Why Do Kids Snore: Common Causes of Snoring in Children

I found time to do my own research about kids that are snoring. Well, I did it for myself too. I was wondering if this habit is in the genes since I myself (I won’t deny it), had been sounding like a cow especially when in deep sleep. I thought this article would help you out there.

Experts estimate that one out of every 10 kids snore. Many parents think a gently snoring child is cute. But did you know that according to Dr. Nina Shapiro of the Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA, snoring is not normal in children. Snoring indicates that there is an issue. Most of the time the problem isn’t something serious, perhaps the child has a cold or allergies. However, chronic or loud snoring in children requires a closer analysis. If you have a little snorer in your house, here are some possible causes of their nightly snoring sessions.

What is Snoring?

Snoring is the name given to the sound created when the airway is blocked during sleep. The blockage occurs in the upper airway, usually in the throat. However, the blockage can occur anywhere from the nose to the top of the voice box. As a general rule, the louder the snoring, the narrower the airway. Even harmless snoring can cause sleep disturbance which can lead to serious behavioral and development problems in children.

Illness can cause a normally quiet sleeper to suddenly snore. Upper respiratory infections and colds can cause a child’s tonsils to swell and become inflamed. This can cause the airway to become blocked leading to snoring in children. The congestion that often accompanies a cold can also lead to snoring or make it worse.

Tonsillitis is believed to be the number one cause of childhood snoring. Tonsillitis is an inflammation and swelling of the tonsils caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Because of their location in the throat, when tonsils become swollen they can block a child’s airway. If your child has tonsillitis they will also usually have a fever and sore throat.

Allergies can cause irritation and swelling of the lining of the nose, throat, adenoids or tonsils. If your child’s snoring is caused by allergies, snoring will usually stop completely after an allergy attack is over. Proper treatment of your child’s allergies can stop snoring in its tracks.

Research has shown that as many as 40 percent of kids with asthma also snore.

Large Adenoids or Tonsils
If a child has overly large adenoids or tonsils, they may block the airway and cause snoring. Treatment for this condition usually involves removal of the adenoids or tonsils.

Deviated Septum
A deviated septum in the nose can cause airflow to be disrupted and lead to snoring.

Medications that make kids drowsy such as antihistamines and those used to treat allergies, anxiety or depression can cause snoring.

Childhood obesity is a growing problem in the U.S. Carrying extra weight not only increases the likelihood that kids will develop diabetes and heart problems, it also increases their risk of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. It is estimated that up to 40 percent of kids who are obese also snore. When children are overweight, fat can accumulate in the tissues of the throat causing the airway to become blocked. Fat in the stomach can cause a disturbance in the function of the diaphragm. This can lead to breathing difficulties and snoring.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea occurs when a person stops breathing for 10 seconds or more on a regular basis while sleeping. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when a person stops breathing because something blocks their upper airway. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, OSA is on the rise in children.

Symptoms of OSA may include snoring with noticeable pauses in breathing, gasping, choking, recurring strep throat, chronic congestion and breathing through the mouth. The most common reasons children develop OSA is because they have large tonsils or adenoids, are overweight or have allergies.

OSA is the most serious cause of snoring in kids. If left untreated, OSA can cause behavioral problems, learning difficulties, bedwetting, abnormal growth and development, hyperactivity and sleepiness during the day. OSA requires medical intervention. Treatments include losing weight, nasal steroids, removing the tonsils or adenoids, antibiotics, management of allergies or using a CPAP machine during sleep to keep the airway open.

My Thoughts

Having read all the symptoms, I believe this is not the time to ignore all the signs. I’ll be sending my kid to a specialist so we would know what to do to lessen my his unwanted habit. Precaution is always better than cure! I don’t wanna leave the issues behind my son’s snoring. Sure you too will be a bit disturbed upon hearing your son’s loud ‘series of concerts’ at night, well I bet you’ll laugh (I always do) but it’s really a serious problem that needs attention. As for my case, I think I (or my wife) can still handle it.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of a physician or other medical professionals.

Web MD: Sleep Disorders in Children
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