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Sleep Apnea Signs In Your Baby Or Child

Well-known child sleep apnea signs include snoring and difficulty breathing at night. But did you know that bedwetting, heavy sweating, attention problems and anxiety are also tell-tale symptoms?


Obstructive apnea (OSA) is quite common in babies and in children. Unfortunately it often goes unnoticed and untreated. The reason is that the symptoms of are not always very clear.

Do check the lists below and contact your doctor if you have the slightest suspicion, it is important.

Worried? Questions? Don't hesitate to ask me here!

Sleep Apnea Signs in Children

Please verify ALL the symptoms below. If your child sleeps rather well and doesn't wake you at night, you may only notice the daytime signs - which are so often also normal in healthy children![1]

Night time signs
  • Snoring
  • Mouth breathing
  • Breathing difficulties at night, in particular to stop breathing for 10 seconds or more, then gasping for breath (half-waking up)
  • Sleeping restlessly
  • Sleeping in awkward positions
  • Bedwetting (enuresis)
  • Sweating

Day time signs
  • Being moody regularly or most of the time
  • Being very or overly active
  • Mouth breathing (but no apparent breathing difficulties during the day)
  • Behavioral problems like anxiety, easily frustrated, attention and concentration problems, being aggressive, being emotionally unstable.
Sleep apnea in children is serious so do not hesitate to discuss any of these symptoms with your doctor.

Sleep Apnea Signs in Babies

Spotting it in babies may be even harder than in toddlers and older children. The main symptoms in babies are when sleeping:
  • Stop breathing for 20 seconds or more
  • Gasping for breath, coughing or gagging when catching her breath again
  • Snoring
  • Turn blue

But, to stop breathing briefly is also normal for young babies who are not affected ...

Babies under 6 months old who do not have it, often regularly stop breathing for short periods of up to 15 (!) seconds. To breathe quickly for a while and then pause breathing for 5-15 seconds is simply a normal breathing pattern at that age. Premature babies do this more regularly than termly ones. This is nothing to worry about.

It's when the breathing pause is for 20 seconds or more, that your baby is very probably experiencing obstructive sleep apnea. Very typical are the gasping for breath after a breathing pause. Your baby may even turn blue. Each of these three signs alone tells you to consult your baby's doctor as soon as possible.





 

[1] Wake-Up Call Newsletter American Sleep Apnea Association Fall 2004