Snoring in Children

Overview of Snoring in Children

Snoring is the most common phenomenon that occurs mostly in adults. Snoring in children is few and far between and if persistent can give rise to troublesome thoughts.

It is not to say that snoring in children should not ever occur but it is very uncommon. A good night’s rest is very essential to a child’s development, and snoring can hinder that.

Doctors Treating Snoring in Children

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Signs and Symptoms of Snoring in Children

Snoring in children is, in fact, a problem. It raises many red flags that are sure to be noticed by a parent or a guardian. Some of those signs include:

  • Crankiness, aggressiveness, and irritability
  • Excessive sleep during the day
  • Hyperactive children while being tired
  • Snoring more than three nights a week
  • Loud and harsh snoring
  • Gasping or choking while sleeping
  • Poor attention span and behaviour at school
  • Breathing pauses during sleep
  • Frequent headaches

Types of Snoring in Children

Causes of Snoring in Children

The restriction of the free flow of air at the back of the throat causes snoring. This could be due to multiple factors ranging from mild to severe.

The most common causes of snoring in children are:

  • Allergies: Allergies mainly cause inflammation of the nose and throat, hence creating passage restriction.
  • Congestion: Congestion is known to inflame the nose with excess fluid. Cold or flu can cause congestion which can result in snoring.
  • Childhood Obesity: Overweight children are at risk of SDB and OSA. Obesity often causes sleep disorders marked by snoring.
  • Asthma: Studies suggest that children with asthma are more likely to snore. Asthma increases the drive to breathe which induces snoring.
  • Large or swollen tonsil and adenoids: An infection can cause the tonsils and adenoids to enlarge, which can obstruct the airway and put the child at risk of snoring.

Risk Factors of Snoring in Children

Risk factors that trigger snoring in children are:

Health Complications of Snoring in Children 

Snoring in children also carries health risks. Experts share the fact that this condition often leads to cognitive impairment and may develop behavioral problems. Studies also confirmed the negative effects of regular snoring in children which may also result in cardiovascular health issues.  




Make sure that your child sleeps on the side as it can stop snoring. Maintaining a healthy weight and nasal strips can help to reduce the snoring habit in your children. Quality sleep and nasal congestion treatment are also effective when it comes to preventing snoring.



As mentioned above, if snoring in children persists, see an ENT Specialist. The sleeping and snoring pattern of the child needs to be noted before any consultation.

A physical exam is conducted by the doctor to determine whether the snoring is caused by anatomical abnormalities (such as in the mouth). Sometimes a physical exam is enough to get a correct diagnosis.

Some other tests include:

  • Polysomnogram: A sleep study is done by the doctor to evaluate the seriousness of the condition and possible health effects. The test uses sensors as a way to determine to snore, breathing patterns, heart rate, and muscle activity while the child sleeps. The brain wave activity and other determinants offer a clear result to the doctor.
  • Oximetry: In case, the snoring is much more severe and could be progressed into SDB or OSA (or is a major indicator of the disorder) and a sleep study cannot be done, oximetry is recommended. It is an overnight analysis of oxygen levels and can be done at home instead of at the clinic
  • Electrocardiogram: If the above tests fail to produce a diagnosis, an electrocardiogram is performed to find any underlying heart condition that might be the root cause of snoring

Treatment of Snoring in Children | When to Consult a Doctor

Depending upon the diagnosis, the treatment may vary from simple medication to surgery.

1. Removal of Tonsils

If the physical exam determines enlarged tonsils and adenoids to be the cause of snoring, the doctor can recommend surgery to remove them.

This surgery will ultimately improve sleep apnea and the blockage of airflow passage.

2. Positive Airway Pressure Therapy

Sometimes the surgery can be too risky or not needed at the moment. If this is the case, then the doctor will suggest a different approach such as continuous positive airway pressure therapy or CPAP or bilevel positive airway pressure also known as BPAP.

A nasal mask attached to a small machine is used to deliver air pressure into the throat, nose, and mouth. The air pressure keeps the airway open. The mask is worn by the child every night until the treatment is completed.

3. Medication

If snoring is a mild case of sleep apnea, medications are recommended for treatment instead of surgery. These include nasal steroids that are readily available.

4. Home Care for Your Child

The ongoing treatment at the doctor will surely help your child but in-house care can also be provided to make your child feel calm before or during the treatment.

  • Make sure that your child gets plenty of rest each night and that his sleep remains undisturbed
  • Keep your child away from smoke or contaminated air or areas
  • Make your child sleep on his or her side. It will help with the snoring
  • If your child is overweight, take a careful approach to help him lose weight
  • Improve sleep hygiene and the sleep environment of your child
  • Boost the humidity of your child’s room by using a humidifier
  • If your child is allergic, use an air purifier in his room