Snoring in Young Children

Is snoring normal in young children?

It’s common for children to snore when they have a cold, but frequent snoring in young children and toddlers is not normal. Snoring disturbs your child’s sleep which over time can decrease their ability to focus, and cause behavioral issues.

What causes snoring in children?

You’ll notice your child snoring when their breathing is blocked. Common causes include allergies, enlarged tonsils or adenoids, a respiratory infection or a deviated septum. Snoring may also indicate a sleep disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Obstructive sleep apnea causes periods of decreased airflow and pauses in breathing. As a result, your child may experience drops in oxygen while sleeping. When left untreated OSA can have long-term effects, including elevated blood pressure.

Signs your child’s snoring may be something more

If you are concerned about your child snoring, here are some things to pay attention to at night and during the day:

At night:

  • Does your child snore on a regular basis?
  • Are there gasps or pauses when your child wakes up?
  • Does your child ever seem to stop breathing while asleep?
  • Do you notice heavy sweating during sleep?

During the day:

  • Is your child difficult to wake up?
  • Is your child irritable and cranky?
  • Do they have frequent headaches or fall asleep during the day?
  • Is your child experiencing behavioral problems?

Observe your child’s habits and discuss what you see with your child’s primary care provider. In some cases, he or she may refer you to a sleep specialist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to evaluate your child.

Reviewed by Catherine Bonita, MD, FAAP

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