Child sleepingAnyone who has heard a child snore knows that it is amazing someone so small can produce such a loud noise. As a respiratory therapist at the Sleep Center at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, parents frequently ask me if snoring is a sign of deep sleep or if they should be concerned if their child snores.

I tell parents that many children occasionally snore, which typically does not cause any long-term problems. Yet, there are times parents should be concerned about their child’s snoring, especially when there are pauses in breathing during sleep.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when a person pauses in breathing or does not breathe enough while sleeping. This condition is often caused by an obstruction or blockage caused by muscles in the throat relaxing too much or from large tonsils and adenoids.

Obstructive sleep apnea can have different symptoms, including daytime sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, problems learning and hyperactivity. Without treatment it can cause or worsen high blood pressure, obesity and heart problems.

What to do if your child snores

Should you be worried if your child is snoring? I tell parents yes, possibly. If your child snores regularly, definitely alert your child’s pediatrician. You may be referred to a sleep specialist who will check your child’s throat and gather sleep history information. An overnight sleep test may be suggested to check your child’s breathing during sleep.

– Korina Flint, RRT, noninvasive specialist and respiratory therapist, Sleep Center, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

The Sleep Center at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is the only sleep center in the state dedicated solely to the care of children and teens. The center has two locations (Milwaukee and New Berlin) both accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and staffed by four board-certified pediatric sleep specialists.

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