How Can You Tell if Your Toddler Has Sleep Apnea?

Don't jump to the conclusion that your child has sleep apnea if she/he snores, though; 1 to 3 percent of children have sleep apnea, while 7 to 12 percent of children snore.

However, you should be suspicious if your child breathes through his/her mouth most of the time (both at night and during the day), is a restless sleeper, sweats profusely before he sleeps or coughs or chokes at night.

Combined with any of the above symptoms, repeated night-waking can be a sign of OSA. Because children with sleep apnea have trouble breathing, they may stir more often, waking up to get the air they need.

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If your child shows any of the above symptoms talk to your doctor. Your doctor might refer you to a sleep specialist or recommend a sleep study.

A sleep study allows doctors check for OSA and record a variety of body functions while a child is asleep.

During a sleep study, doctors monitor:

·         Eye movements

·         Heart rate

·         Breathing pattern

·         Brain waves

·         Blood oxygen level

·         Snoring and other noises

·         Body movements and sleep positions


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·         Because enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids are the most common cause of sleep apnea for children, having surgery to remove the tissues often corrects the symptoms of sleep apnea in 90% of cases. The doctor will refer your child to an ear, nose, and throat doctor (ENT).

·        Oral/Dental appliances may be recommended for older children whose facial bone growth is mostly complete.

·         Allergy medications may be recommended if seasonal allergies cause or aggravate symptoms of sleep apnea.

·         If seasonal allergies cause or aggravate symptoms of sleep apnea, allergy medications are recommended.

·         If respiratory disorders contribute to sleep apnea, asthma medications or inhalers can help.