having trouble breathing through the nose.

Another sign of sleep apnea is if your toddler is frequently breathing through the mouth. If so, it means that they can’t breathe through their nose comfortably.

They may also wake up in the middle of the night. Excessive sweating is another sign of sleep apnea. It means that they are spending more energy than usual to breathe.

If your toddler pauses in breathing while asleep, that is another symptom. They won’t have quality sleep at night and will experience daytime sleepiness. This toddler will have poor performance at school due to lack of concentration.

It will lead to behavioral issues, and they may even fall asleep at school.

Causes of sleep apnea

The causes of sleep apnea are diverse. It varies according to the age of the person. The common causes of sleep apnea in adults are weight, neck size and age. In children or toddlers, the main cause is enlarged tonsils. If your child is exhibiting weird habits while asleep, then consult your doctor and ask about your child’s tonsils or adenoids.

If the child’s tonsils are enlarged, they can experience sleep apnea, or more specifically, obstructive sleep apnea. The air passing through their nose will be partially blocked and will cause the mouth to open.

It commonly leads to snoring and poor sleep quality. As a child’s muscles relax while they sleep, the enlarged tonsils can to block the airway.

Another cause of sleep apnea in toddlers is their weight. If the child is overweight, sometimes the weight can press down on and close the airways, so it is a good idea to keep your child’s weight in check to prevent the development of sleep apnea.

Treatment for sleep apnea in toddlers

If you think your child has sleep apnea, you should contact your doctor for an appointment as soon as possible. You can schedule your child for a polysomnogram to confirm if he or she has sleep apnea.

Pediatric polysomnograms will look into the child’s brain activity, breathing, heart rate, etc. After this process, the doctors can determine cause of your child’s health condition.

The process will last overnight, as the sleep specialists have to observe your child’s sleeping activity in to determine the root problem. This process is very helpful in determining your child’s sleeping problems. In order for the child to stay comfortable, the parent can also accompany them.

Adenotonsillectomy is the first option for children with obstructive sleep apnea. This procedure involves the tonsils and adenoids being surgically removed to help clear out the air way for breathing.

Weight adjustment is also advisable for obese children to help clear up the air passages. Toddlers with obstructive sleep apnea can begin to using CPAP machine as a relief. It pumps air into the child’s nose while they are sleeping in order to improve breathing.

It goes without saying that sleeping is one of the most important activities of our daily life. Imagine if an individual is consistently lacking in sleep, what energy would he or she uses for his everyday tasks.

Children who lack sleep are prone to error and will have poor performance at their school. Their growth can also be affected since they benefit from a sound sleep.

You should constantly be on the lookout for signs of sleep apnea in your child. If you think that your child is suffering from sleep apnea, take your child to a doctor as soon as possible. it is definitely worth it. You don’t want them to keep suffering from sleep apnea.

You, of course, always want the best for your child.


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